As Clark College President Bob Knight addressed a large crowd during his annual State of the College address Jan. 15, he expressed that the college had seen many successes over the past year and had seen many things that seemed like a dream or a far off vision come to fruition.
“With so many things, I am convinced that the future is right now for Clark College,” Knight said.
Knight then went to name a few successes the college had seen this year, including:
• Starting the fall off by announcing the successful completion of the college’s capital campaign.
• Completing the purchase of land in Ridgefield for Clark College’s North Clark County campus, a project that has been years in the making.
• Being approved for its first bachelor’s degree program, the Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene.
• Globalization happening in the classrooms. This fall, Clark College passed 200 international students for the first time.
• Legislators passing the REAL Hope Act known as the Washington Dream Act. This Act allows low-income, non-citizen students that graduated from a Washington state high school access to the Washington State Need Grant. The Financial Aid Office at Clark has provided funding to 50 dreamers this year.
Knight said they are also seeing employers demand right now what was predicted, a highly technical workforce with technical skills and training.
Knight also told the audience the story of the Boschma family, whose generosity made the purchase of the land for the college’s North County campus possible. As immigrants to America, Hank and Bernice Boschma benefited from Clark College as each took a citizenship course in preparation for the national citizenship exam. Their daughter, Gerry, also attended Clark.
Knight took some time to acknowledge all of the employees at Clark College and their hard work and dedication.
“Whatever the future may hold for Clark College, the other thing that I know is that the employees that are here right now, and in our classrooms are among the best in our history and they have done outstanding things,” Knight said.
During his speech, Knight said he also wanted to look ahead and unveil the draft 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. The draft vision statement for the plan is, “Clark College inspires learners to excel, transforms lives and strengthens our increasingly diverse community.”
“Even as we work on the Strategic Plan for the next five years it is clear that we have not rested on our past accomplishments,” Knight said. “We have also not waited to see what is going to happen, but rather we have tried to lean into the future and create our own destiny.”