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Oregon Higher Education Oral Histories Collection, 2019

By Natalia Fernández

Collection Overview

Title: Oregon Higher Education Oral Histories Collection, 2019

ID: OH 046

Extent: 3.2 gigabytes. More info below.

Arrangement: Interviews are arranged alphabetically by institution and in chronological order by interview date.

Date Acquired: 00/00/2019

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Oregon Higher Education Oral Histories Collection contains the interviews of 17 individuals sharing the histories and their experiences of 6 community colleges in Oregon including Blue Mountain Community College, Central Oregon Community College, Chemeketa Community College, Lane Community College, Linn-Benton Community College, and Portland Community College. All of the interviews are available online.

Scope and Content Notes

The Oregon Higher Education Oral Histories Collection was created by the students of the winter 2019 Oregon State University course "AHE 638 History of Higher Education." The purpose of AHE 638 was to survey American higher education across 200-plus years of American history, with a specific emphasis on the American community college. The course instructor Lucy Arellano assigned an oral history project for students to conduct interviews with individuals associated with six of Oregon's community colleges.

The collection contains the interviews of 17 individuals. The interviewees share the histories, as well as their experiences, of 6 community colleges in Oregon including Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Central Oregon Community College in Bend, Chemeketa Community College in Salem with a campus in McMinnville, Lane Community College in Eugene, Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, and Portland Community College in Portland.

The interviews were conducted with the video conferencing software Zoom.

All of the interviews are available online.

Biographical / Historical Notes

17 interviewees representing 6 community colleges in Oregon.

Blue Mountain Community College

Tim Mabry ~ Mabry is an alumnus of Blue Mountain Community College and has served the college through several leadership positions. He served as the student body president in the 1971-1972 academic year. He was on the BMCC Board of Directors from 1978-1986 and Chair in 1981-82. He also served on the BMCC Foundation Board from 1998-2005. Mabry is a leader in the community having volunteered for many local organizations, including being elected Chair of the Oregon Community Foundation Board of Directors. At the time of the interview he was president and owner of Hermiston-based Credits, Incorporated, a family-owned business providing collections services to businesses throughout the Northwest.

Tammie Parker ~ Parker began working for Blue Mountain Community College in 1989 as the inventory clerk.  She has held several positions at the college during her thirty years, and at the time of the interview was the Vice President of Administrative Services where she oversees Human Resources, Information Technology, Facilities, and Business and Finance. She has a B.S. from Eastern Oregon University.

Camille Preus ~ At the time of the interview, Preus was the Executive Director of the Oregon Community College Association. Preus was the Blue Mountain Community College president for five and a half years from July 2013 – November 2018.

Central Oregon Community College

Jim Crowell ~ Crowell is a local Bend historian and was a student at Central Oregon Community college in the 1950s during some of the college’s earliest years. He returned to COCC as a faculty member where he served for a number of years before parting ways with the institution. Mr. Crowell has remained in Bend and after his retirement has maintained significant involvement with Central Oregon Community College including with the COCC foundation.

Shirley Metcalf ~ At the time of the interview, Metcalf was the current president of Central Oregon Community College. She became president in September of 2014. Prior to that she served as the Dean of Extended Learning and then the Vice President of Instruction at COCC.  Her time at Central Oregon Community College started in 2011. Dr. Metcalf will retire from COCC at the end of the 2019 school year.

Ron Paradis ~ Paradis has been the director of college relations for Central Oregon Community College since 1991. He has a deep understanding of Central Oregon Community College including his role in college relations and his general interest in the history of the institution. Through his role, Paradis maintains strong relationships with many alumni and former faculty and staff members.

Chemeketa Community College

Jim Eustrom ~ Eustrom is the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services and President of Chemeketa Community College’s Yamhill Community College. Eustrom has myriad responsibilities within his two roles, including the oversight of: academic progress and regional education services; career technical education; curriculum, instruction and accreditation; general education and transfer studies; strategic initiatives; and student development and learning resources. Eustrom earned his M.Ed. in College Student Services Administration from Oregon State University in 1986. He has worked in various capacities at Chemeketa Community College since 1986 (33 years at the time of this interview).

