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Clark College President Bob Knight delivers the 2008 State of the College address
It’s all about the student. That was the theme of the 2008 State of the College address by Clark College President Robert K. Knight.

Addressing a standing-room-only crowd in the Gaiser Student Center, Knight outlined highlights of the upcoming year in support of student success.

Those highlights include the March graduation of Clark’s first class of medical radiography students as well classroom slots for more students in nursing, welding, science, technology, engineering and math.  

Knight noted that the college has also received an Opportunity Grant that will provide $188,000 for tuition, books and supplies for low-income students who are pursuing high-demand career pathways.

Student Erik Burch, who graduated from Clark with a degree in electronics technology and is now studying in the college's music department, sang the National Anthem at the State of the College event.  Burch was deployed to Iraq in 2004 with the Washington Army National Guard.  He will return to Iraq this summer.
Wayfinding, Construction and Expansion

In 2008, Knight said, the college will continue its wayfinding project to help students and visitors access the college more easily.

Phase one included new parking and building signs throughout the main campus. Phase two will include new signs at the major entrances to the main campus.

Renovations are nearly complete at the O’Connell Sports Center and central Gaiser Hall, with O’Connell scheduled to reopen during winter quarter and Gaiser Hall scheduled to reopen to students for the start of spring quarter.

Knight noted that construction is underway at Clark College at Columbia Tech Center. The $27 million facility, located at 18700 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. in Vancouver, is scheduled to open in fall of 2009.

Knight told the audience that planning is underway for a new college facility at the corner of Fort Vancouver Way and Fourth Plain Blvd.  He added that the presidents of Washington’s community colleges, through their Capital Budget Committee, have given the college top marks for an additional growth project to meet the demand for higher education in Southwest Washington.

Vancouver City Council member Larry Smith (left) and Mayor Royce Pollard were among those on hand for the 2008 State of the College celebration.

October 2008: A month to remember

Two major events will take place in October 2008: the college’s 10-year accreditation visit by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and the opening celebration of Clark College 75th anniversary logothe college’s 75th anniversary.

Knight said, “Accreditation tells your students – and the world – that you meet the highest professional standards. Clark College was founded as a private, two-year junior college in 1933. Just three years later, we received our first accreditation, based on a visit by five professors from the University of Washington.”

He added, “In 1948, the college received accreditation from the Northwest Association of Colleges and Universities. We have maintained that professional standing ever since.”

Knight unveiled the theme for the college’s 75th anniversary celebration: “Preserve the past, honor the present and embrace the future.” He noted that an honorary steering committee has been established and that a planning committee is formulating plans for a year of events to mark the college’s diamond jubilee.

Healthy Penguin Nation logoHealthy Penguin Nation

During the State of the College, Knight announced The Next Step in the college’s health and wellness efforts: the Healthy Penguin Nation initiative.

Under the program, students, faculty and staff can earn Penguin Points, an incentive-based program to live well physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, intellectually and environmentally.


Clark President Bob Knight and Oswald lead the first official walk on the college's Penguin Paths.  Participants read their Penguin Path maps
Above left:  Clark President Bob Knight and Oswald lead the first official walk on the college's Penguin Paths.  Above right:  reading their Penguin Path maps.

Noting that he wanted to “walk the talk,” the president led a group of 60-70 students, faculty members and staff on new “Penguin Paths” across the main campus immediately following the address.

Knight then visited students and staff at both Clark College at Town Plaza and Clark College at Columbia Tech Center as part of the 2008 State of the College celebration.

A Student Perspective

Clark President Bob Knight welcomes the men's soccer team, regional NWAACC championsTo underscore the theme of the event, the State of the College program honored the college’s 2007 men’s soccer team, which won the regional Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) championship.  

The soccer team surprised President Knight by presenting him with a framed photo of the team taken just after they won the regional championship.  The display contains the names of the team members and coaches and was autographed by each of them. 

President Knight receives display from men's soccer teamStudent Shawn McCready, who scored the winning goal in the championship game, told the audience about Knight’s support for the team throughout the season. 

McCready said, “A good friend of mine once told me that there is no other feeling greater than that of being a champion.  President Knight was part of our team and we would like to make sure he feels like a champion along with the rest of us.”

The event also featured video clips of Clark students sharing their thoughts on student success and why they “love Clark College.”  In her video segment, student Cozette Tyler, who is studying political science, described her efforts to attend college coming from what she termed a low-income background where higher education “seems to be something that you often think is out of your reach.” 

Tyler said, “The wonderful thing about Clark College and its faculty and staff is that they bring that to your reach -- with a sense of commitment to the student. That is a welcoming open door. That has allowed me to feel as if not only do I belong, but that I am a part of something that belongs in our community.”

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