Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed former Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard to a seat on the five-member Clark College Board of Trustees — a post Pollard said he is pleased to accept.
“I think we are fortunate in this community to have what I consider to be the finest community college in America,” Pollard said Thursday. “It’s an economic development driver. It improves our work force.”
The former mayor said his relationship with the college goes back to the days when he served as Army commander of Vancouver Barracks. “I took a course in Washington state history” to gain background on the state, he said, “and also so I could qualify to get a state teacher’s license. I got an A-plus.”
Pollard, 71, will finish the five-year term of John D. White, a development consultant who had to give up his position as trustee when he moved to Portland. His term will expire in 2011, at which time he will be eligible for appointment to a second and final term.
“I am pleased that Royce will be joining the Clark College Board of Trustees,” Gregoire said in a statement. “His passion for the community and his commitment to both education and veterans’ issues will serve the college well.”
Clark College President Bob Knight, like Pollard a former Vancouver Barracks commander, said Pollard has long been an advocate for the college.
“Royce knows the community well. We are a community college. What better person to help govern the college?” he said.
Pollard was instrumental in getting the new Japanese garden sited at Clark College and regularly attends State of the College addresses, he said.
One of the trustees’ primary responsibilities is adopting a budget. Knight predicted that Pollard “will be a very effective advocate” for adequate state funding, but, he added, “I don’t think anyone will be able to avoid future cuts.”
Pollard, who as mayor regularly traveled to Olympia to lobby for Vancouver’s interests, said he believes the state should allocate its limited funds based on “how productive an agency is.”
“I do know my goal would be that we not take a greater share of the pain than anyone else,” he said.
Enrollment at Clark College has skyrocketed during the recession and now stands at 16,000, the equivalent of 11,000 full-time students. Knight said he expects enrollment growth to start leveling off in the coming academic year.
Pollard said he was informed of the vacancy and told the governor he would be interested in serving. Since being defeated for re-election in November, he said he has turned down “a couple of opportunities” for civic involvement, but he does serve on the Southwest Washington Red Cross board of directors and continues to chair the grant-making committee of the Washington Historical Society.
“I’m as busy as I want to be,” he said.