At its annual retreat the OCCC Foundation Board of Directors welcomed five new members: Maryann Bozza, Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC); David Gomberg, State Representative for District 10; Gloria Ingle, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians Tribal Council; Dr. Lesley Ogden, CEO of Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital & Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital; and Andi Spirtos, fundraising professional. New members were approved by a unanimous email vote of established members. Billie Jo Smith, Mayor of Toledo and retired educator, is also new to the Board, having been voted in at the May Board meeting.
Established board members include: Chris Boyle, Board President and retired educator; Julie Hanrahan, Board Vice-President and VP/Branch Manager of Columbia Bank in Newport; Dr. David Bigelow, Board Treasurer; Sharon Beardsley, Board Secretary and retired educator; Nancy Osterlund, Board of Education Liaison and retired educator; Lance Beck, Director of Marketing at the Oregon Coast Aquarium; Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge, OCCC President; and Adam Springer, Attorney and Counselor at Law, Yaquina Law.
When asked why they serve, directors reflected on their own experiences with education and how it changed their lives. Many recalled the encouragement they received from parents and other loved ones. Ingle never forgot her father’s advice, “If you choose not to work with your mind, you will always work with your back.” She was the first in her family to graduate from college and firmly believes that, “learning is forever, not just for kids.”
Others spoke of the need for local access to higher education so that everyone with a desire to learn has the opportunity to succeed, and they see OCCC as a gateway. “We need training available in our community to help fill job vacancies,” said Mayor Smith. OCCC President Ryslinge commented, “Education is a path to opportunity and community colleges are a critical access point.” Representative Gomberg believes our youth are Oregon’s greatest asset and that, “Community colleges are critical for providing the tools and opportunities for our youth to thrive.” Bozza sees service on the OCCC Foundation Board as another great connection between Hatfield Marine Science Center and the College. She’s excited by the collaborative environment of Newport in general and especially in higher education, saying, “OCCC and Hatfield’s futures are intertwined.”
Regardless of their individual reasons for serving, everyone agreed that supporting affordable, local access to higher education helps make our community stronger.