As we begin the new year, the staff of Clark 24/7 wanted to take a moment to reflect on the year we just left. After much debate, we chose what we consider to be the top 10 stories of 2012 at Clark … plus a few that almost made the list. We present them here in chronological order. Looking back, it’s clear that 2012 was a year of big changes and landmark accomplishments, making us wonder: What will 2013 need to do to top this?
JAN. 19: Just moments before President Bob Knight’s annual State of the College address, a historic agreement was signed by representatives from Clark College, Clark College Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Washington to create a new scholarship program for Southwest Washington youth. Called Penguin Promise, it offers full scholarships at Clark College to select students who begin the program in eighth grade and fulfill the program’s rigorous standards for attendance and academic excellence.
JAN. 26 & SEPT. 28: The year saw two landmark events for Clark’s Music Department: In January, the Clark College Jazz Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary, while in September the Music Building was renamed the Beacock Music Hall after Clark alumnus and music professor Dale Beacock. Beacock, who helped bring the Jazz Festival to Clark during his time at the college, passed away in 2011 in a bicycle accident.
Jazz Fest: Read More | Photos | Video
Beacock Hall Dedication: Read More | Photos | Video | About Dale Beacock
Introducing the Iris Awards
MARCH 8: When the Women of Achievement awards ended in 2011, many in the Southwest Washington community mourned the loss of a way to recognize outstanding women in the community. Enter the Iris Awards, a new event presented by Clark College, the Clark College Foundation, and the Vancouver Business Journal. This year’s recipients were Lisa Nisenfeld, president of the Columbia River Economic Development Council; Sally Schaefer, a community leader and volunteer for more than 50 years; and Mary Strehlow, developmental disabilities manager for the Clark County Department of Community Services.
Read More | Photos
The Japanese Friendship Garden Opens
APRIL 19: This year’s annual Sakura celebration provided extra cause to celebrate as the college officially dedicated the Royce E. Pollard Japanese Friendship Garden on its main campus. The beautiful garden was a gift to the City of Vancouver from Dr. Chihiro Kanagawa, CEO of Shin-Etsu Chemical Company Ltd., which operates a subsidiary company in Vancouver.
Read More | Video | Photos | Slideshow
Sen. Patty Murray Hears Students Speak about Debt
MAY 3: Clark College students fought back tears as they told Sen. Patty Murray about their struggles to attain an education, despite personal and financial challenges. The senator was gathering testimony to use in a congressional debate on keeping the interest on student loans for low-income students at a manageable level—and, indeed, she shared the stories of Clark student Diane Robinson and Clark alumna Dora Hernandez’s stories with the Senate during her testimony. Sadly, the attempt to keep the interest rates low was defeated, making our students’ challenges all the more daunting in years to come.
Read More | Photos | Watch Sen. Murray’s Testimony
Dental Hygiene Receives Gift
JUNE 21: Clark College received the third-largest gift in its history when the Firstenburg Foundation donated $1.5 million to the college’s Dental Hygiene program. The gift will modernize and expand the program’s facilities, while providing new state-of-the-art equipment for the program.
A Stellar Commencement
JUNE 21: The 2012 Commencement ceremony was one for the record books, with largest group of students ever to participate. More than 1,700 students—as well as their friends and family—heard keynote speaker J.R. Martinez congratulate them on attaining an education. The U.S. military veteran and Dancing With the Stars champion even dipped a few graduates as they crossed the stage.
Read More | Photos | Video | Watch a Greeting from J.R. Martinez
Nursing’s Golden Anniversary
SEPT 15: Clark College Nursing capped its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration with a lecture by Kathleen Bartholomew, MN, RN. Clark’s Nursing Program graduated its first class of 15 students in 1962—today, the program graduates between 115 and 140 new nurses a year, many of whom provide quality care in healthcare institutions throughout Southwest Washington.
Read More | Clark Today Story on the Nursing Program
CCE Moves Downtown
SEPT. 24: Clark College Corporate & Continuing Education moved to a new facility in the West Coast Bank Building in the heart of downtown Vancouver. This move made CCE more accessible to the local business community, which depends on CCE to provide expert training in technical fields. CCE continues to also provide life-enhancing classes like cooking and yoga both at its downtown facility and at Clark College at Columbia Tech Center.
Diversity Center Opens
SEPT 25: Clark College took the next step toward fostering student success by opening a new Diversity Center where students can go to read, discuss, and get support on issues involving diversity. “The college is becoming increasingly diverse, and it’s important to have a physical space to process what that means,” said Special Advisor for Diversity and Equity Sirius Bonner at the opening.
Read More | Photos | Video
Honorable mentions: Hollis Watkins discusses civil rights; the Tuskegee Airmen visit Clark; Venus transits the Sun; Tibetan monks create a sand mandala in Cannell Library; Clark’s Running Start program enrolls a record number of students; the introduction of Clark’s new Athletic Hall of Fame.