Southern Oregon University has awarded its 2009 President's Medal to Jed Meese, a philanthropist and entrepreneur.

Southern Oregon University has awarded its 2009 President's Medal to Jed Meese, a philanthropist and entrepreneur.

In making the presentation Thursday, SOU President Mary Cullinan cited Meese's generosity, enthusiasm, spirit and support for SOU and the Southern Oregon community. Meese's wife, Celia, was the medal recipient in 1998.

A former pharmacist and lifelong entrepreneur, Meese in 1972 co-founded Vitaline Corp., which developed and manufactured dietary supplements and medical food products sold to health care professionals. Now retired, Meese lives with his wife in Ashland, where they support many local causes.

The Meeses have been key supporters of many of SOU's major projects, including the Center for the Visual Arts, the Hannon Library and the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center in Medford. Meese is a longtime fan of Raider athletics and helped develop the sports fitness center at Raider stadium. He also served on the SOU President's Advisory Board for six years, participating on the Emergence in Science, Technology and Health Professions Committee.

Meese has contributed to or helped raise money for many causes, including the Ashland Family YMCA, Ashland Community Hospital, Rogue Community College, Rogue Valley Medical Center, Providence Medford Medical Center, La Clinica, the Britt Festivals, St. Vincent de Paul, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Hearts and Vines and the Humane Society of Southern Oregon.

Established in 1984, the Southern Oregon University President's Medal is given each year to a member whose exemplary service to the university, the region and the greater community represents qualities such as compassion, integrity and service.

Past winners include Sen. Debbs Potts, Florence and William Schneider, Sen. Lenn Hannon, Shirley and William Patton, Bill Thorndike Jr., Nancy Peterson, Joseph Cox, Sen. Mark Hatfield, Otto Frohnmayer and Paul Nicholson, among others.

— Staff reports