Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray has named Edward Feser the provost and executive vice president for the university.
Feser, who currently serves as interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will begin at Oregon State on Feb. 28.
He succeeds Ron Adams, who has served as OSU’s interim provost and executive vice president since July 1.
“Ed Feser will be a great addition to Oregon State University,” said Ray. “His academic and leadership success at the University of Illinois, the University of North Carolina and the University of Manchester in England will serve him very well.
“Ed fully understands Oregon State’s land grant mission as Oregon’s statewide university and OSU’s role as an internationally recognized public research university,” Ray said. “As the provost of the University of Illinois, a nationally top-ranked land grant university, he has successfully helped provide transformative learning experiences for students in and out of the classroom, and steward a global research portfolio.”
As provost and executive vice president, Feser will provide leadership to continue implementation of the university’s strategic plan and student success initiative; support growth of OSU’s grant/contract-funded research and impact; foster faculty and graduate student success; and support OSU’s diversity, enrollment management, and outreach and engagement strategies.
Feser said he is excited to join Oregon State and inspired by the university’s successes and many future opportunities.
“Oregon State has gone through a remarkable transformation over the last decade or more,” Feser said. “This has been achieved as part of a deliberate and strategic process to guide Oregon State to become one of the leading land grant universities in the U.S.”
Feser said he was drawn to Oregon State for several reasons, including its West Coast location and natural orientation toward the Pacific Rim.
“I am very impressed by Oregon State’s quickly increasing research profile; the new OSU-Cascades campus in Bend; its focused instructional priorities; its outreach and engagement impact throughout Oregon; its current global reach and focus to expand internationally; and the institution’s next phase of visioning and strategic planning.
“As part of this strategic planning process and as Oregon State’s provost, I am committed to provide every student with the tools and community support needed to succeed.”
Feser was named Illinois’ interim provost in September of 2015. Beginning in 2012, he served as dean of the University of Illinois College of Fine and Applied Arts. As dean, he oversaw academic and engagement programs in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, design and the visual and performing arts.
Prior to becoming dean at Illinois, Feser held the Davies Chair of Entrepreneurship and served as head of the Division of Innovation, Management and Policy at the Manchester Business School, University of Manchester in England. He also was an associate professor and associate department head at the University of North Carolina, and in 2003, served as assistant secretary for the North Carolina state Department of Commerce. Since 2009, Feser has served as a senior research fellow with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness in Arlington, Virginia.
Feser earned both a master’s degree in regional planning and a doctorate in regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a bachelor’s degree in government from the University of San Francisco.
Feser’s wife of 26 years, Kathy, is a civil engineer-turned-primary school science teacher. Their son, Jack, 22, is pursuing a doctorate in computer science at MIT. Their daughter, Mary, 19, is a freshman at Colorado College, studying economics and languages.
Feser grew up in Montana, Washington and northern California as his father was a U.S. National Park ranger at Glacier, Olympic and Lassen parks.
“For me, joining Oregon State is something of a coming home,” Feser said.
“I’ve always considered the Pacific Northwest – broadly – to be home. As a National Park ‘brat,’ the environmental and land ethic is in my blood. So Oregon State’s strengths in forestry, the environment and marine sciences, and its land, sea, space and sun grant designations are very appealing. I look forward to working with President Ray, the deans and other senior administrators, and the faculty, staff and students to advance the goals of this great university.”