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50 Years Of Growth

On Thursday May 14th, Central Oregon Community College celebrated

the school’s 50th anniversary. All day around campus different departments
organized events and presentations that were open in the evening. The event
had sections depicting the humble beginnings of the school that were created
by students and faculty. At the Robert E. Barber Library photographs
depicting the different presidents throughout history were accompanied by
their own personal biographies. Along with that, the library staff showed
the community members and student families the history of how the Robert
E. Barber Library came to be; from the design, to the construction, to the
grand opening.
At the Science Center, engineering students put on a display of remote
control robots and a self contained greenhouse.
However, the biggest event of the night took place at the Campus Center,
there the First Nation students had traditional dancing and clubs like the
Multicultural center, Central Oregon Psychology Enthusiast, and Associated
Students of Central Oregon Community College had activities and food for
visiting student families and community members.
At 5:45 pm President Shirley Metcalf addressed the crowd and
thanked everyone for being there. She also addressed the previous four
COCC presidents who attended the event and thanked everyone for their
service to the school and the community. Afterward, Jim Weaver, Executive
Director of the COCC foundation took to the audience to talk
about Bob and Joyce Coats who were being honored for their legacy at
COCC and would have their name added to the Campus Center, making
it the Coats Campus Center.
“I could not be more honored and pleased to be speaking to you for
so many reasons. I had the absolute pleasure to have been friends with
Joyce Coats for seven years and through that experience I came to honor
so much what she and her husband made possible.” Weaver said addressing
the attendees. “Bob was one of the first Central Oregon Community
College foundation trustees in serving around 1950. Both he and
his wife were a couple that really wanted higher education to happen for
their children and their community. They recognized that at Bend High
School [where the COCC was located at the time] was not serving the
Weaver expressed the Coats’ commitment to education
and that by the 1960s the couple had acquired a great deal of
land in the city of Bend.
“The way Joyce put it was that an Iowa farm boy could not
have too much land.” Weaver said.
And so in the late 1960’s Bob and Joyce Coats approached
Don Pence, who was then the current president of COCC and
offered to donate 80 acres of Awbrey Butte he owned, land
that today has become the core of COCC, where the campus
center, the Barber Library and the Health careers center are
“Not only did Bob and Joyce Coats offer the land, Bob offered
to be directly responsible in working with the college in
development and eventually the school received an additional
70 acres.”
Weaver recognized to the crowd of attendees that patriotism,
love of family, appreciation for education, and vision
where elements that came together in Bob and Joyce Coats
and that thanks to their deeply generosity they have helped
change the lives of tens of thousands of people in the form of
students, faculty, and administrators.
Bob and Joyce Coats have passed away. However 30
members of their family were present at the anniversary
event to pay homage to the couple and receive the honor on
behalf of Bob and Joyce Coats. Among them, was Annette
Coats, oldest daughter of Bob and Joyce, she spoke of the
hard work and commitment that characterized her father,
and the drive and love from their mother.
“Both my mother and my father knew that education
was really important.” Coats said, “She [Joyce] frequently
would tell me that an education was something that no one
could ever take away from you. Once you had it, you had
it. You could lose your house, lose your car, but you could
never lose your education.”
Both Annette and her younger sister Linda attended
COCC, with Linda receiving her nursing degree from the
school. Annette praised COCC’s commitment to students,
specially its adult demographic by saying that COCC offers
the change for adults to “change their job, change their
career by attending a college and still be home at night with
their kids” and she stresses that that would be something
her father would be proud off. Coats finished addressing
the attendees by speaking on behalf of her late mother and
“One other thing I’d like to touch on is to thank Dr. Metcalf,
the board of directors and Jim Weaver who have been
all so very wonderful, because although my parents were the
kind of people who could care less about having a building
named after them, it means so much to my family and me that
this has happened. They’re gone [Bob and Joyce], but the legacy
they left behind, the message that it sent to the rest of my
family, it’s the best thing that could ever happen,” said Coats.
With that Jim Weaver thanked every member of the Coats
family and made the announcement that from the point on,
in memory of Bob and Joyce Coats, the COCC campus center
would be called the “Coats Campus Center,” to honor the
legacy of the late couple.
“Central Oregonians and COCC today say thank you, out
of all the buildings on campus who might be named after Bob
and Joyce Coats, there is no more appropriate one then the
Campus Center and for it to now and forever more be made
in to the Coats Campus Center,” Weaver said. “Bob and Joyce
have passed on, but their legacy continues today and their
legacy will continue in the lives of their kids and of everyone
who attends COCC in the future.”


Brayan Gonzalez | The Broadside



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