Richard S. Meyers (1983-1993)
Richard S. Meyers was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended DePaul University and University of Southern California. Meyers spent three years in Tokyo as a Civil Service employee of the Air Force before his work in education and higher learning. Prior to becoming President at Western Oregon State College (WOSC), Meyers had worked for the California Community Colleges and was involved with designing a junior college program in California. He left a position at Pasadena City College to become President of WOSC.
Meyers, upon arriving as the new president, faced the Oregon State Legislature considering the possibility of converting the college into a prison. Three days after being hired as president, Meyers found himself in front of the Oregon State Legislature, arguing to keep the college open. In 1986, he finished negotiating a deal to create the Oregon Public Safety Academy on campus. The Oregon Public Safety Academy is the home of the training facility for both state troopers and local police officers in Oregon and has since moved to new facilities in Salem. President Meyers secured the lease for the Oregon Military Academy, the first armed services training center on a four-year degree-granting university campus in the country. The revenue generated from the academies allowed the university to build MacArthur Field. The new state of the art field, track, and grandstands replaced Memorial Stadium, which had burned to the ground in dramatic fashion in 1978.
Under Meyers’ leadership, degrees in business and computer science were added within his first year as WOSC president. Meyers initiated and signed a sister college agreement with Shih Chien College in Taipei, Taiwan in 1983, which encouraged and facilitated faculty and student exchange, traveling to Taiwan to confirm and promote the exchange agreement. In 1986, Meyers went on an education mission to China with other members of the Oregon State System of Higher Education, visiting several cities and universities. He took special interest in finding potential sister agreements to establish more exchange programs. Meyers attended other overseas educational missions to Ukraine, South Korea, and Australia.
Under Meyers’ influence, the college decentralized its administration to include students, parents, faculty, and administrators in decision-making processes. During Meyers’ tenure as president, the college established a School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Meyers was named 1993 Man of the Year in the Itemizer-Observer. By the end of Meyers’ tenure, twelve new degree programs had been established at the college. After turning down a number of job offers to be President at other colleges, including offers from colleges in Arizona and Rhode Island, President Meyers accepted the President position at Webster University, a private institution in St. Louis, Missouri. He later left Webster University in 2008 for a President position at Fielding Graduate University until his retirement in 2013.