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News Releases
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Ronnie_Taylor.jpg
Western Oregon University professor releases music album about his transformational life (Photo) - 07/15/24

MONMOUTH, Ore.Western Oregon University Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy Ronnie Taylor recently released a music album, That One Black Kid, under the name Dr. PDX.The album is autobiographical and includes music chronicling his decision to become a licensed Occupational Therapist–and how he came to teach the subject to others.

Taylor has been a musician since his teens and this album shares his remarkable journey from high school expulsion to college professor. During his junior year of high school, Taylor was kicked out of school and could not graduate. He eventually became an EMT and subsequently became a paramedic working in Massachusetts and Washington D.C. Later he went back to school at a community college before transferring to George Washington University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He was then admitted to the Occupational Therapy doctorate program at Pacific University, graduating in 2019. Taylor specializes in hand therapy as an Occupational Therapist and last year, he joined the faculty at Western Oregon University as an assistant professor. He will teach the inaugural cohort of the Occupational Therapy doctorate program this fall.

Taylor says that during the pandemic, he found himself helping his kids with their school work at home during the day, and after failing to teach his daughter long division, he pivoted to teach them how to write songs and create music. After watching the movie Hamilton, his daughter Zadie asked if he could write the best hip-hop album of all time. Taylor replied, “I don’t know if I can do that, but I can write the best album I’ve ever written.” Taylor has published two prior albums Lazarus and Life, Love, Epic under the stage name Laz, and he says that his latest release is his best album to date.

Taylor shares that he wants to leave a legacy of his lived experience for his children and grandchildren, as a record of how his life played out from his perspective through this album. 

“I’m excited to begin teaching students this fall as well as sharing my own story through my new album,” says Taylor. “I want to show students–and others that even if they have a challenging start to life it is possible to reach your dreams and make a good life for yourself and your family.”

Taylor has also made many guest appearances, and performances, and is available as a guest speaker. Find him on X @taylor_ronald.

Learn more about Western’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program.

 

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About Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University, established in Monmouth in 1856, proudly stands as Oregon’s oldest public university. Hosting around 4,000 students, Western embodies a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution, with approximately 80% of its students hailing from within the state. Notably, its diverse student body comprises individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, veterans, and non-traditional learners. Western stands as the preferred campus in Oregon for those pursuing an enriching education within a nurturing, student-focused environment, characterized by faculty-led instruction. Where You Belong.


 

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Western Oregon University receives grant from Spirit Mountain Community Fund to support community needs - 07/11/24

MONMOUTH, Ore. –Western Oregon University’s Center for Equity and Gender Justice–called Abby’s House–received a $50,000 grant from Spirit Mountain Community Fund to help support individuals experiencing food insecurity, survivors of domestic abuse, and sexual assault.

As the only resource center of its kind in Monmouth, Abby’s House services are paramount to making a positive impact on the lives of those who experience food insecurity and domestic violence. Director of Abby’s House Kristen Perry shares, "Since September 2022, Abby’s House has provided 51,321 pounds of food and 5,780 clothing items and demand for their services has grown exponentially. This grant will ensure that individuals requiring basic needs and survivorship resources continue to receive robust wraparound support and care.”

“The strength of our local partnerships is something we take pride in,” said Spirit Mountain Community Fund Executive Director Angie Sears. “We’re thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with Western Oregon University Foundation and Abby’s House to provide support for wraparound services available to the WOU campus & local community populations in the form of basic needs, survivor support, and prevention & education.”  

The mission of Abby’s House is to provide the campus and greater community with educational opportunities, resources, and referral services designed to promote equity and non-violence. Basic needs support for the Western campus and the broader Monmouth-area community is also a primary focus of Abby’s House, which houses the Stitch Closet and Monmouth's only food pantry. Abby’s House embraces a feminist model that empowers all people to actively stand against all forms of violence and oppression while providing safety, support, and space for healing to individuals who experience disruptions to their well-being.

 

https://wou.edu/2024/07/11/western-oregon-university-receives-grant-from-spirit-mountain-community-fund-to-support-community-needs/

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About Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University, established in Monmouth in 1856, proudly stands as Oregon’s oldest public university. Hosting around 4,000 students, Western embodies a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution, with approximately 80% of its students hailing from within the state. Notably, its diverse student body comprises individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, veterans, and non-traditional learners. Western stands as the preferred campus in Oregon for those pursuing an enriching education within a nurturing, student-focused environment, characterized by faculty-led instruction. Where You Belong.


 

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Western Oregon University hosts regional gaming competition (Photo) - 07/08/24

 MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University hosted the 17th season of the Oregon Game Project Challenge, a video game development competition for middle and high school students. 

Each fall, OGPC announces a theme for the year’s competition, which is typically held in May. Teams then work together to design a video game based on that theme to present at the main event. Students interact with judges, event attendees, and tech industry professionals during the competition.

This past May, 60 teams (285 students) participated, representing over 30 schools from Oregon and southern Washington. Each team has between 2-7 members and an adult coach. See this year’s winners.

Western has hosted the competition since 2017 and will host it again next year. The date for next year’s event will be announced this fall. “OGPC seeks to inspire students to develop various skills based on their passion for making video games,” shares Andrew Scholer, director of OGPC. “Students write code, create art and music, craft a story, and design gameplay. They learn project management and teamwork as they collaborate over multiple months to deliver a project. And they practice their soft skills as they present their project to judges and other students.”

OGPC was started by a non-profit arm of the Software Association of Oregon (now the Technology Association of Oregon). In 2015 it was spun off as an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit also called Oregon Game Project Challenge. Learn more.

 

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About Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University, established in Monmouth in 1856, proudly stands as Oregon’s oldest public university. Hosting around 4,000 students, Western embodies a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution, with approximately 80% of its students hailing from within the state. Notably, its diverse student body comprises individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, veterans, and non-traditional learners. Western stands as the preferred campus in Oregon for those pursuing an enriching education within a nurturing, student-focused environment, characterized by faculty-led instruction. Where YOU belong.


 

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Western Oregon University joins the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges - 06/26/24

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University officially joined the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) this month after a rigorous application process. COPLAC advances the aims of its member institutions and drives awareness of the value of high-quality, public liberal arts education in a student-centered, residential environment. Western is the only public university in Oregon to hold membership currently. 

Established in 1987 and now consisting of 30+ colleges and universities in 28 states and 1 Canadian province, COPLAC represents a distinguished sector in higher education. Some campuses have received designation from state legislatures or public university systems as the state’s public liberal arts college or the public honors college for the liberal arts. 

"We are thrilled to welcome Western Oregon University to COPLAC. It was clear from our site visit interactions with members of the WOU campus community, the materials submitted as part of the application process, as well as your leaders' engagement with members of the consortium, that WOU's institutional values and commitment to a 21st-century liberal arts education perfectly align with COPLAC's,” said COPLAC President Tuajuanda C. Jordan. “We look forward to working in partnership with WOU to enhance the accessible liberal arts educational experience consortial members provide to students across the U.S."

Executive Director of COPLAC Cole Woodcox agrees with Jordan’s assessment of Western’s commitment to its role as a welcoming, supportive undergraduate-serving institution. Woodcox shares, “We believe WOU will contribute substantially to the COPLAC community and particularly strengthen the network of public liberal arts institutions in the Western region. We look forward to working with WOU–together we can be better universities with one another.”

"Becoming a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges underscores our commitment to academic excellence and innovation,” said Western Oregon University President Jesse Peters. “This affiliation offers opportunities for collaboration, access to shared resources, and the exchange of best practices. It enhances our ability to prepare students for successful careers and engaged citizenship, reaffirming our dedication to excellence in liberal arts education."

Prospective membership criteria include university commitment to the mission and values of COPLAC and to collaborative work that supports the public sector of higher education, representing access, affordability, and community engagement while providing students with a holistic and integrative liberal arts and sciences undergraduate experience that prepares students for lifelong learning and civic engagement in a democratic society. See the complete list of criteria.

 

About COPLAC

COPLAC serves both external and internal constituencies. It communicates to state and federal policymakers the vital importance and benefits of providing students with comprehensive public higher education in the liberal arts and sciences. It collaborates with major national higher education organizations like the Association of American Colleges and Universities to advance the aims of liberal learning in a global society. The COPLAC office is located on the campus of the University of North Carolina Asheville. The staff works actively with member institutions to improve the quality of liberal arts and sciences education on member campuses.

 

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About Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University, established in Monmouth in 1856, proudly stands as Oregon’s oldest public university. Hosting around 4,000 students, Western embodies a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution, with approximately 80% of its students hailing from within the state. Notably, its diverse student body comprises individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, veterans, and non-traditional learners. Western stands as the preferred campus in Oregon for those pursuing an enriching education within a nurturing, student-focused environment, characterized by faculty-led instruction. Where You Belong.