Jill Ward ~ Ward was hired at Chemeketa Community College in 1975 and worked in a variety of capacities, retiring in 2013. She has been asked to return several times on an interim basis for 6 months. Ward was an employee at Chemeketa Community College for 38 years.

Lane Community College

Jim Garcia ~ Garcia is a third generation Mexican American born in Corona, California. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1977. He has worked extensively in support of the migrant community, both as a teacher and as a community activist. He worked as Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Oregon, and as the Coordinator of the Casa Educational Office at Oregon State Universities. Garcia came to Lane Community College as Diversity Coordinator in 2000, and has served as the Chicano/Latino Student Program Coordinator since 2006.

Mark Harris ~ Harris was a public school counselor in Eugene and has been at Lane as the Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator since 1992. He is BASE President and Griot Pro Tempore.

Michael Sámano ~ Sámano (b.1964) is a Eugene native. After four years in the military, he attended Lane Community College, graduating in 1990, he completed a BA in sociology at the University of Oregon with a minor in ethnic studies. He attended Humboldt State University and the University of California, Davis, while completing a master of sociology. He holds a doctorate from the Oregon State University Community College Leadership Program. He has taught at Sacramento City College, California State University Sacramento, and at Portland Community College. Sámano returned to Lane as a member of the faculty in the fall of 1999 and serves as the coordinator of Ethnic Studies.

Linn-Benton Community College

Bob Ross ~ Ross was one of the very first full-time Biology faculty hired at Linn-Benton Community College. Although, he retired in 1998, he continues to teach there today (at the time of the interview). He donates his earnings to the Peace and Justice Institute. In his honor, LBCC offers the Bob Ross scholarship for students that are interested in the fields of Agriculture, Biology and Natural Resources.

Greg Hamann ~ At the time of the interview, Hamann started his 10th year at Linn-Benton Community College, and serves as LBCC president. Hamann has over 35 years of higher education experience, 19 with community colleges and 16 at private colleges. He earned his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Gonzaga University. He also earned degrees from the University of Minnesota -- a master's degree in Counseling Psychology and two bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Social Studies Education. He has also served many local and national boards, including being the Director and Executive Committee Chair for Finance and Audit at the American Association of Community Colleges.

Russell Tripp ~ Tripp was one of the first board members for Linn-Benton Community College, and he served for 12 years. He continues working in his real estate business that he has had for the past 63 years. In 2004, he raised funds to renovate the performance theatre at Linn Benton; it was later named the Russell Tripp Performance Center in his honor.

Portland Community College

Kendra Cawley ~ At the time of the interview, Cawley served as the Dean of Academic Affairs at Portland Community College. She has worked for Portland Community College for over 25 years serving in various roles including Dean of Curriculum and Support and Department Chair of Bioscience Technology. Cawley received her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry at Washington University St. Louis.

Craig Londraville ~ Londraville has been part of the Portland Community College community for over 26 years. He earned is Associate Degree from PCC in General Education and has worked as an Instructional Support Technician, Campus Resource and Network Supervisor, and at the time of the interview served as the Campus Technology Solution Manager.

Randall McEwen ~ After nearly 20 years of employment as a director of maintenance for the paper manufacturer Ft. James Corp, McEwen joined Portland Community College as the first as the director of Physical Plant. In this role, McEwen has oversight of maintaining and improving PCC facilities, buildings and grounds. McEwen served as the chair of PCC’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee and retired as the Vice President Administrative Services of Portland Community College. He graduated from Stanford University in 1970 with a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering.

Author: The Students of OSU's AHE 638 Winter 2019 Course

Administrative Information

Accruals: Additions to the collection are expected.

More Extent Information: 17 video files

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: Interview files were donated to SCARC by the interviewers' professor in winter term 2019.

