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News Archive, 2006-2009

College begins work on Kiser Garden site

Kiser Garden siteThe Outdoor Classroom/Park
The buildings are down, the land is cleared, and now begins the process of creating the Rufus Kiser Native Garden and the outdoor learning lab site. The new college project is the southern half of the block across Walnut Street from Washington Hall, west of Washington Avenue. The Kiser Garden is pegged to be a long-term project and will take place in stages as funding becomes available. A long-term goal includes an interpretive center somewhere on the property, but during the early development stages you can expect the native plant collection, local shrubs, and indigenous trees to be labeled for easy identification and botany study.

During the first two weeks of December a work crew was on the college campus to demolish four houses owned by the college that were on the garden site. The portion of China Creek that runs through the block, north of the alley, could be incorporated into the garden. The Kiser Garden will include both annual and perennial vascular plants and flowers in the future, always favorites of the garden’s esteemed namesake. The collection will be developed and periodically expanded by the college's science faculty.

The Kiser Garden originally located near Kemp Hall, east of the current location, had to be moved to make room for the Science Center. The garden is part of the college's 20-year master plan. Rufus Kiser, for whom the garden is named, came to Centralia College in 1941 as a zoology and physical science instructor. By the time he retired in 1973, "Rufe" had taught nearly every phase of science, but was best-known for his popular and important forestry classes. During his tenure, hundreds of foresters, forest technicians, and others employed during the heyday of Lewis County logging could be counted among his former students.

Kiser was a beloved member of the early faculty and was—unknown to many—a world-class track star. He once qualified for a U.S. Olympics berth, but circumstances prevented him from taking part. As the Centralia Junior College track coach, along with field events coach George Rowswell and sprint coach Roland Dickie, Kiser's track teams were formidable. A Life Scout in the BSA, Kiser devoted much of his time to regional scouting, hosting dozens of troops and Cub Scout packs at the family's home on North Washington Avenue, across from Edison School.

Providence Centralia Hospital donates to College Foundation

Providence donationProvidence Centralia Hospital announced a $50,000 contribution to the Centralia College Foundation capital campaign and a $50,000 donation supporting nursing education at Centralia College.

"We believe this is an investment in the future of this community," said Providence Centralia Hospital Chief Executive Cindy Mayo. Mayo and Providence Southwest Washington Chief Executive Medrice Coluccio each started their careers in health care as nurses.

The $50,000 for the capital campaign will help purchase materials for the college's new Science Center, which houses the Registered and Licensed Practical nursing programs. The gift sets the stage for a yet-to-be identified naming opportunity for Providence Centralia, according to Steve Ward, vice president for Finance and Administration at the college and executive director of the foundation.

The other $50,000 will be placed in an account in the Providence Centralia Foundation to fund scholarships for Centralia College nursing students. The Sister Carolyn Koreski Nursing Scholarship Fund, named for long-time Providence Centralia sponsor Sister Carolyn Koreski, will be established. "We are pleased and honored to have the level of cooperation that exists between the college and Providence and the contribution by Providence is fantastic," said Nola Ormrod, who leads the college's nursing programs.

The hospital and college have had tremendous success working together since the college began its LPN program in the mid-1950s. Nearly 1500 students have trained at the college since the inception of the nursing program and hundreds have worked at the hospital during clinical rotations. Centralia College was among the first two-year colleges in the state to open an LPN program.

Since 2003, when the college added the RN program, about 50 RNs have been hired into residency programs and represent about 20 percent of the nurses currently working at Providence Centralia. The Centralia College Foundation is in the midst of a campaign to raise $3 million to purchase equipment and other resources that cannot be purchased using state money. To date, the foundation has raised more than $2 million toward its goal.

Social media expert speaks on college campus

Clay Loges, a legend among modern American business leaders, will share his successful philosophy and practices with local businesses. You won't want to miss the opportunity to hear this giant among American business leaders on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m., in the new Science Center, Room 121.

Loges, international business leader and founder of the business that grew into Jiffy Lube, will bring you up to speed on the growing world of social media marketing. He will demonstrate how to tap into the burgeoning tools of social media to reach potential customers and increase customer base. Loges will open your eyes and your business to a world that can grow your business by reaching new customers and current customers in new ways. He has a proven track record that demonstrates the power of his techniques. The event is open to the public and is offered without charge thanks to the Centralia College Foundation.

Loges began his business career with IBM. He quickly discovered his talents lay in business conception and entrepreneurship and set out on his own. Since then, he's been a one-man wakeup crew for cutting-edge business concepts. He founded a chain pioneering in quick-service car care in the Puget Sound area, and soon expanded to California under the banner of Speedi-Lube that grew into the franchise chain you know as Jiffy Lube, the nation's leader in the market.

Today, Loges counts among his enterprises the Yodio brand—short for "your audio"—a web-based service that allows people to record and match voice comments and other rich audio to their digital photos. The concept has proven to be a big winner among social media users. For more information, call the Centralia College Foundation at 736-9391, ext. 290.

Budget cuts put stress on college

Looking for opportunity pretty much sums it up for a growing number of prospective college students given the current economic conditions. With Centralia College enrollment continuing to set records, it's apparent where people are directing their search.

Dr. Jim Walton, president of Centralia College, said that even as the number of students coming to college puts stress on college resources, "we will maintain our commitment to accept every student." The stress comes in the form of a state-mandated $1.1 million cut that began this college year and the portent of additional cuts that could reach more that $700,000 for the year that begins July 1, 2010. Whether that loss of state support happens will depend on state economic conditions and the state Legislature's response.

The college has experienced record enrollments over each of the past five quarters and is looking at a 35 percent jump in the number of students this winter quarter compared to winter quarter last year. Last year the college served nearly 4,700 students equating to 2,382 full-time students. Centralia College is funded for and authorized by the state to enroll 2,260.

The growth in student enrollments is felt acutely in the Workforce Education arm of the college where staff is hard pressed to find space for all students seeking professional-technical training. Welding and diesel classes, for example, are operating a capacity and the college had to add welding equipment to provide stations for all students. Part of the problem the college faces is finding the money to pay for those stations, needed to accommodate the enrollment growth.

"We are doing it but it is a challenge," said Walton. "We are holding to our commitment that even with declining state support we will continue to accept everyone who wants to come to college. We won't compromise the quality of the education we provide." It is advised that those anticipating taking winter quarter classes to register as soon as possible to make sure they can get the classes they want or need.

Walton said the college will work on scenarios dealing with a possible cut of another three-quarters of a million dollars but is hoping that the additional reduction won’t materialize. "Dealing with the cuts up to this point has not been without pain," said Walton. "We are providing a necessary service to our community and for the region's economic recovery. We certainly want to continue doing that."

Not only does unemployment booster enrollment at Centralia College, the tuition increases at the four-year schools have also contributed. A 30 percent jump, more than twice what the state required the two-year colleges to impose, is driving four-year degree-seekers to the community colleges to at least begin the educational process. Not only has tuition taken a hefty hike at the four-year schools but some of the four-year schools have also capped enrollment and/or shut down some of their programs.

"A four-year degree is still just about the best way to get ahead in our culture," said Walton. "Some students are needing to readjust their career goals but it's obvious that students who begin at Centralia College, for example, will save thousands of dollars in tuition alone. Our doors are open."

Registration is underway at Centralia College and Centralia College East in Morton for the quarter that begins Jan. 4, 2010.

Winter 2010 offers many options

Open registration for the winter quarter at Centralia College begins on December 10, and a record enrollment is predicted. Students wishing the best choice of classes are encouraged to register early for the best selection.

Incoming students this winter have the widest range of course options ever offered at Centralia College. Depending on the specific classes chosen, students may wish to sign up for traditional classroom courses, online instruction, combination face-to-face and online "hybrid" classes, and new "flex" classes, in which a student may attend most sessions in person but may take a portion of the class online if necessary.

Most academic and professional/technical (WorkForce) classes provide starting dates at the beginning of any quarter, so students in a particular discipline won't have to wait until next fall to begin their college studies.

Winter classes begin on January 4, with most online classes set to begin Jan. 7 and continue through March 15, final class day of the winter session. New students wishing to enroll for an academic degree, certificate of proficiency, or WorkForce schedule should contact the Enrollment Services Office and complete an application for admission. See Admissions for more information.

New students will get help picking their classes by attending an advising fair prior to the beginning of the quarter. During the registration period, new students may also inquire about the availability of financial aid, on-campus part-time work, and other means of helping make your educational goals a reality.

For further information about classes available, tuition costs, financial aid, and other specific questions, see Admissions or call the Admissions Office at 736-9391 (753-3433 toll free from the Olympia area), ext. 221. Students who wish to enroll at the Morton campus should call 496-5022 for specific information.

Foundation seeks donors to purchase scientific instruments

The science building at Centralia College serves as a giant step toward giving students the best possible advantage as they head for further education or a working career. It takes more than a building, however, to give students the training and experience they need to compete. The Centralia College Foundation raises funds necessary to purchase cutting-edge scientific instruments students need to gain a significant level of experience and knowledge. Those instruments are generally not funded by the state in the capital budget, nor does the college have the resources to buy those critical learning tools.

To solve this problem, the foundation turned to the science faculty and asked for suggestions. Out of that brainstorming came the idea of specific gifts of high-resolution scientific instruments for use by students in a particular discipline. Think in terms of a sort of Star Trek/NASA stocking stuffer.

For fewer dollars than one might imagine, a donor can give such items as a hypsometer, a Digimelt heating apparatus, or a micropipettor. Some the college has too few of for a class, others simply aren't in the classroom inventory—and that's a setback for any dedicated student or instructor.

For as little as $100 a person may donate a stethoscope and blood pressure monitor to a health science or physiology class, or hypsometer for the environmental science, biology, botany, and geology classes. A hypsometer, by the way, uses a laser to measure the distance to the top and bottom of an object and then calculates the angle to furnish the specific height or altitude. The student can know the precise height or altitude of a building or depth of a canyon in a matter of moments. The old stepladder-and-tape method would be measured in hours and days!

For just $220 the donor might choose a micropipettor, a device that can precisely and repeatedly add very small volumes of reagents—as small as one millionth of a liter—to a student research project. That's critical in DNA and other microbiology experiments.

The Digimelt device is used to determine the precise melting point of chemicals and other materials. That's another critical tool that quickly provides a level of accuracy unheard of just a decade ago without days of painstaking work.

