MONMOUTH -- John Minahan was appointed as permanent president of Western Oregon University.
Members of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education voted unanimously to promote Minahan from interim to full-time president at a Dec. 1 meeting in Portland.
Minahan was hired on a two-year contract in 2005 after the retirement of former president Philip Conn. State officials had posed approached Minahan about a promotion last spring, citing significant improvements to the financial status, retention and enrollment efforts and morale at the college.
"There was an overwhelming level of support for Dr. Minahan to become permanent president from every segment of the campus," said George Pernsteiner, chancellor of the Oregon University System. I heard again and again about the strength and positive outcomes of John's leadership ... and his overall commitment to and love of the university."
Minahan's contract will run until June 2009. He will be paid a salary of $168,800, which is what the presidents of Southern Oregon University and Eastern Oregon University receive.
The national average for colleges of comparable size is $197,000, according to the Oregon University System.
A task force headed by Pernsteiner met with Western faculty, staff, students and alumni in November to assess Minahan's performance.
Pernsteiner recommended the hiring to the board -- instead of conducting a costly nationwide search for a president -- based on campus sentiment.
Minahan had previously stated he would only accept the offer with the blessing of peers.
"To know that the decision was made with the support of our faculty, staff and students, that makes it very special," Minahan said. "I'm very humbled by that."
Minahan said he plans to gather school officials and professors in January to discuss planning the direction of the university.
Those issues include the potential for additional academic programs to compliment Western's incoming nursing program, working with Monmouth regarding growth in the city and at the college.
"Where we go depends on what faculty and staff agree to and how they see the future," Minahan said."