Elmo’s School: Dr. Helen Redbird-Smith’s Journey through Education

A love of learning is in her bones, said Helen Redbird-Smith ’51, member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a professor emerita of Western Oregon University. “Cherokees are notorious for education. We are driven by wanting to know,” said Redbird-Smith. Though she is long retired, Redbird-Smith still finds joy in learning and education, taking classes in film, science, Japanese, and philosophy.

MSEE program brings geographic diversity and experiential wisdom to campus

The beauty and diversity of our region in southwest Oregon is what makes it so attractive for residents and tourists but it’s also a lure for SOU graduate students in the Master of Science in Environmental Education (MSEE) program.

SOU Alumni Association launches Raider Network platform

The SOU Alumni Association has launched a networking platform for all Raider alumni and students with our partner, PeopleGrove. The new platform will generate hundreds of new connections and provide insight and accessibility in new and engaging ways.

Non-traditional alumna’s hard work and remarkable achievements pay off for healthcare patients

Carrie Kirkley ’16 took the long road to SOU after growing up in Sacramento, CA, but her accomplishments as a non-traditional alumna are second to none. Carrie’s father was battling cancer for seven years about the same time Carrie’s first son was born in 1997. Sadly, her father passed two years later when she was nineteen but the hard work, dedication and compassion of his nurses, inspired her for a lifetime. 

Alum applies SOU and United Nations experiences to his university teaching in Japan

Mark Cogan ’04 grew up in Gold Beach on the Oregon Coast and attended and graduated Gold Beach High School. His first full time job right out of high school was as Webmaster for Wind Tracks magazine, which covered windsurfing on the Pacific coast and across the country. Before pursuing higher education, he worked for a country living magazine, followed by a year at the Medford Mail Tribune as a Publications Specialist.

Alumna’s Schneider Museum of Art experiences on campus, helped lead to a career at the world-famous Smithsonian in Washington, DC

It’s not often that small-town Oregonians have the opportunity to help manage and promote world class exhibits in one of the most bustling cities in the world, Washington, DC, all while working at the legendary Smithsonian.

Alum from Arizona settles in the Rogue Valley and volunteers to make it a better place for all

Growing up in the Arizona desert, Vance Beach ’11, MiM ’14 had no idea that he would someday make it to a small university in rural southwest Oregon. Attending Dobson HS in Phoenix, Vance excelled in football and track but because of a post-season football staff change

Alums bring education and leadership to legalized marijuana industry

Basketball brought Sarah ’01 and Obie ’04 Strickler together at SOU. Today, they are dynamic business leaders working to unite the region through education about legal marijuana possession and sale for those 21 years of age and older.  

MBA alum gives back to local youth after 35 years in the corporate world

In 2019, Will began the online MBA program at SOU, hoping to continue as a lifelong learner and to keep challenging himself. It worked! “Once I started the program, I was asking myself what was I doing and who am I?