President Edward J. Ray:
2021 Commencement Speaker

Dr. Ray served as OSU’s president for nearly 17 years and stepped down from that role on June 30, 2020.  

Throughout his career, President Ray has made extraordinary contributions as an educator, respected university leader, and as an accountable and passionate advocate for excellence in public higher education nationally. Before joining OSU, he served as a professor, department head, and provost and executive vice president at Ohio State University.

As OSU’s 14th president, he has led a remarkable transformation that has seen OSU become an internationally recognized public research university with more than 32,000 students -- more than 68% increase over his tenure. Under his leadership, grant-funded research has grown dramatically and in 2019 totaled just under $440 million. Additionally, OSU’s reach has expanded education opportunities within Central Oregon with the OSU-Cascades branch campus, worldwide online serving nearly 7,000 students through Ecampus and in the Portland metro area via hybrid courses offered at the OSU Portland Center.

President Ray is a strong advocate within Oregon and nationally for access to excellent higher education opportunities for all learners. He has worked to reduce barriers to access to higher education for historically underrepresented populations while also increasing academic excellence for all students. His leadership in helping to start the University Innovation Alliance, expand OSU’s dual enrollment program to include all 17 of Oregon’s community colleges, and grow OSU’s nationally top-ranked online education programs are just a few examples of Ed’s commitment to higher education access and student success.

President Ray has made inclusive excellence a foundation for success in teaching, research, and community outreach and engagement throughout the university. In 2017, he established the offices of Institutional Diversity and Equal Opportunity and supported the implementation of the university’s required critical training for all faculty and staff to understand and report acts of bias, discrimination and harassment.

He has served on the boards of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the American Council on Education, and a council and committee member within APLU, where he has championed efforts nationally to advance STEM education, science and mathematics teaching, and LEAP.

As a PAC-12 Conference and past chair and member of the NCAA executive committee, President Ray has strongly supported student-athletes, fair play, and accountability in college athletics.

During his tenure, the OSU Foundation completed in 2014 the university’s first major fundraising campaign that raised $1.142 billion and included contributions from more than 106,000 donors. At the time, The Campaign for OSU helped build or renovate 28 buildings, endow 79 new faculty positions, and create more than 600 new scholarship and fellowship funds for 3,200 students.