New president connects with community

After assuming office in July of 2023, new University of Oregon President, Karl Scholz has wasted no time getting to know the university. From various meet and greets to the U.S.A. National Track and Field Championship, Scholz has made his presence on campus known and has presented himself to students and university associates as a man of the people.


President Schulz conversing with students at the University of Oregon's Knight Campus.

This article first appeared on Around the O on September 13th, 2023.

President Karl Scholz is counting down the days until the University of Oregon campuses are filled with students again. The university’s 19th president officially took office July 1.

“It’s been an exciting couple of months, and I can’t say enough about the warm welcome I’ve received from everyone,” Scholz said. “I’m eager for the start of fall term and the energy that comes when everyone is back on campus, and for the opportunity to get to know more members of our campus community.”

The past month has been a whirlwind for Scholz, who moved here with his wife, Melissa, and their two cats from Wisconsin, where he most recently served as provost at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since his arrival, he’s been on the go with a mission of listening and learning as he begins to develop a framework for setting the institution’s strategic priorities and goals.

“I come to this position with a deep commitment to public higher education, and I have ideas of how the university can set goals and priorities for the future,” Scholz said, “but my intent now is to really listen to campus constituents and stakeholders and learn more about what they want from the university and what they aspire for it to be. What I’ve heard so far has been inspiring and makes me excited and grateful to be here.”

During July and August, he held two informal meet and greet receptions open to students, staff, and faculty, and he plans to hold more events over the coming months. He’s also attended events that are woven into the fabric of the university and local area: a performance of the Oregon Bach Festival at the Hult Center and the U.S.A. Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field. He’s traveled north to attend the Fiesta Mexicana in Woodburn and to Washington, D.C. for an Association of American Universities presidents meeting.

Scholz met a range of community colleagues, from members of Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes at the recent Native American Advisory Council meeting to U.S.Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Val Hoyle of Oregon’s federal delegation, as well as Oregon state government representatives.

He has travelled to meet alumni, taken part in a book auction with the Student Academy to Inspire Learning, or SAIL, and toured Lane Community College’s main campus with LCC President Stephanie Bulger. And to help acquaint themselves with their new neighbors, he and Melissa hosted them at McMorran House for an evening of conversation.

All of that is in addition to numerous one-on-one and small-group meetings Scholz has had with faculty members, staff and students throughout the summer.

This month he also oversaw the university’s commitment to join the Big Ten Conference in August 2024 and finalized the first hire to his leadership team, naming Joe Buck as the vice president of advancement.

Scholz and his wife will help students move in as part of “Unpack the Quack,” and the president will speak at convocation and attend dozens of start-of-term events in UO schools, colleges and administrative units in the coming weeks. Over the course of fall term, he will meet with donors, volunteers, alumni and other stakeholders across the state and country at a series of gatherings called UO Onward.

“I wish everyone a safe and joyous start to the coming year.” Scholz said.

The university will share additional information about opportunities for members of the UO community to provide input on the university’s strategic direction once the term is underway. 

─By Jim Murez, University Communications

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