Related Materials: Other oral history collections with information on the history of higher education, specifically Oregon State University history include Oregon State University Alumni Oral History Collection (OH 013), History of Oregon State University Oral Histories and Sound Recordings (OH 003), Voices of Oregon State University Oral History Collection (OH 009), and Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Collection (OH 026). Two related collections are the Dale P. Parnell Papers and the Western Center for Community College Development Records (RG 235). Parnell was instrumental in founding Lane Community College, serving as the College's first president from 1965 to 1968. The materials in RG 235 document the establishment, administration, and activities of the Center which was established at Oregon State University in 1991.

Preferred Citation: Oregon Higher Education Oral Histories Collection (OH 046), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

People, Places, and Topics

Community colleges--Oregon--Administration.
Community colleges--Oregon.
Education, Higher--Oregon.

Forms of Material

Oral histories (literary works)

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Blue Mountain Community College, 2019
The series contains 3 interviews.
Digital File 1: Tim Mabry, February 16, 2019
(00:38:25) Mabry explains his connections to Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) including attending BMCC as a student 1970-1972, serving as the student body President, being elected to Board of Directors for 8 years, and serving on the College Foundation, also for 8 years. He shares his understanding of the founding of the college: the local leaders wanted a local post-secondary educational intuition and the college was initially set up to support communities of Umatilla and Morrow Counties. He also shares that BMCC started as a vocational and technical school, and it officially opened July 1, 1962. Mabry shares more information about the BMCC’s history including that: there was no opposition to the establishment of the college, but there was to the location; the factors that have shaped the institution are primarily social which focused the college on providing programs that supported the local industries; and community engagement with the college was very good over the years. He explains that there were connections with the local tribes, but they were not formal in the early years. Mabry discusses the events that greatly influenced and shaped the college including the change, growth, and expansion of the college over time, in particular, expansions of other locations of the college. He reflects on the proudest moments of the BMCC, specifically the large number of graduates the college has each year, and he shares that he could not think of any failures. He expresses that the funding of the college started completely with local funds, there was no state funds, and that the first President, Wally McCrae, was important to getting the college established. He notes other important people to the college in the early years including Mike Kilian, Orie Elle, Bret Horn, Joe Green, and Russ Dorn. To conclude, he expresses that he expects that the BMCC will have a strong future based on its relationship with the community. [Interview is available online.]
Digital File 2: Camille Preus, February 21, 2019
(00:43:26) Preus was the Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) president for 5 ½ years from July 2013-November 2018. Preus describes the founding of the college with activity starting in 1959 to meet community needs, and she explains that there was no state funding available. The BMCC started with vocational training at the High School in Pendleton; the city of Pendleton was selected because it was the area with the largest population in Umatilla County. Preus explains that land came from the state and the land returns to the state if BMCC is closed. She shares that there was little to no opposition to the college opening as a community need was recognized, and the shift from vocational to transfer has been something that has changed the college overtime. She continues on to share more of the BMCC’s history including that the first president was hired from out of state, was focused on liberal arts, and hired faculty from out of state, which shifted some of program focus. She also expresses that even though Pendleton is a very rural community with a very white population, the BMCC also worked with the local indigenous population. She signed an MOU in 2016 with the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation. Preus explains that the BMCC mission has changed over time but she believes that one of the important aspects was access, and it is still important to the mission now. She shares that the college originally opened to support vocational and technical education, and that there were many Adult Basic Education courses, but the focus of the college has shifted toward more transfer programs over time. She shares that the ongoing success of the college and expansion to other areas in eastern Oregon has been important in shaping the institution overtime. She also shares that the BMCC has worked as part of the community, with examples including a radio program in the early years and the farm growing pumpkins at Halloween. Preus discusses the BMCC’s funding over the years: the college was historically funded through local property taxes, but that has shifted to put more costs on the state and with tuition. She explains that current support includes 25% property tax, 25% state support, and 50% tuition. Preus shares her expectations of the future of the BMCC, including the hope for a new president that will help them innovate for the future. [Interview is available online.]