Other devices you might specifically donate to the college might include wave drivers, high-resolution GPS devices, earth science stereoscopes, and more. The donor's name will be engraved on a small brass plate and attached to the device wherever that's possible, and anyone may choose the specific science gadget they would like to give. Prices range from just over $100 to around $800, and the instruments will provide years of service to deserving students.

More information on how to purchase and donate an item will be posted on the foundation's Capital Campaign Web site at: For additional information, contact Julie Johnson, (360) 736-9391, ext. 516, or

Speakers Bureau: a free community service of speakers for groups, events

The 2009-10 Centralia College Speakers Bureau has nearly 40 subjects and speakers for area clubs, events, and meetings. Program chairs and others may book a college speaker at no cost for community events. Arrangements are between the requesting agent and the listed speaker. There is no charge for this community service.

Centralia College is rich in resources and expertise on a wide spectrum of topics, all available to your group. If you need a program on a topic not listed in the annual booklet, please contact Don Frey, director, College Relations, and he will attempt to find an appropriate speaker for your event and specific area of interest. This year you may choose from dozens of topical programs of wide interest to your group. Topics range from sailboat racing to crime and punishment, critical energy industry issues to salmon fishing, and from Shakespeare to soap making.

The listing of speakers is available in our 2009-10 Speakers Bureau brochure at College Publications > Speakers Bureau (pdf).

Your group might choose the insights of geologist Pat Pringle as he explains the volcanic process and ash-buried forests of the Northwest, a look at the quirks of the universe by John Martens, or Tony Petzold's advice for staging a puppet show. These and many more intriguing and timely speakers are available. The expertise available at Centralia College may also be valuable to media representatives seeking topic interviews or a local angle to a news story. The Speakers Bureau also serves as a reference for those needs. You may contact the speaker directly via contact information listed in the brochure.

Facilities named to honor former faculty

As part of the ongoing facelift at Centralia College, it was necessary for some of the old, existing facilities to disappear. Among the casualties were the Batie Science Center, Ehret Hall, Lingreen Hall, and the Rufus Kiser Native Gardens. New buildings now occupy the space of the former structures, and the native plant collection in the Kiser Garden has been uprooted and readied for transplant.

The college's Name Retention committee recently recommended that the names of these important pioneers in the early life of Centralia College be incorporated into the new Science Center and the new outdoor learning lab. Those whose namesakes will be transferred are: Bill Batie, Art Ehret, Minnie Lingreen, and Rufus Kiser. The foursome are nearly always mentioned when alumni share their memories with the college and foundation staff.

The recommendations, approved by the college board of trustees include:
  • The space on the west side of Washington Avenue between Walnut Street and Centralia College Boulevard will now include Kiser Gardens. Rufus Kiser taught physical sciences throughout his 32-year teaching career. The site will hold a small pond, creek frontage, and the plant collection. The block-sized park/study area is in the college's Master Plan and will be developed as funding permits.
  • The large tiered classroom in the college's multi-million dollar Science Center will be named for Minnie Lingreen, who taught history and social sciences during her 32-year stay. The site would recognize her long contribution to the academic heritage of Centralia College.
  • The college's specimen preparation area and microbiology laboratory rooms, also in the Science Center, would be named for William Batie, who began his 32-year career in 1940. Batie's dedication to the pure sciences helped build Centralia College's reputation for learning excellence.
  • The main lobby of the new Science Center, a place where students and visitors eventually gravitate, would be named for Arthur Ehret who served as a chemistry teacher and registrar during his 37-year tenure.
Room and area signs will be ordered and mounted within the coming weeks. Several of the buildings that currently stand on what will become Kiser Gardens will be razed during the coming weeks.

Electronics, Robotics, Automation: ERA program

Dave LaLondWhen the Centralia College electronics program adopted the "ERA" (Electronics, Robotics, and Automation) designation, it wasn't because electronics itself was less important. After all, the nationwide STEM initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) included electronics as a key component. "We morphed from just 'electronics' to ERA," said electronics professor Dave LaLond, "because those were the elements our studies showed would provide the best family-wage jobs right here in our area." The former electronics program had earned a reputation for turning out the best technicians, often placing everyone enrolled in certificate or degree classes into good jobs even before they graduated.

Cal Taylor"The problem we had," added electronics associate professor Cal Taylor, "was that nearly all our students had to leave the Lewis County area to get those jobs." LaLond and Taylor worked with a former Centralia College dean of workforce education to get a clear picture of job needs in the immediate area. Nearly all the new businesses moving into our industrial parks were in dire need of workers skilled in robotics and automation, while established firms were quickly adopting such automated processes, according to LaLond.

The electronics staff quickly set about visiting all sorts of firms currently using automation and robotic functions, then writing a curriculum that would give students advanced electronic training in directing and operating robotic systems. In short, training electronics students for the ERA-based, family-wage jobs that were burgeoning in the local market. "Firms from new warehousing and distribution facilities to Cardinal Glass to most area sawmills and precision manufacturing companies need people who can understand and operate programmable logic controllers (PLCs)," LaLond explained. "Our challenge was to work with the firms, and with those who manufacture both robotic devices and PLCs to get the proper level of training developed."

The electronic faculty succeeded beyond anyone's expectations. They have developed a multi-discipline program that the students love, that teaches the right skills, and makes students immediately eligible for jobs in a rewarding and respected career field. One of the early ERA graduates from Centralia College is now programming the automated systems for half a dozen sawmills, boosting company profits and creating more high-wage jobs in the local community.

More of the recent grads are working at automation and computer-robotic interface than ever, and the numbers are certain to grow with the various industries represented here.

"One of the best outcomes," LaLond said, "is that graduates now have the background to enter almost any phase of electronics, responding to the best jobs they can find. If automation or robots aren't their cup of tea, they are qualified for computer networking and technology, electronic component manufacturing, broadcast or audio; just about any part of the field they choose."

"And if they do like robotics and automation," Taylor added, "they are ready for those career opportunities, too!" For more information, see Electronics, Robotics & Automation AAS degree plan or call 736-9391, ext. 282 or 323.

Lyceum to examine 1919 tragedy

From November 4 through December 2, the very popular Centralia College Lyceum will examine the events that occurred in Centralia on the nation's second Armistice Day, November 11, 1919, and which came to be known as The Centralia Massacre.

In the merciful detachment of memory and understanding, the intensely emotional post-WWI conflict is now more appropriately acknowledged as the "Centralia Tragedy." It was on that day a sequence of events unfolded that would result in four American Legionnaires and one labor union activist dead, a dozen or more wounded, towns and families divided, and a sense of community shame that would grow and prosper as the decades passed.

For the Wednesday programs in November and early December, Lyceum brings four speakers representing the warring sides of the original conflict, the time-softened facts of the matter, and the progression from labor/management violence to modern, negotiated labor representation. Lyceum again sets out to prove that most of the hostile of histories can be properly viewed from the perspective of accuracy and compassion. The scheduled topics are:

Nov. 4—Dr. Susanne Weil, Centralia College, will overview the causes and enduring impact of the events that shaped the infamous local tragedy.
Nov. 11—Veteran's Day, the successor to WWI's Armistice observation. Students and citizens are encouraged to visit some of the sites recalling the events of 90 years ago.
Nov. 18—Aaron Goings, teacher of labor history at St. Martins University will speak on "Business As Usual: Employers Terrorize Workers in Centralia, 1919."
Nov. 25—Dr. Earl Nordby, Chaplain, Post #17 of the American Legion speaks to "Veterans Attacked by Wobblies: The November 11, 1919 Legionnaire-Wobbly Catastrophe."
Dec. 2—Providing a unique twist to conclude these thoughtful discussions is Dr. Laurie Mercier, historian, WSU-Vancouver, in "Out Front and Behind the Scenes: Women in the Pacific Northwest Labor Movement."

Lyceum programs are at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and are held in room 103 of Washington Hall or in Corbet Theatre, located at the corner of Washington Avenue and Walnut Street on the college campus. Lyceum programs are free and open to the public, which is cordially invited to attend.

Business gone sour? Try creative teamwork

If the present economic decline has put a stranglehold on your small business or enterprise, you're probably in more of a "depression" mode than a pipsqueak recession. You could lower prices, but margins are already slim. You could advertise, but cash flow won't allow it. You could reduce payroll, but you're the only employee—and the taxman is getting most of your income. What can a small entrepreneur do?

The very popular Centralia College Lyceum program on Wednesday, Oct. 21, might have an answer. Two noted experts—business consultant Joe Martins and Centralia College psychology professor Atara MacNamara—will show you ways to boost your business with an up outlook on a down economy. This revelation begins at 1 p.m in Corbet Theatre.

The program, "The Phoenix Process: How creative teamwork can reinvent a business," will offer a positive approach in challenging times. This team looks at strategies that may allow you to tap into innovative or little-known strategies to gain an advantage for you and your customers. The basic concept is to not struggle with a downhill slope when business is bad. Instead, use the resources you'll learn about and let your competition do the struggling while you succeed. Martins and MacNamara will explain how non-traditional alliances and uncommon teamwork works.

Lyceum brings outstanding programs and leading speakers to Centralia College every Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. in Washington Hall Room 103 or in Corbet Theatre on the college campus. The public is encouraged to attend these free, informative weekly programs, located in Washington Hall, at the corner of Washington Ave. and Walnut Street in Centralia. For more information, see Lyceum Lecture Series, or call Centralia College at 736-9391, ext. 239.

College celebrates adult literacy week Oct 18-24

This year marks the fifth successive time a Washington governor has declared the third week of October to be Adult Literacy Week, and Centralia College continues its efforts to provide adult basic education to students throughout the region. In the shadow of all-time record enrollment at Centralia College, most observers know that basic education is still one of the primary keys to building the community.

Centralia College continues to provide a pathway for those without a high school diploma and those not ready to enter college. Courses are available that will lead to GED high school equivalency testing, and direct high school diplomas for students who choose that pathway. There is little doubt that the services are needed. An estimated 25,000 people in the region lack a high school diploma, and many of those may be facing extended periods of unemployment without essential basic education. Through the Centralia College Basic Skills program unskilled workers can change the odds in their own favor.

Adults may take Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language classes at Centralia College for as little as $25 per quarter. Program manager Dennis Hatch said that adults who cannot afford the registration fee may apply for a waiver to attend the classes at no charge. "There is a testing fee for each of the five GED test sections," Hatch explained, "but there is some scholarship money to help students. We do our best to get almost anyone in who wants to work toward adult literacy goals."

