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Clark College president: ‘Future is right now’

Annual address highlights projects, acknowledges contributions of supporters, benefactors

By , Columbian Education Reporter
Published: January 15, 2015, 4:00pm

Clark College state of the college

Enrollment: 12,013.

Running Start students: 1,971.

Presidential Coin of Excellence recipients

Clark College employees

Jim Watkins, capital programs project manager.

Audra Rowton, physical sciences senior secretary.

Izad Khormaee, computer science and engineering instructor.

Carolyn Johnson, career services program coordinator.

Sue Williams, director of human resources.

Karla Sylwester, dental hygiene instructor.

Other

John Deurwaarder, former instructor.

During a packed State of the College address Thursday in the Gaiser Student Center, Clark College President Bob Knight gave a nod to the past but spoke with feeling about the college’s future.

Knight paid homage to four longtime residents in the audience who have impacted the community.

Nodding toward Dan Ogden, 92, Knight said: “Dan is here without his partner. We lost Val last year.”

The Ogdens have been dedicated Clark College supporters. Val Ogden, a community leader and former state legislator, died April 9.

Knight gave one of his Presidential Coins of Excellence to John Deurwaarder, 99, a World War II veteran who taught graphic communication at Clark College for 20 years.

Knight thanked retired dairy farmers Hank and Bernice Boschma for their role in making possible Clark College at Boschma Farms, the long-awaited north county satellite campus. Late last spring, the nonprofit Clark College Foundation paid $5.67 million to the Boschma family for the 59-acre parcel in Ridgefield near Interstate 5. The Boschma family also made a $3.1 million land donation.

The Boschmas lived in Nazi-occupied Holland during World War II. Eventually, they immigrated to Ridgefield and began a dairy. Decades ago, both husband and wife took their American citizenship test at Clark College.

Acquiring land for the north county campus to be built on the former dairy farm is just one of many Clark College accomplishments in 2014.

“Over the year, we have seen many successes and we have seen many things that seemed like a dream or a far-off vision come to fruition,” Knight said.

Then he rattled off a list of accomplishments from the past year that included:

• The 70,000-square-foot science, technology, engineering and math building being constructed west of Fort Vancouver Way is planned to open fall 2016.

Clark College state of the college

Enrollment: 12,013.

Running Start students: 1,971.

• The Clark College Foundation surpassed its $20 million goal in its Ensuring a Bright Future capital campaign by raising $26,593,789.

• Last fall, Clark welcomed 200 international students, its largest number to date.

• This fall, Clark’s first bachelor’s degree program, in dental hygiene, begins.

• Clark College in the Gorge opened in Bingen in September. Its programs are geared for the aerospace industry. Insitu, a company that makes drones, is headquartered in Bingen.

“Those jobs — working with drones — didn’t exist 10 years ago,” Knight said.

He unveiled the college’s 2015-to-2020 strategic plan with core themes of academic excellence, social equity and environmental integrity.

“I am convinced the future is right now for Clark College,” Knight said.

Knight also presented six employees with presidential coins of excellence: Jim Watkins, capital programs project manager; Audra Rowton, physical sciences senior secretary; Izad Khormaee, computer science and engineering instructor; Carolyn Johnson, career services program coordinator; Sue Williams, director of human resources; and Karla Sylwester, dental hygiene instructor.

Presidential Coin of Excellence recipients

Clark College employees

Jim Watkins, capital programs project manager.

Audra Rowton, physical sciences senior secretary.

Izad Khormaee, computer science and engineering instructor.

Carolyn Johnson, career services program coordinator.

Sue Williams, director of human resources.

Karla Sylwester, dental hygiene instructor.

Other

John Deurwaarder, former instructor.

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