Digital File 3: Tammie Parker, February 22, 2019
(00:29:22) Parker shares that she has worked at Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) for the last 30 years. She explains that the college was founded after the war, was started in the local high school, and that the location was selected on hill overlooking the city, specifically a large plot of land that would let the school expand. She also shares that there was no opposition to establishing the institution. Parker expresses that the very rural location shaped the intuition, as it was very isolated, and that the college’s focus was on local community needs and working closely with industry partners. She shares that BMCC developed an MOU with the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation, has worked on educational partnerships with the tribal community, and that there is a liaison between the Tribes and BMCC; the position is paid by both organizations. She shares that the BMCC also works with the large Hispanic population in Boardman; the college is considered a Hispanic Serving Institution. Parker expresses that the BMCC mission has not changed a lot overtime; she believes it started with a focus on community and students, and the current mission is similar. She explains that while the college has more transfer students than in the past, the vocational and technical pieces are still important to the community. Parker reflects on the successes of the college, including the ongoing growth and continued financial support of projects over the years. She also expresses that the college has only had six presidents since its founding, which she feels is a strength, showing the stability of the organization. Parker explains that while there have been shifts in finances over time, the BMCC has been successful. She explains that bond projects have been very successful, but over the years, the BMCC has had to increase tuition costs because of declining state funds. Parker shares that the college has a good future as it is innovative in its programs, uses lean processes to continually improve programs, and continues to work with the community to develop programs that meet new needs. [Interview is available online.]
Series 2: Central Oregon Community College, 2019
This series contains 3 interviews.
Digital File 1: James Crowell, February 8, 2019
(00:39:37) Crowell gives a detailed firsthand account of the student experience during the earliest years of Central Oregon Community College (COCC). He shares what it was like taking history courses as a college student in the same classroom he had one year earlier taken history as a high school student. Crowell explains many details regarding the original need for the college and the circumstances that led to its founding. Crowell also provides an account of Don Pence, the college’s first president, as well as the faculty and budget concerns that led to his resignation. Crowell shares his perspectives as a faculty member during this period of history and his thoughts on why and how the college grew to be what it is today. He speaks to the relative isolation of Bend and how the changing economy called for a college option close to home for Bend residents. [Interviewed by Leah Arambel and Eric Scott. Interview is available online.]
Digital File 2: Ron Paradis, February 8, 2019
(00:30:27) Paradis provides a deep examination of the circumstances, leaders, and community reactions surrounding the initial founding and subsequence development and expansion of Central Oregon Community College (COCC). He shares significant information about Don Pence, the college’s first president, including the success and growth the college experienced under his leadership and the difficult political circumstances surrounding his ultimate resignation from the institution. Paradis reflects upon many historical moments throughout the history of COCC and provides insight on how and why various decisions were made over the years. [Interviewed by Leah Arambel and Eric Scott. Interview is available online.]
Digital File 3: Shirley Metcalf, February 18, 2019
(00:33:31) Metcalf shares the general history of Central Oregon Community College (COCC). She provides context on more recent developments in the college’s history, including structural changes and how the college has responded to the introduction of Oregon State University’s Cascades Campus within the higher education environment in Bend. Metcalf shares her perspective on the development of COCC over time, expressing how the community, state, and national development of community colleges has shaped COCC, as well as the ways in which COCC has stood out as unique in that time. Metcalf further expresses her perspectives on the future of COCC and the particular nuances that will be important for her successor. [Interviewed by Leah Arambel and Eric Scott. Interview is available online.]
Series 3: Chemeketa Community College, 2019
This series contains 2 interviews.
Digital File 1: Jim Eustrom, February 6, 2019
