The Alliance is the voice of Oregon’s independent, non-profit higher education sector, actively supporting the success of our member colleges and universities, their students, and alumni.

The Alliance: Partners for the public good.

The mission of Oregon Alliance of Independent College and Universities is to represent and serve its member institutions, all of which are regionally accredited, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in Oregon.

The Alliance’s activities foster collaboration and find the intersection between the needs and expertise of member institutions, industry leaders, and government. In doing so, the Alliance is a contributing partner to Oregon’s 40-40-20 education attainment goal, strengthening the state’s intellectual, creative, and economic resources.

The Alliance advocates with purpose.

Public
Awareness

Actively raise public awareness of the value of private, nonprofit higher education, demonstrating outcomes and return on investment, and represent and advocate for private nonprofit institutions in matters related to public interest and public policy

Affordability
& Access

Expand affordability and access to Oregon’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities and help build student pathways from college to jobs and careers

Strategic
Partnerships

Support and expand strategic partnerships with businesses, foundations, and public sector agencies and institutions

Institutional
Collaboration

Provide and create structures to encourage inter-institutional collaboration

Coordinated
Services

Coordinate services to member institutions that achieve economies of scale and enhance program effectiveness

The Alliance Team

Kristen Grainger

Kristen Grainger

President

Kristen Grainger brings more than two decades of higher education leadership and public policy/public affairs experience to The Alliance presidency. After twelve years as vice president and assistant to the president at Willamette University, she was appointed by Governor Kate Brown as her communications director, also serving as acting chief of staff from 2015-2017.
At Willamette, Kristen worked closely with the president and the 36-member board of trustees in support of their institutional leadership and stewardship efforts, including strategic planning and accreditation. Before that, she was communications director for Governor Ted Kulongoski’s first successful run for governor; a top aide to Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers; and co-founder of public affairs consulting firm Grainger & Tresidder Government Relations. She is a graduate of the University of Washington.

Kristen Grainger

President

Brent Wilder

Brent Wilder

Vice President

Brent has served as vice president of The Alliance since January 2012. Prior to his appointment, he served as interim president of The Alliance. Wilder joined The Alliance after working with the Oregon Independent College Foundation (OICF), most recently as interim president and vice president. Prior to his arrival at the OICF, Brent served as the Associate Director of Athletics for External Relations at Portland State University. His previous professional experience also includes serving as an Assistant Director of Athletic Development and Athletic Annual Fund Director at Oregon State University, and Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Oregon State. Brent received his bachelor’s degree and M.A. from Oregon State University.

Brent Wilder

Vice President

Lori Silverman

Lori Silverman

Director of Marketing, Grants, and Research

Lori Silverman has worked in public and private higher education for more than 20 years in marketing, program management and grant development roles.
Most recently, she served as Grant Development Director for Clark College, procuring grants and forming regional partnerships that met workforce needs, grant requirements and supported student achievement goals. Under her leadership, a team of faculty and administrators secured the college’s first-ever National Science Foundation workforce grant.
As an education Program Manager, at Portland State University she procured and performed research to inform the development, design and launch of multiple self-sustaining education programs. She promoted those programs to industries that included healthcare, manufacturing, and small business.
Lori is an experienced facilitator, trainer and instructional designer. She earned her Master’s degree in Post-Secondary Adult and Continuing Education from Portland State University. Additionally, she has non-profit management experience.

Lori Silverman

Director of Marketing, Grants, & Research

Lisa Little

Lisa Little

Director of Communications & Administration

Lisa comes to The Alliance with experience working for various nonprofit organizations. As an Americorps Vista in the Greater Salt Lake area in Utah, she worked with an organization serving diverse youth in education. Other experience includes volunteering with Royal Family Kids’ Camps, and working as a Campaign Manager at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Lisa graduated from Southern Oregon University and then received her M.S. from the University of Utah, where she took an opportunity to intern at the Scottish Parliament just prior to the historic referendum.

Lisa Little

Director of Communications & Administration

Career Opportunities

The Alliance is seeking applicants for the following positions:

President

Board of Trustees

The Alliance Board of Directors is comprised of the Presidents from member institutions, business executives, and community leaders. The Board provides strategic guidance to the Alliance in its ongoing activities in advocacy, building meaningful relationships with industry partners, and providing support to member campuses.
COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS

Concordia University – Charles Schlimpert
Corban University – Sheldon Nord
George Fox University – Robin Baker
Lewis & Clark College – Wim Wiewel
Linfield College – Thomas Hellie
Marylhurst University – Melody Rose
Northwest Christian University – Joseph Womack
Oregon College of Art & Craft – Denise Mullen
Pacific Northwest College of Art – Don Tuski
Pacific University – Lesley Hallick
Reed College – John Kroger
University of Portland – Rev. Mark Poorman, C.S.C.
Warner Pacific University – Andrea Cook
Willamette University – Stephen Thorsett (vice chair)

BUSINESS & COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Carolyn Walker (board chair) – Stoel Rives LLP
David Lyon – Lonza Pharma & Biotech — Bend
Frank Burkhartsmeyer – NW Natural
Kristin Stathis – Portland General Electric
Mark Swenson (secretary/treasurer) – Shepherd’s Grain

“Although our colleges are individually quite diverse, the Alliance is entirely comprised of regionally-accredited, nonprofit institutions of higher learning. Each is founded on and guided by a mission imbued with these important social principles: Higher education is the key to ending poverty, fostering economic and social mobility; it builds community, preparing adults for lives of meaningful work and citizenship.”

– Thomas Hellie, President, Linfield College

Contact Us

15573 Bangy Road, Suite 320

Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035

503.342.0004 | info@oaicu.org