CORVALLIS, Ore. – Rebecca “Becky” Johnson began her service May 1 as the interim president of Oregon State University.

Johnson, OSU’s first woman president, will lead the state’s largest university for approximately a year or until a permanent president is in office.

As OSU’s interim president, Johnson will work to advance the university’s Strategic Plan 4.0 and the university’s commitment to provide transformative learning, scholarship, research, and community service and engagement.

“I’m excited to engage with our remarkable faculty, staff and students in contributing to the powerful work of Oregon State University across Oregon, the nation and world,” she said.

Johnson will oversee the university’s resumption to on-site and in-person activities planned for the 2021-22 academic year.

“As OSU continues to adhere closely to local, state and federal public health guidelines, we will resume the university’s valued residential campus in-person teaching and extracurricular activities, and site-based research and OSU Extension and outreach programs,” Johnson said. “For students who can’t come to campus and online learners, OSU’s high quality response to the pandemic has showcased the university’s ability to serve learners of all ages and walks of life globally through OSU’s top-ranked Ecampus online undergraduate and graduate degree programs.”

Johnson said she will work with faculty, staff and students to contribute to safety, assure that OSU is an antiracist, equitable and welcoming university community, and strengthen OSU’s programs addressing interpersonal violence and survivor support.

“We will learn from events at OSU and across the nation and world to advance the mission of the university in ways that always reflect the values of the OSU community and those we serve,” Johnson said.

Before being named interim president, Johnson served as vice president of OSU-Cascades since 2009. In that position she helped to reshape the future of Central Oregon by increasing access to college degrees, enhancing business and industry innovation in the regional economy and partnering with the community to grow philanthropic support.

Serving as interim president is the latest step in Johnson’s career at Oregon State. She joined the university in 1984 as an assistant professor in the College of Forestry, before ascending into college and university academic and administrative leadership positions.

She succeeds Edward Feser, who has been serving as acting president since March 23 and has now returned to his role as OSU provost and executive vice president. Feser’s appointment resulted from the resignation of former President F. King Alexander on March 23, after concerns arose about his leadership of Title IX matters as president of Louisiana State University. Alexander joined OSU on July 1, 2020.

At OSU-Cascades, Andrew Ketsdever is now serving as interim vice president.

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 35,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, [email protected]


Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, [email protected]


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