Kate Brown, "stay home, stay healthy"

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown ordered Oregonians to “stay home, stay healthy,” in a Friday night press conference in order to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Courtesy of KATU photo). 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown appointed University of Oregon grad Connie Seeley to the UO board of trustees Monday, according to a release from the governor’s office. 

If confirmed by the Oregon Senate, Seeley will serve through June 2023 — the remainder of resigning trustee Connie Ballmer’s term after she steps down in June.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the senate hasn’t set a date for confirming Seeley’s appointment, along with those of several dozen others that the governor made in the same announcement. 

“State board and commission members bring their diversity of backgrounds and life experiences to provide valuable expertise and insight into a wide range of issues facing state government," Brown said in the release. "Their contributions help lead to policies and strategies that better enable us to serve and represent all Oregonians.”

Related: UO board of trustees has 5 candidates for opening spot

The 15-member board of trustees is responsible for making high-level decisions for the university, from hiring the president and setting tuition to approving new degree programs and allowing major construction.

Seeley graduated from UO with a degree in political science in 1992 and currently serves as Oregon Health & Science University’s chief of staff, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, according to the application she submitted to the governor’s office.

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“Growing up in Oregon I was able to attend the University with the support of grants, loans as well as full and part-time employment,” Seeley wrote in her application. “I was a first-generation college student; in fact, neither of my parents graduated high school. I believe my education at the University of Oregon changed my life.

Seeley worked for Brown previously as her legislative director when Brown was the senate democratic leader, according to Seeley’s resume. For seven years she was also the chief of staff to Senate President Peter Courtney, who’s been the leader of the senate — which will confirm Seeley’s appointment — since 2003. 

In a letter to the governor, UO board Chair Chuck Lillis and Vice Chair Ginevra Ralph endorsed Seeley and two other applicants for an appointment.

“She has exceptional experience in higher education administration—including shared governance—given her role at OHSU, as well as with policy development and implementation,” both trustees wrote in the letter.

Beyond her administration role, Seeley is the secretary of the OHSU board of directors and serves on the UO Alumni Association board of directors.

If approved in time by the senate, Seeley’s term will begin on July 1, after the board’s next meeting on June 4. The senate committee on rules can begin considering the nomination 21 days after appointment, according to the governor’s release.