Contact:        Anna Teske: 503-725-5700;

June 20, 2014, PORTLAND – Dr. Melody Rose, chancellor of the Oregon University System, today announced the appointment of Dr. Roy Hirofumi Saigo as interim president of Southern Oregon University effective July 1, after the State Board of Higher Education voted unanimously to appoint him to the position. Dr. Saigo is a respected leader in higher education who is president emeritus of Saint Cloud State University and has held other top leadership positions during his career. Dr. Saigo replaces Dr. Mary Cullinan, who resigned as SOU president last week and who was recently named as president of Eastern Washington University.

Well known in higher education circles as a “turnaround” leader, Dr. Saigo is being brought into SOU just as the campus is implementing its retrenchment plan to address budget issues, and is beginning the process of forming its own institutional governing board.

Chancellor Rose said, “Dr. Saigo is the right leader to guide Southern through a period of both challenges and opportunities for the campus. He will be able to build dialogue and understanding among the campus community and the region through his transparent approach to information sharing and collaboration. Known for being entrepreneurial and for building on the academic strengths of institutions, Dr. Saigo can unite the campus, address enrollment and affordability issues, build on the great retention work already underway, and reach out to SOU’s many communities. We welcome him and his wife, Dr. Barbara W. Saigo, to Southern Oregon and the SOU community.”

Immediately prior to joining SOU, Dr. Saigo worked as a consultant, speaker and writer on societal and leadership issues. From 2000-2007, Saigo was president of St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, which had grown under his leadership to a campus of 16,000 students, 175 majors and minors.  It had become the most highly accredited university in the system.  During his tenure, Dr. Saigo brought the university to fiscal stability, built academic programs, increased student enrollment, engaged the campus community in internal university affairs, and initiated renovation and expansion of academic and residential facilities for students, among other accomplishments. His impact at the university was recognized when he was named president emeritus in 2007. He also served the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system in 2007-2008 as distinguished senior fellow for academic affairs, where he led a comprehensive analysis of international study programs across the system of state universities and community colleges.

Dr. Saigo said, “I’m very excited about the opportunity to join the faculty, students and staff at Southern Oregon University. I know these are challenging times, but they also present a unique opportunity to strengthen Southern’s role in serving students and the region in effective, creative ways that move us forward towards institutional governance. I will work with everyone on campus to listen carefully, renew relationships, and reconnect our vision. Collectively, we can become transformational agents in expanding access and success for our students. I am eager to get started, and I truly look forward to working with the SOU community and our many partners.”

Before joining St. Cloud as president, Dr. Saigo was chancellor at Auburn University Montgomery from 1994-2000; provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at Southeastern Louisiana University from 1990-1994; dean of the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Northern Iowa from 1984-1990; Assistant Dean and Assistant to the Dean at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire from 1976-1984; and held other professional positions as well.  Saigo was a faculty member in Biology at UW-EC for 17 years, beginning in 1967.

Dr. Saigo has a Ph.D. in Botany and Plant Pathology from Oregon State University and a B.A. in Biological Science from University of California at Davis where he also completed post-graduate studies in Agriculture.

Dr. Saigo and his wife Dr. Barbara Woodworth Saigo will be on campus beginning today and are in the process of transitioning to Oregon from Minnesota. Barbara Saigo is also an accomplished scientist and educator with a Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Iowa, M.A. in Zoology from Oregon State University and B.A. in Biology from Willamette University.