CLARK COLLEGE AT 75:
FOCUSED ON A BRIGHT FUTURE
Clark College President Bob Knight receives congratulations from Clark College Foundation President & CEO Lisa Gibert following the 2009 State of the College address.
With a nod to the past, the 2009 State of the College address focused on the vision of a bright future for Clark College.
President Robert K. Knight reflected on the challenges faced by the college’s founders. On the day before classes were to begin in 1933, faculty members held a meeting. “Imagine what that discussion must have been like,” Knight said. “The nation was in the midst of the Great Depression – some of the toughest times that our country has ever seen.”
|Above left: Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard (left) and Clark College Trustee Jack Burkman were among the community representatives in attendance. Above right (left to right): Clark College’s Director for Equity and Diversity Leann Johnson, Dean of Enrollment Services Alex Montoya, and Plant Services Director Jim Green at the State of the College address on Jan. 15, 2009.|
According to historical records, faculty members questioned whether the college should open. “But jobs were scarce – especially teaching jobs,” Knight said. “And one student had signed up on the first day of registration and paid his tuition in full. That support – that belief in a bright future for the little junior college – carried the day.”
Knight noted that Clark College began in one building, the Hidden House, in downtown Vancouver with half a dozen faculty members and fewer than 20 students. Today, the college welcomes more than 13,000 students each quarter on the college’s main campus, at Clark College at Town Plaza, and at Clark College at WSU Vancouver. They are taught by nearly 600 full-time and part-time faculty members.
But, Knight noted, “One important thing hasn’t changed. We are still your community college.”
|Above left: Retired Clark College public relations director Bob Moser and Vice President of Instruction Dr. Rassoul Dastmozd attended the 2009 State of the College address. Above right: Clark College President Bob Knight (left) focused on student success during the 2009 State of the College address. Associated Students of Clark College President Patrick Mehigan introduced Knight at the event.|
Knight highlighted accomplishments from the past year including the college’s visit by the accreditation team from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Accreditation demonstrates that colleges and universities have been recognized for their performance, integrity and quality.
Knight also shared highlights from the college’s 75th anniversary celebration including video greetings from Gov. Chris Gregoire, Washington 3rd District Rep. Brian Baird and Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard.
|Disability Support Services Manager Tami Jacobs was among one of four faculty and staff members who received presidential coins for their service to students and the college. The additional honorees were: Mathematics Professor Paul Casillas, Assistant Financial Aid Director Nancy Heidrick, and Grounds Manager Skip Jimerson.|
Knight said, “As we observe our 75th anniversary, it’s ironic that we find ourselves again in tough economic times – the most challenging since the college was founded.” During the first six months of the 2008-2009 fiscal year, the college distributed more than $25 million dollars in financial aid to nearly 5,000 Clark students – more than the college distributed during all of the 2007-2008 fiscal year.
But, Knight added, “Tough times eventually pass. And our anniversary provides an important reminder that we need to stay focused on our students and continue to build for the future.” That future includes a Running Start program that is now the largest in the state. It also includes online, weekend, and two-day per week associate degree options as well as the opening of Clark College at Columbia Tech Center in fall 2009.
Oswald makes his contribution to the food drive benefiting Share Vancouver held in conjunction with the 2009 State of the College address.
“A lot has changed since we were founded in 1933, but the mission of Clark College has not,” he said. “Our founders brought higher education to Southwest Washington. They opened a college at a time when few believed it could be done. They focused on success for each and every student. They believed passionately in a bright future for Clark College. So do I.”
|Clark College President Bob Knight and staff members at Clark College at Town Plaza join in a college-wide celebration to mark the State of the College. A similar celebration was held at Clark College at WSU Vancouver.|
News coverage of the 2009 State of the College address includes the following: