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The 2014 World's Largest Swimming Lesson at WOU
The 2014 World's Largest Swimming Lesson at WOU
Western Oregon University hosts world's largest swim lesson (Photo) - 06/17/15
WHO: Western Oregon University (WOU) and The World's Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL)

WHAT: WOU is the only site in Oregon participating in WLSL this year. WLSL is an attempt to break an international Guinness World Record for largest swimming lesson, as well as an effort to spread the word that swimming lessons help prevent drowning among children. Drowning is the leading cause of unintended, injury related death of children aged 1 to 5. WLSL holds the current Guinness World Record, which stands at 36,564 participants representing 22 different countries. This free event is open to the public; all ages welcome and no pre-registration required.

WHERE: Wolverton Memorial Pool inside the Peter Courtney Health and Wellness Center Western Oregon University (345 Monmouth Ave. N. in Monmouth, Ore.). An online map is here: http://www2.wou.edu/pls/wou2/ucs.video_tour.p_main

WHEN: Thursday, June 18, 2015. The pool opens at 9:50 a.m. and the lesson begins at 10 a.m.

CONTACT: Melissa Bergeland, assistant director of programs at the Peter Courtney Health and Wellness Center; 503-838-8860 or bergelandm@wou.edu.
WOU names Health and Wellness Center in honor of Oregon State Senator Peter Courtney (Photo) - 06/13/15
Monmouth, Ore. - Western Oregon University has announced the renaming of its Health and Wellness Center to the Peter Courtney Health and Wellness Center in honor of Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, who worked at WOU for 30 years. WOU held a naming ceremony just before its Commencement ceremony, which had Courtney as its keynote speaker.

"Joining WOU a decade ago, Peter immediately advocated the need for new facilities that would serve the health of students' minds and bodies. His retirement from Western gives us the opportunity to honor him in a way that I believe is meaningful to his dedication to Western Oregon University and all Oregonians," said WOU president Mark Weiss. "Today's celebration was particularly meaningful through the attendance of both Governors Brown and Kulongoski, retired WOU president John Minahan, Dick Hughes of the Statesman Journal, and faculty and students participation."

The naming ceremony had remarks from Governor Kate Brown, former Governor Ted Kulongoski, WOU president Mark Weiss, former WOU President John Minahan, Dick Hughes of the Statesman Journal, WOU faculty Dr. Gay Timken, WOU student Evelyn Garcia, and the man of honor, Peter Courtney. In Courtney's remarks he commended the building's world-class facilities like the indoor running track, rock climbing wall and pool, adding, "this building is much more than that to me. This building is about health, it's about the mind, and it's about healing."

Announced at the naming ceremony was the creation of a scholarship endowment in Courtney's name. The Peter Courtney Legacy Scholarship Endowment will support WOU students' dreams of a college degree. It reinforces his dedication to the student experience and the value he places on an accessible, affordable public university education for all Oregonians. Gifts can be made at wou.edu/give.

Courtney joined WOU in 1984 as assistant to the president. Prior to his retirement in December 2014 he served as assistant to six presidents and held other roles including instructor of speech communication and Freshman Experience. He also chaired the Commencement Committee for approximately 20 years. His political career began in 1974 when he was elected to the Salem City Council. His public service career has blossomed and he is now serving a record setting seventh term as Senate President. At the conclusion of his current term he will be the longest sitting legislator in Oregon's history. Through both of these major roles in his life he has championed important issues like education and mental health in the state.

The Peter Courtney Health and Wellness Center opened in 2011 and earned gold certification from the United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program. The building features 80,000 square feet of academic, recreational and athletic space, which includes the Wolverton Memorial Pool, a two-court gymnasium, elevated indoor track, two racquetball courts, three multipurpose rooms, rock climbing wall, a 6,000 square foot strength, cardiovascular and weight training area, and more.

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About WOU
Western Oregon University (WOU), founded in 1856 and located in Monmouth, is Oregon's oldest public university. The university has received national recognition for excellence for its focus on student learning and success by the Education Trust, US. News and World Report, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, National Association of Academic Advisors, and Parade Magazine. In 2010 WOU was recognized by the Education Trust as being the top university in America at eliminating the Latino graduation gap. WOU is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.