Southern Oregon University’s newly formed Board of Trustees has elected officers, adopted bylaws and organized committees as it prepares to take over governance on July 1.

Board members Bill Thorndike of Medford and April Sevcik of Jacksonville were named chairman and vice-chairwoman, respectively.

Thorndike and Sevcik previously served together on the Asante Health Systems board and the Southern Oregon University Foundation and, according to Thorndike, “make a great team.”

Thorndike said that although he had once vowed never to be on a school board, the opportunity to serve on the university’s first governing board was "too good to pass up.”

The university currently is run by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, whose authority over the school sunsets June 30.

“We take over the keys to the car July 1,” said Thorndike, co-owner of Medford Fabrication.

In the meantime, board members have met to learn about university government, adopt bylaws and other organizational documents, hire a board secretary and do whatever else is needed "to hit the ground running,” said SOU spokesman Ryan Brown.

At a meeting on Friday, the board formed three committees: the Executive and Audit Committee, chaired by Thorndike; the Finance and Administration Committee, chaired by Paul Nicholson, executive director emeritus of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; and the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, chaired by Teresa Sayre, superintendent of the Phoenix-Talent School District.

“These are the three standing committees, but the board also has the liberty to create ad hoc committees as needed, “ Brown said.

Portland State University, Oregon State University and the University of Oregon established their institutional boards in July 2014, providing a framework for SOU’s board, Thorndike said.

The board has 14 members appointed by Gov. John Kitzhaber and approved by the state Senate. The board includes representation from across the state and includes an SOU faculty member, non-faculty staff member and student who will serve two- instead of four-year terms. SOU’s interim President Roy Saigo will hold the 15th seat as an ex-officio and nonvoting member.

 Reach reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.