Students can enroll for a few basic education courses in such essentials as math, reading, writing, and other classes that can develop important job skills. On completion of those classes a student may be qualified to take college-level classes in any of dozens of high-demand jobs. To contact the ABE and English as a Second Language staff, call (360) 736-9391, ext. 216.

"A world without honeybees?" Like fruit? Thank a honeybee

Almost everyone knows that honeybees perform a critical service by pollinating thousands of important food crops. Without the bees it would be impossible to grow apples, peaches, most berries, and nearly all our favorite flowers, and many everyday crops and plants. What most people don't know is that the earth is experiencing a chilling shortage of honeybees—and many of our food crops could soon be jeopardized as a result.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 1:00 p.m., retired Washington state Apiarist Jim Bach will be featured at Centralia College's popular Lyceum series to talk about "A World Without Honeybees." Bach will discuss the frightening "colony collapse" syndrome, what is happening to billions of honeybees, and the implications of the crisis on human beings. Bach will repeat his program at 7 p.m. that evening, in Corbet Theatre, for folks who cannot attend the afternoon program. The evening appearance by Bach is sponsored by Centralia College Lyceum, WSU Extension, and the Lewis County Beekeepers Association. There is no charge and the public is invited to attend either presentation.

A lack of honeybees might eventually lead to a loss of hummingbirds first, then most songbirds, and finally an end to readily available, low-cost meat and other basic food products. The changes to average daily life and our wonderfully varied diet would be staggering. What can homeowners, farmers, and others do to prevent this potential catastrophe? Plan to be at the Oct. 14 Lyceum to hear the possible answers from an expert.

All Centralia College Lyceum programs are free and the public is invited every Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. in room 103 of Washington Hall on the Centralia College campus. For further information about Lyceum, see Lyceum Lecture Series or call Centralia College at 736-9391, ext. 239.

smoke free sign on campus

Centralia College moves toward smoke-free campus

Finding a place to smoke a cigarette on the Centralia College campus just got a little more difficult. Beginning with this fall quarter, the college opened a smoke-free corridor stretching the east-west length of the campus, and moving north and south to the entrances to all facilities on college property. The corridor bisects the college campus along Walnut Street and is bordered on the west by King and on the east by Iron streets.

The smoke-free corridor initiative, currently pushed by the student government, is aimed at eventually making the college campus entirely smoke-free. With this move Centralia College joins a growing trend as colleges follow the lead set by some state governments and recommendations from health care providers. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States among both men and women. It claims more lives each year than colon, prostate, lymph and breast cancers combined. Yet most lung cancer deaths could be prevented. That's because smoking accounts for nearly 90 percent of lung cancer cases.

The move by the college and its student government is also aimed at eliminating second hand smoke some have had to inhale walking through areas where smokers congregated. Smokers can still light up on campus as long as it's in their vehicle in a parking lot. They can also smoke on city-owned streets and sidewalks around the perimeter of the campus.

The smoking ban applies to all faculty, staff, students and visitors to the campus. A smoke-free campus was first floated by the college's nursing club two years ago but did not have widespread support. This year, the college's administration and student leadership support the smoke-free corridor. Walnut Street, identified as the Aadland Esplanade on campus, is lined with temporary no smoking signs. The college's security staff may also be reminding offenders of the ban.

"First and foremost it is a matter of personal health," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president, "but it is also a matter of courtesy to others."

Jason Lezak with Trio students

Jason Lezak inspires students to set goals, visualize success

Recently, Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Jason Lezak shared his experiences, challenges, and methods for success with TRiO students and families in Corbet Theater on the Centralia College campus. His road to gold was not an easy one and Jason had some good advice for achieving any goal you might have, athletic or not.

Jason told the story of his swimming career starting at the age of five, and ending with a gold medal in 4x100 m freestyle relay and a long awaited individual bronze medal in the 50 m freestyle in the 2008 Summer Olympics. His anchor leg in the 4x100 m freestyle relay was the fastest 100 m split in history. This was after many ups and downs as a world class swimmer. He finished as high as 21st in qualifying races for the 50 m freestyle, and his 4x100 m relay team lost six straight years from 1999-2004 including twice at the Olympics, twice at World Championships, and twice at Pan Pacific Games. Prior to 1999, the U.S. 4x100 m team had never lost that race in international competition. But Jason used the power of positive thinking, hard work, and a relentless pursuit of his goals to achieve the success we all witnessed in the Olympic Games last summer.

Jason, at age 33, says his swimming career is far from over and he hopes to make the 2012 Olympics. He says he feels great and is confident in his ability to compete even though he will be considerably older than the average Olympic swimmer. His positive attitude and methods of setting and achieving his goals can be used by any person and for any purpose. You can set your own goals for great success in your education, career, or athletics. Here are Jason's take-home messages for meeting goals and dreams you may never have thought possible.
  • Set goals, and review them frequently. Don't be afraid to make them big and set smaller short-term goals that get you to your bigger goals.
  • Visualize success for yourself frequently; stick to positive self talk; stop negative self talk.
  • Be willing to work and do it.
  • Sacrifice and make good choices–minimize frivolous activities and do what it takes to succeed. Focus on your goals.
  • Do the little things needed to be successful and stay on track–study, practice, listen to your parents, teachers, coaches and mentors. Get help from your support group and add new people to it.
  • Learn from your mistakes, put them behind you, and move forward with a positive attitude.
  • Be prepared for opportunities–Jason could not have continued his swimming career at University of California/Santa Barbara without being prepared academically. Don't wait to improve your GPA and make yourself well educated.

College opens forestry tech program

Careers in forestry may be making a comeback and Centralia College, working with Grays Harbor College is opening a two-year Forestry Tech degree training program that could go a long way in getting people back to work in that field.

The growing need for forestry technicians has been spurred by U.S. Senator Patty Murray who was instrumental in securing funding to support the two colleges' training efforts. Federal funds have been coupled with money and support from the Pinchot Partners and Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council. It is expected this partnership will cover the tuition and book costs for two years for those accepted into the program.

The primary instruction site will be at Centralia College East in Morton. Students will be connected to Grays Harbor College through two-way interactive video for the natural resource classes. During a six-week intensive spring quarter 2010 students will travel to multiple sites throughout the state for on-site training opportunities. "It's something that has been in the works for a while but everything came together just recently," said April Doolittle, director of Centralia College's Morton Center. "This program offers a practical approach that provides the necessary skills and knowledge to compete for a job," said Doolittle. "We offer an applied approach that integrates natural resource concepts and principles with field work," she said. "It's a chance to gain some invaluable hands-on training and experience."

Currently the program, which starts this fall with a cap of 24 students, will train graduates to qualify for career options that include: forestry technician, forester, urban forester, research forester, arborist, environmental consultant, forest resource administrator, conservation geology, fire suppression specialist, rangeland specialist, environmental protection specialist, habitat conservation specialist, GIS cartography, GPS field technician, biostatistician, nursery/greenhouse manager, soil management, insect and disease management, land rehabilitation specialist, and other positions.

The curriculum is modeled after the Society of American Foresters accreditation standards. This will be one of three approved Natural Resources–Forestry Technician programs available at the college level in Washington State.

For program information, see the Forestry Tech Program web page. For information on admission to the program, contact:

April Doolittle,, (360) 496-5022 or (360) 736-9391 ext. 380;
Lynn Schinnell,, (360) 496-5022 or (360) 736-9391 ext. 380;
Bev Gestrine, Worker Retraining,, (360) 736-9391 ext. 351; or
Fred Schwindt,, (360) 496-5022 or (360) 736.9391 ext. 265.

New Fall quarter may be biggest yet

After consecutive enrollment peaks for the spring and summer quarters at Centralia College, officials expect to welcome a new all-time record number of students when classes start on September 21. The enrollment upsurge is squeezing the college as it works to provide instructors, classes, and seat space for all who enroll. Many of the professional/technical classes are near or above capacity; there is, however, space available in many of the academic transfer classes and the online course offerings.

"A lot of students are returning to get training that will upgrade their job skills and increase opportunity for employment," said John Martens, college vice president for Instruction.

"The state budget deficit has given our students a big break, too," according to Dr. Jim Walton, Centralia College president. "While the legislature has increased the costs of going to a state university or four-year college by 15 percent this year, our students are seeing an increase in tuition costs of around seven percent. That means a substantial savings for a family with a student entering the college career race."

Some professional and technical courses are providing added opportunities for job-seeking students this quarter, including those in civil engineering, electronics and robotics, energy technology, and criminal justice—as well as business and marketing skill development classes. Also available for prospective students are classes in fine arts and drama.

Fall classes begin on Sept. 21 for classroom students and Sept. 24 for those using an online class strategy. Open enrollment continues through this week but classes are filling quickly. With time running out, admissions staff are urging students to come to the Enrollment Services Office in the Student Center, corner of Rock Street and Centralia College Blvd, or call the office at 736-9391, ext. 221, for details.

TransAlta receives prestigious state community college 'partnership' award

TransAlta's commitment to invest in the future of the communities where it operates was recognized with the Washington statewide "Partner of the Year Award" for support of a community or technical college. With operations in Centralia, Washington, TransAlta Corporation produces power for the Pacific Northwest and has been recognized as an extraordinary supporter of Centralia College and a great supporter of the regional Lewis County community.

The award, given by the state Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges (TACTC), is given annually to a corporation, company, agency, or organization for providing time and resources in support of the state's community and technical college mission. TransAlta's 2009 award is just the third time TACTC has given the prestigious honor. TransAlta was nominated by the Centralia College Board of Trustees and strongly supported by trustee chair Judy Guenther, Centralia College Foundation president Dennis Calkins, and college president Dr. Jim Walton.

TransAlta received the nod from the TACTC awards committee, representing Green River, Whatcom, Spokane, and Shoreline Community Colleges. In formally making the presentation the state organization noted, "TransAlta approached Centralia College to discuss the creation of an energy training program similar to one sponsored in Canada. Seven years later, with a TransAlta commitment of $1 million in cash, equipment, and personnel services, Centralia College hosts a Center of Excellence for Energy Technology that serves the entire Pacific Northwest region."

TransAlta has become almost legendary in support of the general community. In her support of the TransAlta nomination, Guenther wrote, "They were one of the first companies to step forward with manpower and money when we had the significant floods in 2007 and 2008. TransAlta is a great community member...they are truly an excellent example of what the TACTC Partner of the Year Award represents." TransAlta recently committed $500,000 to the Centralia College Foundation's current capital campaign, earmarking the money for a new educational facility, student service center, and college commons. The new building project, scheduled for groundbreaking as the third phase in a series of major college expansions, will be known as the "TransAlta College Commons." It will occupy a site directly south of the new $33 million Science Center on the Aadland Esplanade and across Washington Avenue from Washington Hall.