(00:34:20) Eustrom shares the early history of Chemeketa Community College (CCC). He expands on the history by exploring his understanding of the early mission of the college, as well as the demographics, politics, cultures, and industries prevalent in and around the communities of Salem, Oregon. Eustrom then discusses the instructional mix, program offerings, and students currently served by the CCC. He describes several current financial programs designed to support students and how the programs have increased opportunities for the changing demographics of Chemeketa’s students. He explores various aspects of CCC’s engagement with its community over time, and reflects on the college’s emphasis on serving students “as they come.” Eustrom explains the shifting student demographics and the college’s attention on closing gaps in student attainment. He describes several events and individuals instrumental in the development and advancement of the college. Eustrom reflects on the role of the community in Chemeketa’s focus and direction past, present, and future. [Interviewed by David Larsen. Interview is available online.]
Digital File 2: Jill Ward, February 8, 2019
(00:40:32) Ward talks about the early history of Chemeketa Community College (CCC), specifically the history of the college’s early mission, course offerings, and instructional mix. She reflects on the early founders of the college, including Paul Wilmeth (the college’s first president), and the way President Wilmeth conducted himself in the role. Ward describes her recollections of political and economic factors that influenced the history and trajectory of Chemeketa. She discusses the college’s commitment to mission fulfillment and how it has changed over time to reflect the needs of the communities served by Chemeketa, as well as how fluctuations in available funding has influenced the college’s ability to support student success. Ward describes how the college was named and the college’s relationship with Native American (and other) communities. She also describes significant events that have shaped Chemeketa’s development and direction, including its emphasis on relationships and serving underrepresented student populations, local businesses and industry, and the communities. Ward discusses the successes of Chemeketa over its history, including details about key leaders of the college. She reflects on the culture of the CCC and its commitment to student success. [Interviewed by David Larsen. Interview is available online.]
Series 4: Lane Community College, 2019
The series contains 3 interviews.
Digital File 1: Jim Garcia, February 7, 2019
(00:36:40) Garcia discusses the legacy of a lack of diversity at Lane Community College, and the work done by Connie Mesquita in the 1980s to create connections with the Latino community. He describes work done by Lane’s Diversity Team in the 1990s, and their efforts to create a welcoming environment. Garcia shares his philosophy of “hidden stories,” and how we need to work to understand each person’s individual story rather than assuming we know what their story is. He describes how he uses this philosophy in diversity training, and how the culture of Lane has been changing. [Interviewed by Linda Crook and Phillip Mitchell. Interview is available online.]
Digital File 2: Mark Harris, February 7, 2019
(00:38:03) Harris describes the development of the Eugene Vocational School and how it connects to the history of racism in Eugene. He talks about Dr. William Powell, the longest serving Black employee at Lane, and the creation and destruction of Lane’s Ethnic Studies program in the early 1970s before its resurrection in 1999. He discusses the Black American Staff, Faculty and Employees (BASE) organization at Lane, and the BASE files, which document the history of racial tension at Lane. He describes the role of Affirmative Action Officer Donna Albro in bringing Lane’s hiring practices into federal compliance. He talks about the advantages of hiring more diverse employees, and not just as it relates to race; he suggests “HBCUs for White people.” [Interviewed by Linda Crook and Phillip Mitchell. Interview is available online.]
Digital File 3: Michael Sámano, February 13, 2019
(00:21:15) Sámano begins with an overview of his affiliations with Lane, mentioning his family’s involvement at Lane since 1962. He discusses the relation between Career/Technical Education and the transfer program at Lane, going back to Lane’s history as the Eugene Vocational School. He provides a timeline of the history of Ethnic Studies at Lane, from its early founding to its elimination in the mid-1970s, to its recreation with his return to Lane in 1999, including the contributions made by Connie Mesquita and Dr. William Powell. He discusses the changing culture of diversity at Lane. [Interviewed by Linda Crook and Phillip Mitchell. Interview is available online.]
Series 5: Linn-Benton Community College, 2019
The series contains 3 interviews.
Digital File 1: Russell Tripp, February 13, 2019
(00:19:47) Tripp shares some of the historical context and shaping of the Linn-Benton Community College; he was the first board member for the college. He explains how the local Chamber of Commerce played a vital role in making the college a reality. As part of the development of the college, Tripp explains the funding and collaborative work they had to do with the state. Russell briefly shares how they engaged with the local communities and how they selected the sites for the college. He further explains how Linn-Benton was first created with the idea of being a trade school with political influences but how it has now blossomed into a more robust and well-rounded institution. He expresses that for the future he would want to see new ideas in order to reshape the learning experience. Finally, he shares how the college enrollment has had a correlation with the local industry and economics. [Interviewed by Christina Horst and José Rocha. Interview is available online.]
