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Robert K. Knight was named president of Clark College in August 2007. He had been named interim president in September 2006 after serving as acting president of the college from July-September 2006.
Knight, who joined Clark College in 2004 as vice president of Administrative Services, is a first-generation college graduate. He received his undergraduate degree in engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned an Executive MBA at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He has done postgraduate work in Organizational Effectiveness at Chapman University in Fort Lewis, Washington.
Under Knight’s leadership, Clark is now the second largest community college in Washington state, serving up to 16,000 students each quarter. Clark has established co-admission agreements with Concordia University, Marylhurst University andPortland State University. The college also has a long-time partnership with Eastern Washington University, which provides degree programs on the Clark College campus.
In spring 2006, Clark College became the first 100% tobacco-free campus in the state of Washington and one of the first 100% tobacco-free campuses in the nation. During the 2008-2009 academic year, the college hosted an award-winning year-long celebration marking its 75th anniversary.
In 2009, the college successfully opened a new facility to serve the eastern portion of the college’s service district. Clark College at Columbia Tech Center (CTC), which earned LEED® gold certification, has exceeded enrollment projects since it opened. The college’s communications efforts related to the opening of CTC earned national recognition from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) and regional awards from the Portland Metro Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
In 2011, the college successfully opened phase one of its new Early Learning Center, the result of a public-private partnership. Planning is now underway for a new building on Clark’s main campus which will focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs as well as a new facility to serve the northern area of the college’s service district.
Knight’s partnership initiatives include strengthening the relationship between the college and the Clark College Foundation. The Foundation was named a winner of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) 2010 WealthEngine Awards for Educational Fundraising, which honors superior fundraising programs across the country.
Knight previously held positions as executive vice president for sales and service for a 200-member company in the dental industry and as corporate manager for real estate, responsible for $500,000,000 in real estate for Consolidated Freightways in the trucking industry.
Prior to his positions in private industry, Knight served more than 21 years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. His last duty in the Army was as Commander of Vancouver Barracks in Vancouver, Washington. His secondary training as an officer was as a comptroller.
Knight is active in the Southwest Washington community, serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) and the board of the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (SWWDC). He previously served on the boards of the Rotary Club of Vancouver, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington, and the Southwest Washington Chapter of the American Red Cross, where he served as chair. He was also a member of the military academy selection committee for former U.S. Congressman Brian Baird of Washington's third Congressional District.
As president, Knight is "committed to providing the best possible resources and environment for our faculty, staff, and administrators to support student learning and success. At Clark College, it’s all about the student."