Recap: One year after hiring, Michael Schill formally invested as UO President
University of Oregon President Michael Schill’s official investiture as the university’s president was on June 1. The ceremony, open to the public, was held in the Matthew Knight Arena and attended by UO faculty, alumni, investors and community members.
While Schill has been the serving as president of the UO for almost a year – having taken office on July 1, 2015 – this event formally bestowed him the rank of university president.
At the ceremony, Schill was presented by UO Board of Trustees Chairman Chuck Lillis with the President’s Centennial Medallion and the University Mace, both signs of the university and its leadership.
This is a process that the UO has become very familiar with lately as Schill is the third invested UO President since 2009. Including Schill, the UO has had 18 presidents in its 140 year history.
Since Schill took office, tuition costs increased by 4.7 percent for in-state student and 4.5 percent for out-of-state, and 79 faculty were laid off amid cuts to the College of Arts and Sciences, most of whom taught classes in the humanities. Other departments may see continued cuts in the future.
Schill has commented publicly on this, calling out the state legislature, which has continually voted to defund public higher education. He said in April that costs and tuition will continue to go up, but that he aims to keep those increases low whenever possible.
In his investiture speech, Schill outlined what he considers to be the leading myth about public universities: that higher education at public institutions is no longer a good investment due to these rising tuition costs and devalued liberal arts education.
“These myths prevent our students from opening the doors to a lifetime of opportunity,” Schill said, “They distract policymakers and they divert resources.
President Schill vowed to increase the funding for access scholarships for disadvantaged students looking for a college education. He also said he plans to increase the size and funding of the university’s research programs, emphasizing the importance of innovation for the UO to be a world-renowned institution.
“I’m incredibly honored and humbled … to formally accept the responsibility of leading this great institution,” Schill said. “Over the past year I’ve come to love Oregon, and I’ve come to the clear conclusion that the future is very bright for the University of Oregon. I’m not going anywhere.”