EUGENE, Ore. — The man who could become the next University of Oregon president stepped onto campus Tuesday.
Michael Gottfredson is currently part of the University of California, Irvine administration.
Walking down Agate Street, visiting campus staples like the Jaqua Academic and Ford Alumni centers, a contingent of campus leaders gave Gottfredson the grand tour of what could be his new stomping grounds.
“I’ve enjoyed meeting all the people and exploring this beautiful campus,” Gottfredson said. “The university is a wonderful place, one of the best universities in the country.”
Gottfredson says he hopes to contribute to that legacy, bringing with him experience as a provost and executive vice chancellor at UC Irvine.
“Belief that we need to partner with other high education institutions, as we do in California, throughout the state in order to coordinate our activities to ensure access to higher education,” Gottfredson said.
Student government leaders say they’re excited about the leadership qualities Gottfredson would bring.
“In some ways (he’s) way further than we are, in some different areas, and I think that’s going to be really helpful,” said ASUO President Laura Hinman.
And they came with many questions for him.
“The university system is really special in that we have a shared governance system here where the students are big stakeholders here, and we are big constituents at the university, so just making sure he is aware of that and that he’s able to work and listen to students, which he seemed really excited about doing,” Hinman said.
We asked Gottfredson about how he plans to transition from a school with no football team to one where football is a leading program.
“I was going to tell you we never lost a football game to Oregon,” Gottfredson said.
And the students have no doubt he’ll quickly grow to love the Ducks.
“It’s contagious once you get on this university, and I think he’ll be good at bringing a balance between our athletic program and our academic program. We are a D1 school, but we’re also a research institution,” Gottfredson said.
Gottfredson has some ties to Eugene. His wife Carol went to elementary school here, and one of his brothers was a UO graduate.