In a letter in support of the nomination, Walton wrote, "When it was forced to shut down its mining operation, TransAlta gave us $500,000 to award as scholarships to former employees, their spouses, and their children...TransAlta is a great supporter of Centralia College and I cannot help but think the actions of TransAlta are exactly what this award was conceived to recognize. TransAlta is a partner I am proud to support in this nomination."

Unemployed worker training program, workshop Aug. 13

Unemployed workers in Lewis County may be eligible for a new program that provides state-paid job-readiness or new-career training and in many cases allows the worker to continue to draw unemployment benefits while they train.

Unemployed, displaced workers have an opportunity to meet with Centralia College and Employment Security representatives at a pair of meetings on Thursday, Aug. 13. A morning session from 10 a.m. to noon will cover the general program and allow job seekers to ask questions. That meeting will be held in room 109 of the new Science Center at the corner of Washington Ave. and Walnut Street.

"There are some rumors floating around about this program and we want to clarify what the program is about and how individuals can access training programs," said Bev Gestrine, director of Worker Retraining at Centralia College. "People need to know the facts," she said.

A second session will be in Washington Hall from 1-3 p.m. to cover the financial aid aspects of the program, and determine funding eligibility for jobless workers that plan to enter the program. Centralia College Financial Aid staff will be on hand to help prospective students secure tuition and retraining benefits. Workers will have a choice of training options, depending on their career or job-skill upgrade choices. The unemployment cash benefits may have some added eligibility restrictions, but may also include extended benefit periods. Questions concerning retraining options and the benefits package—for both class costs and extended unemployment compensation—will be thoroughly covered in the two workshop sessions.

Washington Employment Security has already contacted more than 1,825 displaced Lewis County workers about the program, but could not include details on a case-by-case basis. Potential new job trainees will need to attend these meetings to determine program and compensation eligibility.

Gestine said seats for the Aug. 13 meeting are limited; she urged those interested to reserve a place as soon as possible. Call Centralia College at 736-9391, ext. 385 or 770, to secure a spot. Gestrine said more meetings would be scheduled to meet additional demand from displaced workers wishing to enter the state-sponsored displaced worker program.

Centralia College donors overcome current recession

Centralia College Foundation board president Dennis Calkins announced that the foundation has met its 2008-09 annual fundraising goal of $375,000. Calkins expressed gratitude to the community for its strong support of Centralia College and the Centralia College Foundation. "It is gratifying to see the community come together to support the goals of deserving students in their pursuit of higher education," stated Calkins.

The campaign got a huge boost from the Earnest and Edith Driscoll estate earlier in the year through an estate distribution of $640,000. "This gift will benefit future Centralia College students through scholarships," noted Dwayne Aberle, campaign chair. "The result shows the huge impact of remembering students in a will or other long-term strategy for planned giving."

The goal for the 2009-10 Annual Campaign will be $393,750 and will begin with the annual kickoff in October. As tuition increases by seven percent this year and regional unemployment expected continue its push into double digit territory, it will be more important than ever to meet the new goal so students have funding to pursue their education at Centralia College.

Even though the annual campaign has met its goal, there is still work to be done. The foundation board recently embarked on a $100,000 campaign to bring a superior grand piano to the Corbet stage. The new concert grand piano will honor Charlie Albright, one of Centralia College's most celebrated graduates and a world-class piano virtuoso. The nine-foot concert grand piano will bring unparalleled distinction to concerts, performing arts, and music education at Centralia College. The Charlie Albright Piano Campaign has raised $65,000 and recently received a matching grant from the Robert O'Neill family; every new gift will effectively be doubled. For more information on the 2010 annual campaign or to support the Charlie Albright Piano Fund, please call the foundation office at (360) 736-9391, ext. 290, or visit the Centralia College Foundation Web site at

Patrick Pringle07/14/09
Mt. Rainier guidebook wins national award

A Centralia College writer and science instructor has received a prestigious national award for his outdoor field guide. Pat Pringle, associate professor of Earth Sciences, has been notified that his newest work, The Roadside Geology of Mt. Rainier National Park and Vicinity, has won the 2009 "Best Guidebook" award from the nationwide Geoscience Information Society (GSIS). GSIS is the nation's leading membership organization in the geological sciences arena, providing the latest information to professionals, amateurs, and sightseers around the world. GSIS is a member organization of the Geological Society of America and the American Geological Institute.

Pringle brings a combination of scientific accuracy and common language making the book valuable to amateur geologists and vacationers and seasoned professional and geology-related scientists. Pringle's two volcanic guidebooks, the result of years of study in the field and experience on the ground around the peaks, are comparative best-sellers around the region and have won wide critical acclaim by geologists and lay writers alike. Prior to coming to Centralia College, Pringle worked at the Cascades Volcanic Observatory for over a decade and later for the Division of Geology, Washington Department of Natural Resources, for nearly 15 years.

Pringle previously wrote the companion piece to his latest popular science guidebook, The Roadside Geology of Mount St. Helens and Vicinity. Pringle will receive the award at the joint meeting of the GSIS and the Geological Society of America next October in Portland. Both books were published by the Division of Geology of the Washington DNR and are available at the DNR offices in Olympia, at Book 'n Brush in Chehalis, or the Centralia College Bookstore.

Rick Skinner07/09/09
College signs new head baseball coach

Centralia College has hired a new coach to lead the men’s baseball program. The new Trailblazer skipper is Rick Skinner, a native of Vancouver.

Skinner left the head coaching post at Hockinson High School to accept the top spot in the Blazer baseball program. His team played against Centralia and W. F. West, and Skinner says he has a good relationship with baseball coaches for those local high schools. That will help, Skinner says, in bringing more Centralia and Chehalis baseball standouts to the local diamonds. “He has connections to the area, he knows baseball, he knows how to coach, and he is a good fit for the college. He will is a great addition to our sports programs,” said Bob Peters, Centralia College athletic director.

Skinner graduated from Mt. Hood Community College and from Concordia College. He played varsity baseball at both colleges and maintains positive ties with the coaching staff at each. “The number one thing I want to do,” Skinner explained, “is to change the attitude of the players. I know a positive attitude will help them start winning games, especially the tight ones.” Skinner is high on the talent on the current team, as well as players on area teams. “There are a lot of good players in this area,” he said. And he is already working to develop those players. “I plan to hold college-sponsored training camps for a number of age groups,” Skinner continued. “There will be a major ‘Prospect Camp’ for returning players, new recruits, and potential players. Later in the year we will hold age-specific baseball camps for kids from middle school on up.”

Skinner has picked part of his coaching staff and will announce his choices soon. But Skinner clearly gets top-flight assistants who share his positive attitude and work ethic. Prior coaching periods have been positive, Skinner says, because of that kind of outlook. “A team’s positive attitude and willingness to work,” he maintained, “reflects the style and example of the coaching staff. If my coaches and I are solid and upbeat, the kids will feel our moral support from the very first day. “If we work hard, the kids will work hard,” Skinner concluded. “That’s how winning teams are built.” Skinner is planning to get some teaching assignments in local high school districts and move his family from the rural North Vancouver area as soon as possible.

T.R. Gratz06/17/09
T. R. Gratz named to college admin position

A 15-year veteran of the Centralia College faculty has been named Interim Dean of Instruction for Academic Transfer.  T. R. Gratz, the former director of the college's long-running and award-winning "blue&gold" student newspaper, will assume his post July 1.

A 2000 "Exceptional Faculty" award recipient, Gratz has been the college's journalism instructor and has taught English at the college since his arrival in 1994. Under his leadership the "blue&gold" was a perennial award-winning publication as judged against other two-year college student newspapers throughout a multi-state region. Gratz recently moved the student newspaper publication to an Internet-only digital newspaper to increase accessibility and provide readers with instant access to college news. The move to an electronic platform, however, was already on Gratz's agenda as a means of teaching students the systems they will need for electronic publications and for strictly-Web-based news and information delivery systems.

In making the announcement, John Martens—college vice president for Instruction—noted Gratz has a strong academic background, a commitment to the college, and demonstrated leadership skills. The college will continue publishing the "blue&gold."

Summer quarter starts June 22

Summer quarter at Centralia College begins on Monday, June 22, giving many students the opportunity to get the skills they need to increase their employability. Students looking to start or continue their journey toward a four-year degree may use the summer quarter to help them reach that goal and do so at a lower cost. Enrollment is now underway and will continue through Monday. Late registrations may be accepted through Thursday, June 25.

Despite potential record high summer enrollment, college administrators say many classes still have room for those who sign up soon. "We've tried to anticipate a larger number of students who need advanced career or technical training," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "Economists say employment numbers aren't expected to rise until late spring or early summer next year, and we felt summer was an ideal time to let unemployed or underemployed people get a head start for better results when the jobs do come back."

Among the classroom subjects available for summer quarter are: accounting, health care, business and business office technology, criminal justice, nursing assistant, welding, and others. Many academic courses are open for summer enrollees.

There is a wide range of online classes available. The summer quarter online classes run from June 25 through August 17. Students at Centralia College or Centralia College East may register online or in person at the Enrollment Services office. For further information call Centralia College at 736-9391, ext. 221, or Centralia College East in Morton at 496-5022.

College offers homebuyer assistance class

Home ownership can be a source of financial security but for some the home buying process can be daunting and a financial drain. Centralia College is offering a series of Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) homebuyer seminars that can open the door to financial packages that make purchasing a home more feasible.

There is no charge for the class and anyone currently planning to purchase a home is encouraged to attend. Homebuyers who complete this class may qualify for the $8,000 tax credit plus up to $10,000 in down payment assistance.

The two-night seminar is held in the Centralia College Science Center, room 108, and is led by Nita Cook of Madrona Mortgage, and Diane Weaver of REWARD Int'l Real Estate. The class covers budgeting, building credit, financing, real estate procedures, inspections, escrow and insurance. Guest speakers will include certified home and pest inspectors, insurance professionals, and title company professionals. In addition, this free five-hour class is required by WSHFC for new buyers to qualify for state bond down payment assistance. To qualify, the buyers cannot have owned a primary residence in the last 3 years and must earn less than $95,000 per year; Buyers have until 12/1/09 to finalize a home purchase for this current stimulus package.

