She’s modest about accepting too much credit for Eastern Oregon University’s turn-around over the past two years. But there is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Dixie Lund was the catalyst for and the administrator of EOU’s resurgence. Lund was the right person at the right time to serve as interim president.
Her two-year stint recently came to an end as she handed over the reins to Bob Davies. Eastern’s challenges have not disappeared, due largely to the economic times. But the institution she handed over to Davies is one that is in far better shape today than it was when she was named to her second interim presidency in July 2007.
Lund credits “the team,’’ the entire EOU community, for the turn-around. And of course she’s right. But she was the one responsible for helping rebuild the team, of getting people pulling together, of understanding the need for difficult decisions. Being the modest person that she is, it’s easy to understand why she downplays her impact on EOU’s rebirth. She underestimates her role. It’s difficult to imagine anyone being able to bring about in only two short years what EOU accomplished.
Lund simply had the right mix of people skills, of personality, of frugality, of administrative know-how. And, shall we say, chutz-pah. But more important than anything, Dixie had — and has — another characteristic that would have been hard to find in any other interim — an unwavering love for this institution. That care, that concern, made her refuse to accept failure. It pushed her and everyone around her.
Thank you, Dixie Lund, for caring. And for the exceptional job you did as Eastern’s interim president.
A lasting tribute of some kind, perhaps a statue, seems in order. Lund’s service to the university over 30-plus years, culminating with the university’s rescue, needs to be