I hope you have had a good week and are looking forward to the long weekend ahead. As we make plans for enjoying a small break, I hope you will also join me in honoring those in our military who have given their all to ensure our freedoms. Their valor and dedication deserve our utmost respect and thanks, and this holiday reminds us of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many in the military, as well as endured by their families.
On a different note, May is a joyful month because we are getting so close to being able to cheer on our students earning degrees and certificates. We are also getting close to wrapping up a year like no other — it’s a good time to reflect and look ahead. Here are some updates to share:
LBCC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
As you know, Javier Cervantes is moving on from LBCC and will be joining the GAPS school district as its new executive director of EDI. I’d like to take a moment to lend my voice to the many who have already expressed their appreciation to Javier for his wonderful work at LBCC. Because EDI is so central to our mission at the college, I’ll write with more details in a separate message next week about our plans going forward, including a national search for a replacement. That said, congratulations, Javier!
I have excellent news to share. It appears that our legislators have heard us when it comes to the critical importance of accessible higher education in Oregon: we believe a budget will be adopted that includes the $702 million allocation our 17 community colleges will need in order to maintain our current service level. This is tremendous news because it means our colleges will be able to continue serving students at a time when they need us the most, without the threat of the cuts we would have needed to consider had this not been realized. I want to thank all the staff, students and community members who spoke up and gave testimony to make sure our legislators were remembering us during these times. We’re also extremely hopeful that our $8M request for the LBCC Agriculture Center on Looney Lane will be funded.
On May 14th, we released the Fall Education Plan which outlines just how students will be able to return to campus for many classes, while still being able to access many classes online. I’d like to thank Dr. Ann Buchele for her leadership in crafting this plan, and especially all employees who will continue to serve students this fall. Now our task is to encourage all those students who may have been overwhelmed by the pandemic and chosen to drop out or take a break from college. If you know of a student in this position, please encourage them to return this fall. With the federal funding we are going to distribute directly to students this next academic year, support from the LBCC Foundation with new scholarships, and staff that is ready to bend over backwards to ensure students will not only be able to “make it work” but thrive, now is the time for students to enroll. Please spread the word!
Speaking of support, I would like to extend my personal thanks to all those who recently participated in the LBCC Foundation’s second annual Give Day. Because of you, we were able to almost double the fundraising total from last year -- and much more importantly, provide even more meaningful support to deserving students as a result. I enjoyed all of the fun and creative challenges that day, and loved experiencing the heart of a community who cares about empowering people to succeed. I also hear that one more fun video will be forthcoming in honor of our Give Day success - stay tuned :)
Recently, we held a very fun Zoom Retirement Reception gathering for our retirees who are leaving the college this summer. While it was not the same as an in-person celebration, I loved hearing the stories, listening to the resolutions, and feeling the spirit of collaboration and community. Congratulations to our retirees, and thank you for your service to our students.
I want to send a shout-out to Chef Josh Green and the LBCC Culinary team. Last night, my family enjoyed the French dinner prepared by the students. The carryout meal was very tasty and wonderfully-prepared. We are looking forward to attending this in person on campus next year!
Important reminders for June:
It may not be traditional, but it will be unforgettable! I hope you will plan to join with your colleagues to help our students celebrate “CARmencement”, our COVID-safe, drive-thru graduation ceremony taking place June 9th and 10th. I would love to see many LBCC faculty and staff taking time to join the “parade” route on campus and cheer on every single student who is marking this important milestone. Commencement is the best day to work in higher education, in my opinion, and I am glad we’re finding a creative way to honor our students and their families this year. Please join us and help show our grads that the pandemic has not dampened our pride in their accomplishments.
I am pleased to announce that “LB Night at the Knights” is back on June 19 as a fun gift to our graduating students and as a thank you to all the faculty and staff who supported them along the way. All are welcome to this night of Knights Baseball at Goss Stadium. Graduating students with ID can attend for free, and the LBCC Foundation will also be giving away many free tickets to staff. Rumor has it that I will be allowed to throw out the first pitch. I love baseball so much I may just see if they’ll let me play the whole game, but you’ll have to come out and see if I am drafted!
If you are like me and have kids at home that could use an opportunity to get out of the house this summer (!!!) I hope you have taken note of the recent announcement about LBCC FREE Summer Camps available this July. This slate of camps has been made possible through a generous partnership with the GAPS school district, which will cover the cost of all Linn and Benton County residents who want to attend. Big thanks to LBCC staff and faculty who quickly put together a really fun set of camp choices for middle schoolers and high schoolers. Please spread the word to your friends and neighbors.
This weekend, I am visiting relatives in Spokane. Now that my vaccines are completed, I am looking forward to hugging my parents for the first time in more than a year. Afterward, it’ll be 10 more days of sixth grade for Ella — and a break from school supervision for the rest of the house. Her teachers and the staff at Timber Ridge have been amazingly supportive this year, and I’m very grateful for that. I’m sure they are also anxious for the summer break, especially this year.
Thank you all for your work during a very busy May. Enjoy the long weekend.