For information on class dates and to register call: 360-791-7355, or visit

Centralia College Commencement set for June 12

In the afternoon of Friday, June 12, some 450 Centralia College students will formally complete at least part of their education when the college holds commencement exercises. Some will earn transfer degrees and enter a four-year university in the fall; some will receive associate degrees that open the door to career opportunities. Other students will be awarded certificates that they'll use to compete for good jobs, while still others will celebrate hard-earned GED diplomas, the equivalent of high school completion. About 200 students will take part in commencement as a sign of their achievement. Hundreds of friends and family members will be on hand to share that moment and the event will be telecast on Cable TV, Channel 3, in the Centralia/Chehalis area. It is also signed for the hearing impaired. You may also view the live video of the commencement site.

In addition to Dr. Jim Walton, Centralia College president, speakers will include Jean DeSpain, the 2009 Centralia College Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient, and former newspaper executive Tom Koenninger, one of Centralia College's first trustees and a current member of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Tad Roeder, president of the Associated Students of Centralia College, will also speak and music student Sarah Edwards will perform a musical selection.

Dr. Michael Grubiak, vice president of Student Services, will present Outstanding Student Awards to recipients Evan Hedlund, Devon Kuhlmann, Lori Taylor, Rodney Tennison, and Nicole Wall.

A reception, sponsored by Student Programs, will follow the ceremony and will be held in the college cafeteria.

This year marks a new site for the mid-June commencement exercises as the ceremony moves to a grassy area just north of the clocktower between the Kirk Library and Kemp Hall, just steps off the Aadland Esplanade. There are no restrictions to the number of guests who may attend.

"For each graduating student," observed Walton, "this day has a special meaning and will be remembered for a lifetime."

Centralia College welders show artistic side

welding student
The welding classes at Centralia College will hold their third annual "Welding Art Show" on Monday, June 8. The welding lab and exhibits will be at the Technical Arts building of the college. It's located at the corner of West Walnut and King Streets. Welding instructor Ken Cotton said most of the nearly 30 welding students have artistic or useful projects they have fashioned as they learn their skills, and all are anxious to show off their one-of-a-kind handiworks.

"We've found that students really sharpen their detail skills while they work on projects that have particular value to them," Cotton explained. "Whether it's a barbecue or a statue of an elk, their involvement with the subject helps them become better welders."

The student welding art show will run from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., and visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite pieces of work. The student winners get prizes furnished by local firms that work with the welding department. Area vendors will also have displays at the art show to illustrate the value of the program to area businesses, and to let the community know what special services they might find available locally. There are dozens of different projects in this year's show, and Cotton says some of the artwork, painted saw blades, decorative tools, and new variations on old designs are fascinating. Each year the number of visitors has grown, and the college expects up to 300 people to drop by on Monday to see the work on display. There is no charge to visit this exhibit of student welding skill and the public is cordially invited. For further information, contact Cotton at 736-9193, ext. 391.

Land Survey Scholarships at Centralia College

The Northwest's largest surveying and engineering association has again recognized the professional stature and value of the Civil Engineering program at Centralia College. The Land Surveyor's Association of Washington (LSAW) has made available to the college two full-year scholarships for promising survey technology students for the upcoming 2009-10 academic year.

LSAW is the largest membership organization of surveyors, cartographers, and other civil engineers and technicians in the region. The association has about 1,500 members including licensed public engineers, mapmakers, GIS and GPS specialists, and professional field, geophysical, and marine survey technicians. The group strives to ensure that the best industry standards are taught to engineering and technical students in the Washington college system. Centralia College has been able to provide LSAW scholarships in the past and this new award reaffirms the career value of the technical programs in place.

Civil Engineering assistant professor Ann Alves says an LSAW education committee will award the new scholarships to a pair of second-year students in the Centralia College program after academic reviews. There are currently about 16 students eligible, while another dozen are finishing up their associate degree studies this month. Alves says many civil engineering students plan to continue their education to earn four-year degrees. "We are seeing more students than usual continue for BS degrees," Alves said. "It's partly due to the country's economic downturn. Today, the four-year degree still gets the best jobs, and most technicians now need a two-year associate degree to compete for the technical positions."

The Department of Labor predicts a strong, continuing demand for engineers, surveyors, and technicians, but those with at least associate degrees or certificates will land the bulk of the available jobs. For further information on the Civil Engineering Technology program at Centralia College, call Alves at 736-9391, ext. 334, weekdays.

College averts layoffs in balancing budget

Laying off of faculty or staff to balance the budget isn't part of the game plan at Centralia College, nor will any of the college's degree or certificate programs fall victim to involuntary elimination as the college absorbs more than $1 million in budget reduction imposed by the state.

"The fact that we did not go through the process of involuntary separation of faculty or staff is remarkable," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "Our goal was to protect as many of our instructional programs from elimination, and to shield faculty and staff, as much as possible, from termination." While the college might claim success in reaching those goals, balancing the budget isn't without pain. The college's leadership team recognized last August that there was going to be a dramatic budget reduction but had no idea what the extent of those cuts would be. At that point the decision was made to not fill any vacant positions until the level of cuts could be ascertained. Walton said that when an employee resigned the position was not filled and others picked up tasks so that critical functions would not be lost. Some in-house services, such as some janitorial work, was lost or the level of work was reduced. Faculty vacancies were also left unfilled and class assignments were taken over by other instructors. Increasing numbers of students took advantage of online classes.

"The levels of cuts we have been asked to make are unprecedented," said Walton. "The severity of the budget reduction will leave us short-handed in several areas and will require others to take on additional work. There is no doubt that some of the services we have provided will no longer be available. It is unfortunate but there is no way we can continue to operate at the levels we have the past few years." Walton did praise the willingness of college employees to pick up additional responsibilities to preserve core functions of the college.

The first round of cuts, for the current fiscal year, were mandated by the Governor in late 2008 and amounted to $535,000; the second round, pegged at $841,000, are in effect now for the start of the college's new fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2009. The college's annual budget is about $12 million. Part of the mandated reduction will be offset by a 7 percent increase in tuition, which goes into effect fall quarter. The budget cuts, however, are coming as the college experiences record enrollments. Increasing numbers of people are turning to Centralia College to train for new jobs or to begin their quest for a four-year degree as the economic conditions worsen.

"This huge demand for services comes as the state is taking away our ability to provide those services," said Walton. All four-year schools in the state are facing dramatic budget cuts and have curtailed enrollments and reduced the numbers of classes offered. "We are working diligently to meet the increasing demand," said Walton. "Our message is that we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that the classes students need will be available."

Centralia College students aid in passage of cost-saving law

Centralia College students proved to be instrumental in the passage of a law that may assist students in finding low-cost sources for college textbooks. Lenn Lund, vice president of Government Affairs for the Associated Students of Centralia College, enlisted over 100 fellow students in a campaign to support enactment of the law, which was signed by the Governor on Tuesday, April 28.

The new law will require college bookstores to provide certain information including the ISBN number for college books four weeks before class starts. Students testified that delays in the release of textbook information prevent them from finding used books, and may put them in a position of having to purchase new books at full cost to have them in time for the beginning of class. Generally, used textbooks can be purchased through Web sources at a lower cost, but students need to have updated and accurate book information in order to have a book in hand by the beginning of class.

"Textbooks are a major cost to students and can sometimes cost more than $200 each," said Lund. "The Student Government at Centralia College, working with students from other colleges, was seeking policy changes that would help students without adding to the state budget crisis. The students began working on this issue last fall and "Senators Dan Swecker, and Derek Kilmer and Representative Mike Armstrong were all willing to help make this proposed law a reality," said Lund. The law goes into effect July 26. "It has been a great experience to see students get involved in the law-making process and getting their voice heard," said Lund.

Legislature confirms Centralia College leaders

The 2009 Washington state Senate, among its end of session actions, confirmed the appointments of community and technical college trustees. Some 43 appointments and re-appointments to the State Board and several community and technical colleges were made by Governor Gregoire and submitted to the senate this year.

Centralia College trustees confirmed for their first term were Dr. Joe Dolezal, a Centralia optometrist who has been active in college affairs and served as a director of the Centralia College Foundation; and Joanne Schwartz, Community Development Director for the City of Chehalis and a long time education and community advocate. Both have already begun their participation in the work of the Centralia College board. Reappointed to the Board of Trustees for another term was Margaret Sundstrom of Randle. Sundstrom has served a full term and has also been board chair for a year.

"The important community involvement and dedication of each of our trustees makes our board especially strong," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "The college benefits enormously from their collective experience and their confirmation will serve to strengthen the leadership they provide," Walton added. The new and returning trustees are each appointed for a five-year term.

Workshop set for financial and estate planners

The Centralia College Foundation, in partnership with Providence Centralia Hospital and the United Way of Lewis County, will host an in-service workshop for professional financial and estate planners. The “Continuing Professional Education Seminar” will be held on the Centralia College campus on Thursday, May 28, from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Accountants, attorneys, and financial or estate planners will need to register for this important workshop by May 11 by calling the foundation staff at 736-9391, ext. 290. Attendees will earn CPE, CFP, EA or CLE credits for participating. The seminar will be held in the college boardrooms, Hanson Hall, corner of Walnut and Rock Streets in Centralia. Training and discussion topics include Creative Giving and Planning, Medicaid and Long-term Care, Ethics and Charitable Planning, Social Security Retirement, and Focus on Fixed Income. Presenters include Lon Dufek, David Armes, N. Elizabeth McCaw, Jeffrey Parkin, and Derek Burger. Registration is $50 per person and includes admittance for one, appropriate professional training credits, all course materials, a continental breakfast, and lunch. Reservations are required. Those with questions or needing further information should contact the foundation office prior to the registration deadline.

Centralia College offers insider's look at Iran

New Faces of Iran

An Iranian student at Centralia College, Golnaz Koloushani, maintains that the typical American image of everyday Iranian people is negative, inaccurate, and fostered by media bias. Koloushani, who was born in a smaller city outside Tehran and studied in Britain, says the vast majority of Iranians have a surprising level of understanding and respect for their U.S. counterparts. As one of our international students, she is bringing a special program to Centralia College next week to prove her point.

The program, "The New Faces of Iran," along with a documentary on the people of Iran, will be presented in the new Science Center (SCI), Room 121, on Thursday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. Koloushani says the impression of an armed populace that simply hates all Americans is, for the most part, a fiction without any basis in fact. She understands the governments of the two nations are not on friendly terms, but believes there is more admiration and sympathy between the two peoples than media accounts would indicate.

