CORVALLIS, Ore. – When the Pac 10 formally expands next month to the Pac 12, that won't be the only new development for the conference: Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray will also take over as chair of the Pac 12 CEO Executive Group beginning July 1.
Ray assumed the leadership role at an auspicious time for the conference, which last Tuesday earned its unparalleled 400th NCAA championship via Arizona State University's women's softball team. That total is nearly double that of the next most successful conference, the Big 10.
Ray's new role also begins as the conference has just completed a new television deal that not only will generate significant new revenue for member universities, but that will deliver major new national exposure for conference sports and academic programming via the Pac 12 Network.
Ray brings extensive experience to this role, having served for the past two years as chair of the NCAA Executive Committee and having been a member of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors since 2007. He also chaired the search that resulted in former University of Washington President Mark Emmert being named as the new president of the NCAA.
Ray will serve a two-year term and head the group responsible for governance of the conference. On the staff side, the conference is led by Commissioner Larry Scott, former chairman and CEO of the Women's Tennis Association.
"Under Larry's leadership, the conference is moving in innovative and exciting directions," said Ray. "I'm enthusiastic about the possibilities to work with my fellow presidents and with Larry's team to strengthen our conference further, particularly as we deepen the academic and other non-athletics connections between the excellent institutions that comprise the Pac 12."
OSU's president since 2003, Ray is the longest-serving current president among the state's university leaders. A doctoral graduate of Stanford University and widely published economist with expertise in international trade and investment and U.S. economic history, Ray had a 33-year career at Ohio State University culminating in his service as executive vice president and provost from 1998-2003.
Under his leadership, OSU has grown substantially to its current enrollment of 24,000, launched the university's first capital campaign, which has thus far raised more than $700 million and strengthened its position as Oregon's leading research university, with annual grant and contract funding of more than $275 million.