Chris Cronin of John Day said her retirement plans include a trip to Ireland with her husband as she closes a 24-year career as Eastern Oregon University’s regional director for Grant County.
It was in 1993, when Cronin was hired, that EOU launched full degrees online.
“It was a really exciting time to be involved with distance education because it was blossoming and growing, and EOU was at the forefront,” she said.
Cronin said the online educational programs are still “alive and well” in the capable hands of Ashley Armichardy.
Cronin worked side by side with Armichardy at the Grant County Education Service District office in John Day since 2010.
Armichardy, Blue Mountain Community College’s center coordinator, has added EOU regional adviser to her responsibilities; the EOU position now has reduced hours.
Cronin said she and Armichardy, also a John Day resident, worked well together over the years and added there is also a positive link between the college and university.
“BMCC and EOU have always been strong consortial partners,” Cronin said. “It allows students to save on costs by taking classes at the community college level at a greater degree, and those credits transfer easily.”
She added, “The advising (students) get early on smooths the pathway, so they take the correct classes at the right time.”
Armichardy jumped in, “… to get that bachelor’s degree efficiently and economically.”
She said she can also help answer students’ questions about becoming an on-campus student, admissions, financial aid and placement testing.
They also offer placement tests for other schools, free of charge.
And there are programs to help people earn a GED.
“I can help students at every level of their college experience,” Armichardy said.
Oftentimes people want to return to college to finish up a degree; sometimes a master’s of arts and teaching.
The online degrees offered through EOU include 13 undergraduate degrees, 15 minors and three graduate programs.
Armichardy said that for a lot of online students “their first time on campus is for graduation.”
She is an EOU graduate with bachelor’s in science and biology and also holds a master’s of biological sciences from Boise State University.
She taught an online biology class for BMCC in the past, and, if given the opportunity, she may teach the class again.
Cronin said she’s looking forward to spending time with grandchildren and traveling with her husband in retirement, but there are many aspects of the job she’ll miss.
“My favorite part and the part I will miss most will be working with students and just being a part of helping them achieve their lifelong dreams,” she said. “I helped make it easier for them to do what they wanted to do. That was very satisfying and rewarding.”
She said she sees former students she assisted working at the school district, forest service and courthouse, as well as accountants and those in the medical field.
“I was an adviser for so many students who got their degree through EOU,” she said.
Cronin said she’s glad to see Armichardy stepping in where she left off.
“I’m thrilled that she’s going to be serving in this role,” Cronin said. “She’s a great fit, and she’s an EOU graduate. We have partnered together and worked with students in common for the past seven years, so I have a lot of confidence in her knowledge and ability to work with students.”
“I have big shoes to fill,” Armichardy said.
Advising sessions with Armichardy are available by appointment by calling 541-575-1550 or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays or by appointment.
The ESD office is located at 835 B South Canyon Blvd. in John Day.