"You get the idea from television," Koloushani explains, "that Iranian women must still cover themselves from head to toes, and are treated like property. That just isn't true." Koloushani also wants to dispel the myth that all Iranians are armed Muslim militants and the nation lives by outdated social, moral, and even business standards.

She has gathered a small panel of experts on Iran to answer audience questions and discuss the actual lifestyle of the average Iranian citizen. The panel includes Negin Almassi, a manager at Senior Service of King County and co-chair of the Iranian American Community Alliance; Ali Ghambari, Tehran native and Seattle area entrepreneur, also a member of IACA; Dr. Sam Farahani, professor of international relations at Portland State and Pacific University; and program coordinator Golnaz Koloushani.

The public is invited to attend the free program, which is co-sponsored by Centralia College, International Programs, and Phi Theta Kappa, the college honor society. Refreshments will be served. For further information, call International Programs at 736-9391, ext 625.

Centralia College East celebrates 25 years

The Morton campus of Centralia College will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a reception for the community on Friday, April 24. The informal party begins at 7 p.m. and former students, faculty, friends of the college, and the public are welcome. The event will be held at the Centralia College East campus at 701 Airport Way, Morton. Activities are slated to include refreshments, speakers, and live music provided by Vann Cantin and Ray Woods. A collection of early CCE photographs will be posted, and those correctly identifying people in the photographs—generally former students or faculty—will be entered in a drawing.

Centralia College East (CCE) began in a number of classrooms at Morton High School, in much the same manner as the first classes of the parent college were held in borrowed classrooms at Centralia High. Both campuses have matured rapidly, growing with demand and providing essential educational service to their communities. The role of CCE is expected to expand even faster in the next few years as more and more classes are offered online or in a hybrid format combining computer learning at home and face-to-face classes in the Morton facility.

Associate Dean April Doolittle is encouraging past students and staff from the Morton area to drop in during the anniversary party on Friday. "It's a good chance to meet the current staff and faculty," Doolittle noted, "and a fine time to renew friendships with former classmates and teachers."

Free services on Citizenship Day, April 18

Free services will be available at the upcoming Citizenship Day. (See Coming Events for time and location.) Volunteer immigration attorneys, paralegals and interpreters offer FREE citizenship application assistance to legal permanent residents in Washington. Voting rights, safety and job opportunity are just a few of the benefits that citizenship brings. On April 18, the English as a Second Language department at Centralia College will host Citizenship Day and will provide free services to legal permanent residents in Washington state who are seeking the American dream.

Citizenship Day at the college will be staffed by volunteer immigration attorneys, paralegals, interpreters and other community members. These teams will prepare naturalization applications at no cost. The site coordinators for the event are Steffani Powell from Seifert Law Offices in Olympia and Judith Aguilar, assistant professor at Centralia College.

The Washington New Americans program—administered by OneAmerica (formerly Hate Free Zone) in partnership with the Washington Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)—will present Citizenship Day in four Washington cities. This is the second of three citizenship days in 11 Washington cities.

Information on becoming a citizen and Citizenship Day is available at

Citizenship Day offers workshops that provide assistance to legal-permanent state residents eligible for naturalization. The Washington New Americans Program promotes successful immigrant integration by connecting Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) to the information and services they need to successfully pursue citizenship and become active members of our community. The goal this year, through the new partnership with the Washington New Americans program, is to assist 600 people with filing naturalization applications by June 30. After the first Washington Citizenship Day by AILA in 2006, the concept has been replicated in 25 states. For more information, call (360) 736-9391 ext. 696.

New art exhibit opens in Washington Hall gallery

Karen PriceThe schedule of art exhibits at Centralia College continues with an East Lewis County painter opening this week. Showing in the gallery corridor of Washington Hall is Packwood artist Karen Price. Her 25-piece show will hang until April 30. Price is a multi-discipline artist in painting, three-dimensional art, and music. Her formal education was is clinical dietetics, but her real loves are artistic expression and music. She seems to have brought all her myriad talents to the works shown currently on the campus.

The compilation of graphic work represents work done over many years and ranges from breathtaking neo-realism to a form of impression that nearly borders on mid-20th century cubism. Fortunately for us all, Price has thoughtfully furnished a brief comment in each case describing the creative processes she felt during the execution of various works. Once having the concept explained, the viewer can go back and reexamine the painting from a new perspective; both the "before and after" visions help understand and appreciate the work in different ways.

Price's checkered art career came about more normally than one might expect. "I grew up in a family that was talented in music and art," she explained. "It was something I took for granted. But I had younger siblings and I felt I had a responsibility to be self-supporting as soon as possible. So I graduated from the UW in dietetics and worked in a hospital setting."

Retracing her journey into the serious art world, Price admitted it wasn't until she had kids and became a stay-at-home mom she found the time and inspiration to return to her art and music. "From that point on," Price laughed, "I spent a lot of time at my various interests in art." Besides painting, Price works in pottery, fabric, other fiber arts, and is working on new graphic media in inks and water-based permanent colors. As for the creative process she describes for us to better enjoy her work, she says the first image takes a little more effort because, as she explained, "I'm not a linear thinker. I'm more a circular thinker, I suppose, so my concepts and creations don't follow any set artistic patterns." We're happy they don't; at this exhibit there's a pleasant surprise around every corner!

Mohandas Gandhi interviews on Centralia College campus

Bernard Meyer, who portrays Mohandas K. Gandhi, will appear on the Centralia College campus to launch the spring quarter Lyceum on April 8. Meyer is just back from India and Vietnam where he attended peace conferences and presented Gandhi's philosophy and practice and spoke on how Gandhi would react to the world of 2009. The character Gandhi will converse with Dr. Don Foran, the college's ethics and literature professor. The Lyceum is a time-honored series of lectures, debates, or discussions of current events or issues. The public is encouraged to attend and share in the presentation. The Centralia College Lyceum takes place Wednesday, April 8, beginning at 1 p.m., in Washington Hall, room 103, on the college campus. There is no charge. See Lyceum Series for more information.

Special breakout sessions planned for college job fair

Two special breakout workshops are planned for this year's Job Fair on April 15, to help jobseekers beat the odds. At 10:30 a.m., WorkSource specialist Marcella Willis will conduct a workshop for jobseekers in which she'll deal with "Job Searching in Tough Times." Willis says she'll address positive steps that can be taken to increase a person's chance of finding a good job.

Among the topics will be networking; finding the hidden job market; putting together a useful resume for the work you're seeking; and other subjects that may keep you on the employer's "A" list when an opening does pop up.

At about 11:15 a.m., Centralia College psychology assistant professor Atara MacNamara will lead a workshop on "The Psychology of Job Hunting." MacNamara calls herself a "positive psychologist," so don't be surprised to learn ways to keep an optimistic attitude and your enthusiasm high. There are many ways to make and keep a solid impression on a prospective employer, and MacNamara is apt to deal with those subjects as well. Both workshops will be held in room 106 of the Health & Wellness Center; the job fair will take place in the gym, also located in the Health and Wellness Center. See Coming Events for more information.

New scholarships to benefit Centralia College students

Centralia College students who will earn an associate's degree in the 2008-09 academic year may apply for scholarships that could top $10,000, at City University of Seattle (CU-Seattle). The new scholarship plan was announced last week by Gov. Christine Gregoire and Lee Gorsuch, City University of Seattle president.

City University will make some $10 million available to community and technical college graduates in Washington to help put a new level of skilled professionals in the field as the state recovers from the present recession. The scholarships are for tuition only and will help transfer students working toward a bachelor's degree. Centralia College students who earn transfer degrees in June will be eligible to apply for a CU-Seattle scholarship. Most could earn their bachelor's degrees in just six quarters.

The "Scholarships for Tomorrow's Careers" program provides 600 scholarships of $10,800 each for community and technical college transfer students. Scholarship funds will also be used to provide 400 qualified laid-off workers with scholarships to upgrade their professional skills.

The program gained the enthusiastic support of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and the Employment Security Department. "After last week's budget announcements, City U's offer to relieve the financial burden for students couldn't have come at a more advantageous time," said Charlie Earl, SBCTC executive director. "We are striving to help as many students as possible, and these scholarships will help many of our transfer students achieve their dreams." More information on the program is available at:, or contact the Centralia College Financial Aid office for additional details.
Centralia College holds auditions for "Biloxi Blues"

Early in his career, playwright Neil Simon showed signs of the genius that would mark his illustrious career, but never quite so emphatically as "Biloxi Blues." Simon wrote the poignant comic masterpiece while taking basic training in that old-south locale before shipping out in WWII. Visiting Director Todd Jasmin has chosen the Simon classic as the spring play this year, and has issued a casting call for local actors and actresses who would like to tackle this charming, gritty, and biting reminiscence of those long-ago wartime years. The play contains some adult language and mature themes.

Auditions are for six men, ages 18-22; one man in his mid 40s; one woman 18-22; and one woman 30-40. Auditions will be held on Monday, April 6 from 3-5 p.m. and again Tuesday, April 7, also from 3-5 p.m. Tryouts will be at Wickstrom Studio Theatre in Washington Hall on the Centralia College campus.

Production dates for this wonderful bit of Neil Simon humor are May 7-10 and May 14-16. Those who wish to try out may contact Jasmin at 736-9391, ext. 301 or by email at

Centralia College hosts reception for Malawi dignitaries

Nkhomas and MsiskasCentralia College will host an informal reception for a pair of visiting dignitaries from Malawi, Africa. The Rev. Matiya Nkhoma and his wife Mariya have been on an extended visit to southwest Washington to discuss ongoing work at their home in Chinteche on the shores of Lake Malawi.

The reception for the distinguished visitors will take place at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 9, in the boardrooms at Centralia College. The honored guests will remain for the 5 p.m. start of the regular meeting of the Centralia College Board of Trustees so they can meet briefly with members of the board. The reception and the board meeting to follow are both open to the public, which is encouraged to attend.

Nkhoma is a veteran teacher, community leader, and clergyman in the east-central African nation. The Rev. Nkhoma was one of the primary influences of the establishment of the University of Livingstonia, near the couple's home city. Nkhoma was also instrumental in convincing former Centralia College President Hank Kirk and his wife Jenny to spend several years in Malawi, helping build the new university into a reality.

