December 13, 2001 11:00 pm

The development office is the arm of a university that tries to attract dollars from donors to help the institution grow.

Eastern Oregon Universitys development office is doing quite well, judging from two sizable gifts that were announced over the past week.

Mindi McAllaster, director of development for university advancement, and those who assisted her should be congratulated for landing a $500,000 grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust. The grant will contribute significantly in Easterns efforts to raise $33.5 million for its new science building. Initial work on the project on the campuss north side is expected to begin early in 2002.

The grant, announced Tuesday comes on the heels of an announcement last week that Eastern alum David Huber is donating $500,000 to the science center. Huber, the son of a former Union County Extension agent, also is contributing $100,000 to endow a physics and engineering scholarship.

Skills in relationship-building and persuasion are needed to be successful in development. McAllaster is showing she has what it takes to encourage donors like the Meyer Memorial Trust to make major gifts. The trust, which aids projects throughout Oregon, was created by the late Fred G. Meyer, who built the chain of retail variety stores throughout the Northwest that bear his name. Its significant to get a large gift like that from the Meyer trust.

Although the lions share of funding for the science building is coming from state and federal sources, other significant gifts from private benefactors were needed. The community also has shown its solid support for the project.

The sky is the limit in Easterns development office as the university attempts to increase its enrollment from 2,000 to 3,000 or more students over the next decade, and provide the buildings and endowments that will help achieve that goal.

It will be fascinating to turn McAllaster loose over the next couple of years on Easterns next project securing funding for a new library on campus to see what develops.


Our hearts go out to the families that lost loved ones in accidents on Highway 82 north of Island City on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Icy conditions contributed to both mishaps. The one on Tuesday involved a pickup truck striking a log truck, and the other was a single-car, rollover accident.

Northeastern Oregon roads can be treacherous this time of year. When highways become like skating rinks, it is better to stay home and delay travel until conditions improve. If you must make the trip, proceed with caution. That means slowing down and being aware of other vehicles that might be spinning out of control.