Roger J. Thompson, University of Oregon

Roger J. Thompson, Vice Provost of Enrollment Management at University of Oregon, joins us this month to answer our questions about admissions and the state's flagship public university.

Founded in 1876, University of Oregon is organized into eight schools and colleges, including Arts and Sciences, Architecture, Business, Education, Journalism and Communication, Music and Dance, and an Honors College. Located on 295 acres in the Willamette Valley, between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, the Eugene campus hosts about 20,600 undergraduates.

Fun facts:

*  The NCAA Division Pac-12 Oregon Ducks have one of the most recognizable and lovable mascots in collegiate sports. The Disney character Donald Duck has taken the field with Oregon athletes since a handshake agreement between then-Athletic Director Leo Harris and Walt Disney in 1947.

*  And the campus was the setting for National Lampoon's Animal House, filmed there in 1978. The Erb Memorial Union dining facility known as "The Fishbowl" was the site of the famous food-fight scene.

But it's not all football and filmed food fights. University of Oregon alumni include two Nobel Prize recipients, 10 Pulitzer Prize winners, 19 Rhodes scholars, 4 Marshall scholars, 58 Guggenheim Fellows, and 129 Fullbright scholars.

Join Thompson here to learn more about the students and culture of this dynamic public university:

What is the future direction of University of Oregon?

The future at the University of Oregon is incredibly bright!  Interest has never been higher with applications having basically doubled over the past few years. We offer an outstanding education, with course sizes which allow students to get to know their faculty, on a gorgeous campus -- all in a quintessential college town. In short, we have much to offer to students and families.

What kind of student does well at University of Oregon? How would you describe the student body?

The type of student who does well at Oregon is academically talented, involved and engaged in their school and community, and wishes to further develop their leadership skills. Regardless of a student's area of interest, we do really well with those who wish to lead---and who are engaged. Those students thrive at the U of O.  Our student body is diverse, in any manner one wishes to measure diversity. We are geographically diverse with all 50 states represented on campus. We are international with nearly 100 countries represented in our student body. We are also diverse in terms of ethnicity and socioeconomic status. So, our student body is talented and diverse, and full of leaders in a variety of areas.

How do you read and evaluate applications at University of Oregon? And what would you most want an applicant to the school to know?

We consider the standard academic measures, such as high school GPA, test scores (SAT/ACT), the high school curriculum (where we look for "reasonable rigor") and the essay. We try to get to know our applicants from their materials, and treat each applicant with the respect they deserve. We are appreciative of students who apply to the University of Oregon, and we wish to take the time to give each individual student the time and attention needed to make an admission decision.

The most important aspect of the application process for students to remember is that the essay is YOUR essay. Don't try to write an essay you think we would want to read, because what we wish to read is your essay---tell us about you, your interests, your dreams and aspirations.

Why are public universities such as University of Oregon seeking out-of-state and even international students?

At the University of Oregon, we are interested in providing a diverse student body because it enhances the educational experience of our students. The level of discourse in the classroom is enhanced when we have students from all fifty states, and nearly one hundred countries around the world. The experience for all students is enhanced with a student body that more closely reflects the world in 2012.  Our students will enter a global economy when they graduate, and we are committed to providing a world class education, and that involves enrolling students from Oregon, other states, and around the world.

With so much in the news about diversity and affirmative action, can you tell us about a time in college or your career when you had an “aha” diversity moment – a time when being in a diverse environment yourself taught you something valuable?

I am fortunate, I grew up in a home where diversity was valued and appreciated, so respecting, valuing, and appreciating those with different backgrounds and perspectives was valued as a part of my upbringing.   In college, I took courses in African American Studies and Women's Studies---each helped me realize and appreciate how much diversity enhances one's own educational experience.

What is your favorite thing about University of Oregon?

I love the energy of our students--their passion, and spirit for making a difference in our world is truly exhilarating!  I also enjoy Track Town Pizza---a classic University of Oregon hangout, a must for anyone visiting campus!  Lastly, nothing beats walking through the heart of campus on a clear, crisp fall day, with the leaves changing colors, the sun shining, and just the sheer beauty of the colors----it is really spectacular!



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