The University of Livingstonia and Centralia College enjoy a strong mutual "sister college" relationship. Faculty from each college have visited and taught at the other, and both Centralia College and the people of the Lewis County area have helped with gifts and donations to help the growing four-year African university survive its first difficult years. Malawi is regarded as the fifth poorest nation in the world; the average worker—when employment can be found—generally earns less than an equivalent US $30 a month. For that reason the support of Northwest residents has been crucial to Malawi. The enormous contribution of talent and resources made by the Kirks and other local supporters has been central to the success of one of Africa's youngest universities.

Secretary of State Sam Reed to visit Centralia College

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed will be at the college on Monday, April 13, as part of College Civic Week observances across the state. Reed will appear on the campus to exchange information and ideas with students about civic responsibility. Reed's presentation will be held in Washington Hall Room 103, from 10-10:45 a.m., and the public is invited.

Director of the college's Student Life and Involvement Center Shelley Bannish said Reed's visit will focus on community involvement as a regular function of each person's social behavior patterns. "People often think of voting as the central part of their responsibility," Bannish said, "but there are any number of actions we can take that have a lasting effect on our communities. We believe Secretary Reed will bring that kind of a wider message to our students."

"Kinship" parents face unique social and financial stresses

One of the fastest growing and disturbing social phenomena in the Lewis County area is that of adults raising the children of their near relatives. The most visible of these is grandparents stepping in because the birth parent—often a single son or daughter—is unable to provide a stable home or the parenting skills needed. Sometimes the "kinship" parent situation is caused by economic factors, drug or alcohol abuse, counter-social behaviors, or simply an inability of the birth parent to provide essential family security and parenting skills.

Across the state there are an estimated 53,000 youngsters being reared by relatives because of factors that negatively affect the actual parents. More often than not, when a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or even a sibling assumes the responsibility of parenting a child from within the family there will be financial, social, and emotional complications that follow.

A coalition of concerned agencies including Centralia College, Twin Star Credit Union, and Family Education and Support have established a free, seven-week course to help families in a "kinship" situation cope with the financial stresses brought about by an unexpected additional responsibility as a full-time parent. The once-a-week classes will use the proven curriculum "Financial Literacy" from Powerful Families to provide insights for those families that find themselves in a parenting role.

The ten weekly classes will be held at the Chehalis Twin Star location at 1555 S. Market Blvd. Participants will learn key financial principles, the ins and outs of credit, fundamentals of budgeting, how to create a savings plan, and other essential financial strategies that can ease the family crisis into which they may have been thrust. The classes offer one college credit but are free to all qualified "kinship" parents, the tuition being paid by Family Education and Support. Classes will be held from 10 a.m. until noon on Wednesdays, beginning April 8. For additional information or to register, call Linda Wilcox at 736-9391, ext. 464.

College opens massive science center, open house scheduled

New Science CenterThe talk among Centralia College staff is that the new $32 million Science Center is absolutely astounding. Faculty who will be teaching within the walls and behind the glass of the three-story structure toss in adjectives including awesome, impressive and beyond imagination. Somehow, the words fail to describe the quality of the building that positions Centralia College as a leader in science education in Washington State.

"This new building will make a tremendous difference in the quality of learning at Centralia College," said Dr. Steve Norton, assistant professor of biological sciences. "Expanded labs and enhanced equipment encourage us to be more ambitious, more innovative, more curious." He said that the new facility "removes constraints of time and space that have limited student experiments. Motivated students can pursue independent research projects with a faculty mentor" without having to tear down or put away projects to make room for another class.

And students will get a first-hand look at what it is that faculty and staff are drooling over when the building opens to students on March 30, the first day of spring quarter. It is expected that more than one-third of the college's student body will take classes in the new building. The public will be able to get its view of the building's grandeur on April 16 when the Centralia College Foundation hosts an open house, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Tours will be provided and refreshments will be served.

You might want to wear comfortable walking shoes as you take in the 70,000-square foot edifice, the largest structure on the college campus and among the largest educational buildings belonging to any of the state's two-year colleges. "It certainly is impressive," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "This Science Center, coupled with the outstanding faculty we have on staff, means that science students will receive the highest quality education possible. Top to bottom it's impressive and we invite everyone to come and take a look."

The building will house the college's sciences programs, labs, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and faculty and administrative offices. The nursing program will also take up residence in the building. There is an astronomy observation deck and the greenhouse, the working lab for the botany program, located on the third floor. The round room on the southeast corner is a "university-style" lecture hall that seats up to 96 students. The Science Center, an 18-month construction project, also qualifies and has applied for gold standard certification through the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, known as LEED. The gold standard rating demonstrates all of the innovative ways to conserve energy and to be environmentally friendly. "Green" features of the complex include sustainable construction materials, energy-efficient exterior lighting and landscaping that promotes water conservation.

New science center readied for students

The doors of the Centralia College New Science Center (NSC) will open to students March 30 for use as the cutting-edge science complex by students in a variety of studies.

It is expected that well over one-third of the college's student body will be taking classes in the new 70,000-square foot structure, the largest building on the college campus. In addition to all of its science programs, the three-story structure will house the college's nursing programs, science labs, a third-floor astronomy deck and the college's 1500-square foot greenhouse used in botany and earth sciences programs. The large round space on the southeast side is a large "university style" lecture hall with a 96-student seating capacity.

The NCS was conceived to help reverse a regional and national trend of too few science majors joining the country's research labs and production work forces. In an effort to educate students in science, technology, engineering, and math, known as STEM science fields, the college successfully sought and obtained funding for the new center. It is a facility that will help meet the demanding challenges of the STEM initiative for many years into the future. In addition to the core STEM fields, the new center will house portions of other disciplines such as Energy Technology, Allied Health Sciences, academic science requirements, and other science-based learning.

carbon footprintAs the new $32 million center was being designed, college officials determined to make it the region's first example of a truly low carbon impact, energy efficient, and sustainable-resource building. Initially aiming at a nationally-recognized LEED "silver" rating for energy efficient "green" building standards, the complex has now qualified for the U.S. Green Building Council's prestigious "gold" certification. The LEED standards indicate "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design." See related article »

The rating system considers six major areas: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. The Centralia College project has scored high enough to surpass the "Gold" engineering and construction standards. Certified buildings often use key resources more efficiently, have healthier work and living environments, and contribute to better learning and productivity. The savings incurred over time due to the lower-than-average standard operations costs, a lowered carbon footprint, and higher overall learning outcomes by science students, further mitigates many construction costs. USGBC studies suggest a 2 percent added up front investment to meet certification requirements might have as much as a 20 percent yield in reduced operating and energy costs over the life of the building.

The college's long-standing Ehret Hall and Batie Science Center were razed to make room for the new science center; Lingreen Hall, located just east of the new building, is slated for demolition during spring quarter. A community grand opening, which includes public tours of the new science center, is scheduled for April 16.

Spring Lyceum explores broad range of topics
The popular Lyceum series at Centralia College is patterned after an ancient tradition from Athens, Greece. In the heyday of Greek power and culture, scholars and soldiers would gather on the Lyceum fields to discuss philosophy, arts, politics, and events of the day. Soon common people were coming to listen to the literati and to learn more about the world beyond the Greek isles. Some even began to exchange ideas with the learned leaders and teachers, unleashing a first trickle of intellectual freedom on the world.

In the most recent incarnation of this long-ago tradition, students and the community may gather each Wednesday at Centralia College's Washington Hall to listen to scientists, philosophers, free thinkers, and artists discuss almost anything old or new under the sun. When appropriate, members of the audience may ask questions or share their thoughts or concerns on the subject. Those are often the moments that make Lyceum sparkle.

The Spring Lyceum Series kicks off on April 8 as Dr. Don Foran of Centralia College interviews Bernie Meyer, an astonishing lookalike and disciple of India's revolutionary pacifist, Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi.

On April 15 Lyceum fast-forwards three-quarters of a century to this winter's gigantic financial bailout of national banking and lending institutions. A member of the Washington Legislature will discuss "Wall Street vs. Main Street" to put the question in perspective. You may not get your dollars back, but you'll know better where they may have gone!

In the weeks that follow, Lyceum will entertain a poet who practices physical therapy, film maker John DeGraaf, animal behaviorist Dr. James Ha, legendary storyteller Will Hornyak, and other equally fascinating people.

Make it a point to keep Wednesday afternoons at 1 p.m. free for your seat at Lyceum. The spring series, which runs weekly through June 3, is free and open to the public. Check the college calendar for details.

Spring quarter begins March 30

Spring quarter classes begin on March 30. This may be one of the most important spring kickoffs in the 83 years the college has been registering students. Open registration for spring quarter is now underway and the college is accepting students. You may sign up for classes in the Student Center Building, at the corner of Centralia College Blvd. and Rock St., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

During a handful of economic downturns over the decades, the college has welcomed an influx of students who needed professional or technical training to be in a position to qualify for better-paying jobs or to keep an existing job. That trend is perhaps more true today than ever. As more companies face layoffs, it will take more and better training to qualify for or keep jobs that exist. Many people who include a four-year college degree in their career plans are taking advantage of work stoppages to get more of their essential studies completed. Many of these academic students use a temporary—or even long term—work layoff as an opportunity to pick up needed credits for transfer to a four-year college or university. With grants and other financial aid available to qualifying students, an economic recession may be a most opportune time to build on an academic inventory.

Job-related training in fields such as computers, civil engineering, energy technology, and criminal justice may enable students to upgrade their skills or work into a new, high-demand field more quickly than they might expect. The college also offers individual certificate programs to provide certifiable training in highly specialized fields. Individual certificate programs are especially valuable to workers in fields where technical growth may help secure an established job.

Those needing to improve their employability, wish to select a new career path, or want to use these uncertain times to expand their academic credentials are urged to contact the college as soon as possible. For professional workforce training or academic transfer information, and to contact a faculty member in a field you are interested, call Enrollment Services at 736-9391, ext. 221, or see Programs of Study.

Lady Blazers league champions

The Centralia College women's basketball team clawed its way to the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) league championship, reaching that perch with a 66-52 win over the Tacoma Community College Titans. The talented Lady Blazers posted a 15-1 league record and a 23-3 record overall.

Tournament action begins March 5 in Kennewick with a first-round game against Columbia Basin, the fourth place team in the East division. That contest will begin at 4 p.m. Game action can be followed at and going to the Cybercasts link. The NWAACC link also has the bracket pairings for the tournament.