Digital File 2: Greg Hamann, February 14, 2019
(00:28:20) Hamann speaks on the changes at Linn-Benton Community College; he shares some of the changes the college has experienced in the past 10 years since he has been there. Most recently, with the adjustments in Guided Pathways and how that will naturally shift the campus culture from student interested to student centered. In addition, he shares some of the economic reality and the impact on communities. Hamann continues by sharing the political diversity between two counties and the different sides of the spectrum in their views and decisions. With his leadership, he brings together a group of LBCC members of the campus community to shape the Wild Thinkers Forum, or WTF. The group came together to create the campus mission statement. He also shares the campus funding model. To conclude, he shares his vision for the campus and the needed change in our educational system. [Interviewed by Christina Horst and José Rocha. Interview is available online.]
Digital File 3: Bob Ross, February 14, 2019
(00:44:21) Ross discusses his experiences as the first full time faculty member for Linn-Benton Community College and some of the growth he has seen over the decades. He explains how uncertain things were when the college first opened. He provides examples of some of the challenges such as how many books to order, how many microscopes they would need, and where his courses would be held. He speaks on the evolution of teaching and how the classroom experience has changed from chalkboards to using technology as a learning tools. He also shares his thoughts on how students would interact with each other during classroom breaks. He speaks about how they would all gather outside, smoke cigarettes, and converse. Today, he said when students take a break, they go outside and all sit on their phones without speaking to anyone near them. He closes out his interview with how as a teacher, 50 years later, he is still learning new things every day and is still on a quest for social justice and equality. [Interviewed by Christina Horst and José Rocha. Interview is available online.]
Series 6: Portland Community College, 2019
This series contains 3 interviews.
Digital File 1: Kendra Cawley, February 14, 2019
(00:43:38) Cawley reflects on her over two decades at Portland Community College and emphasizes the college’s mission in serving students, supporting student success, and providing economic stability and support to the local and surrounding community. She shares her experience having the opportunity to start a department and program that ultimately was closed and then had the opportunity to start the program again. The importance of diversity within the campus community was highlighted and she explains how this has shaped the programs offered by the college. One example of how the college has responded to the needs of the diverse community it serves is the creation of English as a Second Language programs across the system in order to provide critical and essential skills to the community. This, according to Cawley, is reflective of the college’s ability to be flexible and nimble in order to respond to the current needs of the students and the community. [Interviewed by Arlyn Palomo and Anthony Garrison. Interview available online.]
Digital File 2: Craig Londraville, February 14, 2019
(00:24:18) Londraville describes the various student services that the Portland Community College (PCC) Rock Creek campus offers; services including an undocumented student center, a queer resource center, a center for student parents, veteran services, a number of student organizations, and an active student government. He talks about the value of the community and the emphasis that the faculty, staff, and students place on finding connection and creating an environment that is warm and welcoming. One example Londraville describes is that instead of building across the over 250-acre site on the Rock Creek campus, the PCC has worked to keep the campus buildings central and close by each other to create a sense of community. He expresses that this has also has allowed the Rock Creek campus to renovate and renew buildings in an effort to be sustainable. Londraville expresses his that he knows he has done well in his position if students are supported in reaching their goals. [Interviewed by Arlyn Palomo and Anthony Garrison. Interview is available online.]
Digital File 3: Randall McEwen, February 14, 2019
(00:35:19) McEwen shares his knowledge of Portland Community College (PCC) in his role as a senior administrator within the system. As director of the Physical Plant and later Vice President for Administrative Services, McEwen explains that he was responsible for the college’s maintenance, capital design and construction, utility services, and a $15 million budget. He talks about the many successes of the PCC, such as the multimillion-dollar bond projects that allowed for the college to expand and provide new facilities to support the growth of programs ranging from veterinarian tech, to other vocational programs, to programs that support the local community, such as language courses. McEwen also talks about the challenges that the PCC faced in working with campus architects, the community, as well as local and state government officials. He expresses that it was through these challenges that the college learned the most and was able to deepen it connection to the community. [Interviewed by Arlyn Palomo and Anthony Garrison. Interview is available online.]

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