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Senate Confirms James Francesconi to State Board of Higher Education

Contact: Di Saunders – Office, 503-725-5714; Cell, 503-807-5539

PORTLAND, February 21 – Governor Kulongoski’s appointment of Portland attorney and community leader, James L. Francesconi, to serve on the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, was confirmed today by the Oregon State Senate. He is replacing Board member Tim Nesbitt who recently announced his resignation. Francesconi’s term on the Board will begin immediately and continue through June 2008, the end of Nesbitt’s original term, at which time he will be eligible for re-appointment.

Henry Lorenzen, president of the Board of Higher Education, said, ”Jim’s recognized leadership and experience in education and community initiatives will help the Board further its short- and long-term strategy for higher education in Oregon, including greater alignment between K-12 and higher education. His vision and creativity will help students and Oregonians pursue their college goals, through expanded access and affordability, and stronger, more fiscally stable universities,” added Lorenzen. “We couldn’t be more pleased with Jim’s joining the Board and contributing to these critical efforts that directly serve Oregonians and our economy.”

Francesconi is currently an attorney with the law firm of Haglund, Kelley. He also serves as a member of the United Way Board, McDonald Center Board, the Portland Business Alliance’s Education Committee, and the Portland Regional Business Plan Task Force. Well known as a champion of all levels of education from K-12 to higher education, Francesconi is a co-founder of Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN), which provides before- and after-school programs, and the Portland Workforce Alliance, which partners employers with high schools providing mentorships and work experience.

Previously, Francesconi served as a city commissioner on the Portland City Council for two terms, from 1997 to 2004, managing Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland Department of Transportation, and Fire and Emergency Services. For 18 years he successfully ran a litigation firm which he founded, during which time he also became a leader in the social justice-based Portland Organizing Project, and founded the Youth Employment Empowerment Coalition.

Francesconi received a B.A. in Humanities from Stanford University, and his J.D. from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Oregon State Bar.

Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu

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