Top Ten Stories of 2023

Top Ten Stories of 2023

Central Oregon, you helped make all of this possible. A new campus leader, a climate report launched from the White House, a celebration of Indigenous peoples, a cadre of energy professionals making a difference, a record class of first-year students and a growing university campus. Watch what we'll do in 2024, thanks to you.



Sherm Bloomer steps in as Chancellor and Dean

With 30 years of increasing leadership at OSU, Sherm Bloomer stepped ably into the top leadership position at OSU-Cascades on May 1. His mission? “OSU is a very visible, very successful, very prominent national research and land-grant university, and we’re bringing that brand here but around the needs in the community,” he told Oregon Business magazine.

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Indigenous Peoples Day event attracts hundreds

A collaboration with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs produced a day-long community event that explored the culture and heritage of Central Oregon’s Native peoples. A traditional Salmon Bake and powwow featuring Grammy-nominated drum group the Black Lodge Singers capped off the day.

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$3.9M grant increases region's school counselors

K-12 students' mental and emotional health increasingly concerns teachers and parents. Assistant professors Lucy Purgason and Molly Moran launched a U.S. Department of Education funded initiative with the High Desert Education Service District and Central Oregon's school districts to provide full tuition for students entering OSU-Cascades' graduate school counseling program.

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Cascades Edge, innovative career development program launches

Starting in fall, undergraduate students embarked on Cascades Edge, a career program embedded in their academic experience and that received national attention. It provides resources and opportunities from year-one to graduation that give students confidence in their career paths, save tuition on costly changes in majors, and offer professional experiences that help students launch successful and meaningful careers.

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A groundbreaking for the Student Success Center 

A great moment for students. OSU President Jayathi Murthy led the groundbreaking for OSU-Cascades' new Student Success Center. The building will be a hub for student services and student gathering. Remarkably, students committed $5 million in student fees for the building in a campus-wide demonstration of unity and support. It is slated to open for students in spring 2025.

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OSU-Cascades anthropologist goes to White House

Researcher Elizabeth Marino is a national leader in advancing understanding of the impacts of climate change and disasters on historically and socially vulnerable communities. She led a new chapter on Social Systems and Justice in the White House’s 5th National Climate Assessment, telling NPR, “There is quite a lot of wisdom in place to adapt to and even mitigate climate change." Marino helped launch the report in Washington, D.C.

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Fall enrollment report shows record first-year class for ninth consecutive year

The 225 new incoming students were record breakers. More than 10% arrived with enough college credit to enter as sophomores or juniors and 57% earned college credits in high school. More than 40% had a GPA of 3.75 or higher. Nearly three-quarters are from Oregon, 26% are students of color and 23% are first generation college students. Welcome, Bend Beavs!

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SnoPlanks Academy: a snowboard company in the classroom

What started as a guest lecture turned into a gift to OSU-Cascades. When SnoPlanks founders James Nicol and Ryan Holmes looked for the next step for their company, their visits to OSU-Cascades sparked a solution: SnoPlanks Academy. The program embeds SnoPlanks into teaching and learning, tasking students with challenges from financing to supply chain management.

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2023 graduates included 5,000th in its 22-year history

Among the more than 300 undergraduate and graduate students who received degrees in June was the 5,000th to graduate since OSU-Cascades was founded in 2001. “Reaching 5,000 graduates is a remarkable achievement for OSU-Cascades, Central Oregon and for each and every student who has received a degree,” said Sherm Bloomer, chancellor and dean.

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More than 200 energy engineers have graduated from sought after degree program

OSU-Cascades energy systems engineering program is one of only six of its kind in the U.S. training students to contribute innovative and efficient solutions across the energy field. Launched a decade ago and boasting a 95% job placement rate, its more than 200 alumni are sought after by companies across Oregon and beyond.

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