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Will Ginevra Ralph be the sole Pres decider, and lie to the press about it like Chuck Lillis did?

Page down for the email from BoT Chair Ginevra Ralph today. Here’s an excerpt from an old post on the dictatorial secret search that led to the hiring of Mike Schill. I think the board got lucky with that hire, but they probably attribute it to their awesome skill and expertise, and the secretive process which excluded all but a few special faculty from any input.

9/15/2014: Lillis disputes RG report that he is the decider for presidential hire

Ry Rivard of Inside Higher Ed has an interview (link fixed) in which new UO Board Chair Chuck Lillis disputes the RG report that he now has the sole secret power to decide who will be UO’s next president. The story has just been updated with this:

Inside Higher Ed last week requested all documents that outlined the search plan but was not provided with the actual plan, which has was brought to the site’s attention on Monday by UO Matters, a blog that carefully follows the university. The plan clearly contradicts the chairman’s characterization of his powers in the Friday interview. A spokeswoman for the university, Julie Brown, said Monday the omission was “not intentional.”

Decide for yourself. According to the motion that the board passed after no public review (Board Secretary Angela Wilhelm left if out of the public docket materials) and apparently without even much notice to the board, UO’s next president will be appointed according to these rules:

The Committee will ultimately recommend qualified finalists to the Board Chair. The recommendations should be accompanied by a detailed report of the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, especially in terms of the desired qualifications for the position. The Board Chair will interview the Committee’s finalists and forward finalists to the full Board. The Chair is authorized to narrow the field of candidates after consultation with the Committee, and is also authorized to rank the candidates. The Board will interview the finalists forwarded by the Chair in executive session. Any final decision by the Board will be made in a public meeting, and all of the Board’s deliberations and discussions leading to that decision will be in accordance with Oregon’s public meeting laws.

Which sounds to me like Lillis can pick the finalists and if he wants to, that could be one finalist. He’d have to consult with the committee, but he could ignore their advice, and they would be sworn to secrecy about what had happened.

This procedure, and the unusual two search committees with only token student and faculty representation (all of them also picked by Lillis) that were reported by Diane Dietz in the RG are odd enough to have already attracted a highly critical editorial in the Salem Statesman Journal.

Today’s Ralph email:

Dear University of Oregon community members, 

The Board of Trustees met today and voted to appoint Patrick Phillips, current provost and senior vice president, to serve as interim president of the University of Oregon. The university is very fortunate to have such a strong, visionary leader who can maintain the upward trajectory of this institution. We are grateful to Patrick for agreeing to serve in this critical role as we begin the process of selecting the university’s next president.

Patrick has served as provost since July 1, 2019. As chief academic officer, he has been the steward of the university’s academic mission and has worked with faculty, staff, students, and other members of our community to maintain the highest possible quality of scholarly activity and educational programs. Patrick has been a leader in conceptualizing and launching many of the university’s academic and research initiatives, even as we navigated the many challenges of the past several years. He is also a top faculty member and award-winning scientist, with more than $8 million in active funding from the National Institutes of Health. Patrick joined the university as a faculty member in 2000 and has served as the director of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, head of the Department of Biology, associate vice president for research, special advisor to President Michael H. Schill, and inaugural executive director of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. 

The board unanimously agreed that Patrick is the right leader for this interim role. He brings decades of experience and leadership as well as deep connections to the university and our community. We are confident he, along with the vice presidents and deans of the schools and colleges, will allow the university to not lose any of its momentum building upon our academic and research impact and our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and student success. Patrick Phillips will start as interim president on Thursday, August 18. 

Patrick has appointed Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Janet Woodruff-Borden to serve as interim provost and senior vice president. Janet has served as executive vice provost for nearly three years, leading academic and faculty affairs efforts for the Office of the Provost. Prior to serving as executive vice provost, Janet was the vice provost and dean of the University of Oregon Graduate School, now titled the Division of Graduate Studies. Janet will begin serving as interim provost on August 18 as well.

Although this is a time of change, it is also a time of great excitement for our university. This year, the University of Oregon will continue to bring to life our academic and research initiatives, further the success and support of our students, and cement our place as one of the top research universities in the country. We are excited for our entire university community to be part of these efforts and the incredible opportunities that will come from them. 

As I mentioned in the announcement last week, the Board of Trustees will discuss the launch of and process for an international search for the University of Oregon’s permanent president at its regular board meeting scheduled for September 15-16. As the process is determined, more information will be provided to the university community with opportunities to engage in the process and a webpage will be published on the Board of Trustees’ website.

Please join me and the other members of the board in thanking Patrick and Janet for their service as interim president and interim provost of the University of Oregon. 


Ginevra Ralph 
Chair, Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon 


  1. Dog 08/16/2022

    The Schillips is dead; long live the Phillips

  2. Mike 08/18/2022

    If Ms Ralph is going to be the decider (George W Bush has entered the chat), she needs to be bring some of that sweet Shedd Chicago $$ and be a new Phil. UO Aquarium, anyone?

  3. ~sigh~ 08/18/2022

    The Board got lucky with Schill, sure, but CAS was dismantled, damn successful phd programs were thrown under the bus, and you can’t get mission statement or an academic vision out of that crew for love or money.

    • honest Uncle Bernie 08/20/2022

      how did the Board get lucky with Schill? And would you care to name those successful PhD programs? I really would like to know.

      Remember when the talk was of how wonderful everything would be if UO only had an “independent Board”? And look how disappointing it has turned out.

  4. moss defender 08/29/2022

    years ago the Ralphs derailed the creation of a historic district (had been in planning stages for many years) it would have been just south of campus…….so dont expect anything good

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