The worst kept secret in Oregon education circles is now fact: Dr. Robert Berdahl, 74, has been appointed to be the interim president of the University of Oregon by the state Board of Higher Ed, a group that Berdahl pilloried last week. Berdahl has a distinguished academic career and has, most recently, been a consultant to Richard Lariviere, the ex-president.
The state Board of Higher Ed issued a press release announcing the appointment, saying all the right things about Berdahl. For his part, however, Berdahl sent notice that he will continue the battle that Lariviere had with the state Board, perhaps with a slightly different style. Here is a portion of his email to faculty and staff:
I am also moved by a determination to carry forward the important agenda President Lariviere has outlined for the campus: taking important steps toward the development of genuinely independent governing board for the campus, continuing to assure alumni and supporters of the University that investing in this institution will yield substantial dividends for the State of Oregon, and working with Oregon leaders to restructure and improve all levels of education for Oregonians. I have said repeatedly that the quality of the University of Oregon is better recognized outside of Oregon than within it. We must work to persuade Oregonians of the treasure they have in the UO and why it deserves their support.
Reportedly, Berdahl's compensation will be in the half million dollar a year range (much of which is paid for by the University of Oregon Foundation). Interestingly, Berdahl has for many years been a director of Lam Research Corp., a California semiconductor company with annual revenues of more than $3 billion. As a director, Berdahl is compensated handsomely. According to the SEC, his compensation from Lam this fiscal year exceeded $230,000.