This September marks two important milestones for COCC. The first is the opening of the Redmond Technology Education Center. Our fourth building on the Redmond Campus, this state-of-the-art facility will house new programs, expand our capacity and allow us to increase our offerings, and provide an important focal point for the greater Central Oregon community in our effort to attract new businesses and industries to the region.
The second milestone is an historic one. On Sunday, Sept. 28 – the day prior to the first day of classes on all of our campuses – we celebrate an anniversary, our 50th anniversary of the opening on the campus in Bend. This campus – and all of our campuses – are a great testament of the tremendous support this community has shown to our community college.
While COCC was originally established in 1949 as part of the Bend School District, it was an overwhelming vote of support from throughout Central Oregon that established COCC as the community college for our entire region. And it was another vote that allowed for the building of the five buildings which formed the original campus, on land donated to COCC (mostly from Robert L. and Joyce Coats). That support has continued through the years with several bond measures allowing for the continued growth and expansion of COCC. As I noted above, most of the land for the Bend Campus was donated to COCC, and additional donations of land by the City of Redmond, Crook County and the Bean Foundation of Madras have allowed us to expand with additional campuses.
I am honored to serve as interim president this year, bridging the gap between President Middleton’s tenure and the arrival a new president next fall. The search for the new president will be an important undertaking this year by our locally elected Board of Directors, with the assistance of a Presidential Search Advisory Committee made up of faculty, staff, students and community members. Justin Warren is the student representative on that important Committee.
Internally, our major focus this year will be on Student Success initiatives. Our aim is to assist every student in achieving your personal and educational goals. We will be continuing our work on important initiatives implemented previously and starting others that we believe will be of tremendous assistance to our students.
I certainly hope you, the students, are as excited as I am about the beginning of this school year. Whether you are new this year or returning and moving closer to your goal, if you are taking classes in Bend, Redmond, Madras or Prineville; if you are working in one of our career and technical programs or planning to transfer to OSU-Cascades of another four-year university; if you are in or just out of high school or a returning student in your 30s, 40s, 50s or older — we are here to help. Please, though, be sure to ask for any help you need. Check in with any of the faculty members or staff anywhere on campus. We will be happy to do what we can to assure your success.
As I said at the beginning, this will be a great year at COCC. Best of luck to all of you!
Dr. Shirley I. Metcalf | Interim President, COCC