January 08, 2002 11:00 pm

It should not come as a surprise to see Eastern Oregon University President Phil Creighton being wooed to a larger university on the East Coast. We only hope the Oregon University System will recognize the quality leader that landed at Eastern 3 1/2 years ago, and work equally as hard in encouraging Creighton to stay.

Creighton is one of five finalists for the presidency of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. The state school has an enrollment of about 8,200 students; Eastern has approximately 2,000.

Creighton naturally would be interested in leading a much larger university in a part of the nation from where he came in 1998. Creighton was provost and vice president of academic affairs at Salisbury State University in Maryland when he landed the Eastern job.

The new president had a tough assignment, following the capable leadership of David Gilbert, who had served as Easterns president for 15 years. But Creighton quickly showed his skills as a winsome and creative leader. He made friends locally and in high places and drew the necessary support to allow Eastern to break ground this past fall for a $33.5 million science building. He also has cast the vision for Eastern to develop within a decade into a school that serves 3,000 students. More faculty members would be hired and new dormitories and a library are on the drawing boards to facilitate that growth.

Creighton has allowed his name to be considered for the presidency at Kutztown and two other unnamed universities. At the same time, the president said Friday that he has made no decision to leave Eastern. Thats good

The Oregon University System should be just as eager to keep Creighton, offering him the necessary incentives to stay, as the courting universities are in taking a look at him. Creighton is the right man to capture the funding necessary to see the science building project through to completion and ensure that Eastern continues to take positive, aggressive steps to improve its campus and serve hundreds of more students in coming years.


The news from Union County United Way is not good. The 2002 campaign has collected $82,236 in pledges and donations, falling $29,000 short of its $112,000 goal.

It would be a shame if United Way had to cut its contributions to local community service organizations that need the full support. Programs like the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Shelter From The Storm, The Salvation Army, Neighbor to Neighbor Ministries and the Mount Emily Safe Center could be harmed by such cuts.

A shift of donations to relief organizations in New York City following the Sept. 11 attacks is partly responsible for the reduced commitment to the local United Way. Its not too late for businesses, employees and individuals to make a pledge to the 2002 drive. Many area residents, benefitting from the programs, will be grateful if you do.