Clark College saw President Bob Knight off in style Thursday with an ode to the longtime leader’s tenure at the Vancouver campus.
Knight, 62, will retire this summer after 15 years at the community college, 13 as its president. The Board of Trustees is slated to hire an interim replacement for the 2019-2020 school year at its June 25 meeting.
Knight told The Columbian that he has “mixed emotions” about his departure but that he’s looking forward to traveling with his wife, Paula Knight, and spending more time with his grandchildren.
Still, “I’m going to be here to support this college,” he said.
“I’m going to do everything I can to help the next president be successful,” he added. “I’ve invested 15 years of my life in it, and I don’t want to let that go.”
Community leaders, students and family members crowded Gaiser Hall for a series of recognitions, poems and a healthy dose of corny humor. Tables were decorated with penguin figurines, and paper centerpieces featured quotes from community members about Knight’s accomplishments.
Clark College has grown significantly under Knight’s tenure, with more on the horizon at the college’s Boschma Farms campus in Ridgefield. Clark College has also opened new facilities and launched new degree programs in that time, including three bachelor’s of applied sciences degrees.
Associated Students of Clark College President Bryce Regian said he doesn’t recall a time when Knight wasn’t the president. He recounted attending classes with his mom when he was a child, playing in the campus fountain and watching Clark College grow under Knight’s tenure.
“I’ve been able to see firsthand how this community and this college impacts the people that have attended,” he said.
In describing Knight as a strong, steady leader, Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle announced that a Shumard oak tree would be planted in Esther Short Park in his honor.
“It will serve as an enduring, living testament to (Knight’s) commitment to building and inspiring a stronger Vancouver community,” McEnerny-Ogle read from the proclamation.
Then it was time for jokes — especially any excuse to tease Knight for his affinity for Scottish culture.
“We thought we would try to write a couple Scottish limericks for him,” she said.
Like this one:
“There once was a man named Bob,
who now will have a new job.
Paula, his wife, now controls his life,
but know you’ll be missed by this mob.”