The Lady Blazers lone league game loss came at the hands of South Puget Sound Community College, but the Blazers rebounded from that game to beat SPSCC in the rematch and twice defeated Lower Columbia College, the Division's second best team. Columbia Basin, even though it is seeded fourth, is the defending champion and considered one of the tougher matchups the Lady Blazers could have faced to open the tournament.

Economist to speak at Centralia College

The Centralia College Foundation and Union Bank of California are bringing the most current forecasts for the new year's economy to this area. The presentation will provide local business and industry leaders with an expert's perspective on the fiscal climate and predicted business conditions. The program takes place Tuesday, Feb. 24, from 5–7 p.m. in the administrative boardrooms in the Hanson building on the college campus.

The forecast will be presented by Kei Matsuda, senior economist for Union Bank and manager of the far-flung investment research activities of the bank. He is known nationally for his work in macroeconomics and is based at Union Bank centers in California. Union Bank has been involved in managing investment accounts for the Centralia College Foundation.

The Economic Outlook meeting is free and open to the public, according to Julie Johnson, director of Donor and Alumni Relations for the Centralia College Foundation. "Our relationship with Union Bank has given us an opportunity to bring current economic forecasts to the Twin Cities," Johnson said. "We're always pleased to share this information as part of our commitment of support to the community." Johnson said the presentation should also prove beneficial to individuals who manage their own investment or retirement accounts.

For further information about the event, please call the foundation at (360) 736-9391, ext. 290.

College endowment honors pioneer farm family

A pioneering Salzer Valley farm couple has been honored with an endowment in their memory at Centralia College. The four children of Doris and Clarence Watterson established the scholarship endowment to recognize the contributions their parents made to farming and community life in and around Centralia.

The four children: Marilyn (Watterson) Weinstein, along with Ed, Bill, and Jim Watterson, chose the endowment as a means of keeping their parent's legacy alive. The Wattersons were firm supporters of education, athletics, family values, and their church and community. Ironically, neither Doris nor Clarence was able to attend college (he was valedictorian of the 1929 class at Centralia High School) because of the Great Depression. They were careful to ensure all four of their youngsters went to Centralia College.

The elder Wattersons moved to Centralia from Montana with their respective families—and not yet married—soon after the First World War. They started farming the valley after they married and together established the family "Sunrise" dairy just east of Centralia. They began a milk route. It was one of the larger family dairy farms in the area; milk sold for 8 cents a quart in those days before widespread refrigeration—and delivery started at 2a.m.!

In their decades together, their farm tucked under a hill along the east side of Salzer Valley earned them a "Lewis County Dairy Family of the Year" award. The Wattersons participated in the SWW Fair and the Puyallup Fair for many years, garnering literally dozens of "Grand Prize" and "Best in Show" awards. Doris earned the title of "Southwest Washington Fair Homemaker of the Year" for her tireless efforts.

Family life was marked by a love of the land and nature, gardening, picking wild berries, fishing, hunting, camping, clam digging, a ride through the country, or just a stroll in the woods with friends. They were 50-year members of the Grange, Elks, and over 30 years in the Lewis County Dairyman's Association and the Salzer Valley Community Club.

Their children perhaps said it best when they wrote in establishing the endowment through the Centralia College Foundation, "Centralia was their town, Centralia First Methodist was their church, and Salzer was their valley. Centralia College was the first stop for all four children after high school, and after we were grown and gone they continued their keen support of Little League, high school and college sports, community, and church events."

Doris and Clarence Watterson were indeed part of Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation." May the society they forged for all of us be always honored by the family's generous monument to their enduring legacy.

Financial aid workshops planned

Whether you're planning to attend classes online or sit in a college classroom, you may want to explore opportunities for financial support for your college education. Centralia College is offering two financial aid workshops that may be just what you need. These workshops will provide directions for plugging into FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid program that is key to just about everything financial you need for your college journey. The workshops are:

Feb. 4, 4:30 to 7 p.m., Washington Hall (Centralia campus), room 209
Feb. 12, 4:30 to 7 p.m., Washington Hall (Centralia campus), room 209

Those who might be attending at Centralia College East (Morton) should check in at the college's facility at 701 Airport Way in Morton. You are asked to bring a copy of your 2008 tax return and a W-2 statement (or your most recent pay stub). Staff will answer questions you might have. Contact the college's office of Financial Aid for details: (360) 736-9391, ext. 234, or e-mail:

The Brothers Four return to Centralia College

The Brothers Four

One of America's top folk groups will make a triumphant return to the Corbet Theatre stage at Centralia College in January. The Brothers Four, a Seattle-based group that helped usher in the heyday of American folk music in the 1960s is one of the few headliners still performing today. The pioneering group brought out such hits as "Greenfields," "Try to Remember," "Yellow Bird," and dozens of others. The appeal of the group hasn't diminished in the slightest around the world. The four current members, including founder and bassist Bob Flick, perform literally hundreds of concerts for enthusiastic fans around the world. They have appeared with jazz greats and classical symphonies, played for four US presidents, and done thousands of concerts at colleges everywhere.

After their initial concert at Corbet Theatre two years ago, patrons were heard describing the event as "the best evening of entertainment we've ever enjoyed here at home." We're sure you'll agree after this January's concert. The all-acoustic presentation consists of guitars, banjo, mandolin, upright bass, and—of course—the trademark rich blend of their four voices. The evening of January 24 will be an unforgettable time of pure, acoustic music and a level of entertainment that warms the heart. The Brother Four will appear on the Corbet stage at 7 p.m., and you'll want to be there for every moment of the magic. Tickets are $25 for students and seniors, $30 for reserved auditorium seating, $35 for "Golden Circle" seating down front, and $40 for limited, select box seating. It's not too early to reserve your seats for this splendid night of music—or to buy seats as a gift for the folk music fans in your family. Call ext. 777 for reservations or details. See Coming Events for more information.

College offers online scholarship application

Finances should not be a barrier to getting a college education and the Centralia College Foundation is taking steps to ensure that they aren't. The foundation is making available scholarships that can pay all or significant portions of college tuition at Centralia College. Applications are available online or through the college and are due by March 2. Last year the foundation awarded more than $276,000 in scholarships to students who are currently enrolled. The foundation expects to exceed that amount for the 2009-10-college year.

"There is a significant amount of money available for this coming year," said Dr. Michael Grubiak, vice president of Students. "Given the economic conditions it makes sense to take advantage of every opportunity to help pay for an education." Grubiak said that a single application will apply for all scholarships and that an evaluation team will match each applicant with an appropriate scholarship.

An online application is available on the Centralia College Web site at: The electronic or the printed form will be accepted. Call (360) 736-9391, ext. 220, to request a printed form or to get further information about the scholarship program.

"Most high school students who receive a scholarship have a 3.0 grade-point average. High school valedictorians and salutatorians receive full scholarships if they attend Centralia College," added Grubiak, "but they still need to apply." Scholarship recipients will be announced during spring quarter.

Lyceum speaker to examine Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Next Wednesday's Lyceum program at Centralia College couldn't be more timely. Middle east political expert Steve Niva, on faculty at The Evergreen State College, will present "Envisioning a Just Peace Between Israelis and Palestinians." Niva earned his PhD in Political Science and Middle-East Studies at Columbia University and serves on several bodies studying the present range of conflicts in the Middle East.

Dr. Niva's program comes as Palestine's Hamas continues to fire rockets into southern Israel and Israel retaliates with bombing attacks aimed at Hamas leaders and a massing of troops along the Israel-Palestine border. National tempers are running high as Hamas and Palestinian leaders have been urged by Egypt and other moderate Arab nations to call a cease-fire. Israel, meanwhile has also been asked to suspend military operations. The U.S., Britain, France, and other allies have suggested a cooling off period so political negotiations can begin.

Steve Niva earned his PhD in Political Science and Middle East Studies at Columbia University and is intimately familiar with the events that maintain tensions between the warring nations. Niva will presumably discuss those and the various scenarios that may reflect the long- and short-range outcomes of today's firefights. Niva's program will be on Wednesday, Jan. 21 in Corbet Theatre on the college campus. Centralia College's popular Lyceum series is presented every Wednesday at 1 p.m., bringing a host of programs examining news, current events, trends, and world concerns. All Lyceum programs are free and open to the public.

LPN, RN programs receive full accreditation

nursing students

Following a six-year process the Centralia College Nursing program has received full accreditation from the state's nursing training regulatory agency, the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC). "This means that we have the full approval, the full blessing that is needed to offer our RN and LPN programs," said Nola Ormrod, Nursing programs director. Accreditation signifies that the college meets all standards of quality and that nursing graduates will be eligible to apply for licensure.

The college has been operating its RN program, a two-year course of study, under a conditional agreement since training began in 2004 pending the accreditation review. The accreditation will be valid for eight years before another review is required. The LPN, a one-year program, had previously been accredited. Accreditation involves a self-study that requires the college to detail its curricula and teaching practices, evaluate the teaching and support staff and review the quality of the facilities and training equipment. This is followed by a site visit from the NCQAC and a commission evaluation of all information.

There are 24 students currently enrolled in RN training, the maximum number admissible. The program had a graduation rate of over 90 percent this past year. According to Ormrod, most students take employment at either Providence or St. Peter's hospitals while a few move on for another year of study. "The demand for LPNs and RNs is still very strong and will continue," said Ormrod.

The Commission singled out the college's new Science Center stating, "The program will be moving into a beautiful new Science building in summer 2009. A tour of the building showed wonderful physical facility resources for the nursing program." And now the college's Nursing programs have the highest level of approval the state can offer. See the Nursing program web site for more information.

College's Health and Wellness Center opens

Nearly nine months after the remodel project began, the Centralia College Health and Wellness Center, which houses the gym, opened. College faculty, staff and guests of the Centralia College Foundation got a first look at the results of the $5 million remodel effort. The foundation hosted the reception. "This facility is truly a work of art," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "The efforts of the architect and the general contractor reflect a tremendous amount of professionalism and attention to detail. Their work restores the look and feel of the original Centralia High School gym and couples it with modern efficiency. This is exciting. This facility should serve the college and the community for a long, long time. We are very proud of it."

Over 100 people attended the Dec. 10 event, which was hosted by the foundation. Workers had just finished installing the $55,000 scoreboard and media board, an electronic panel that makes use of LED technology. Also included in the remodel are new men's and women's locker rooms, a concession enclosure and ticket office, meeting rooms, fitness labs, and a brick court at the north entrance. The new north entrance, off Walnut Street, leads into the college's Hall of Fame, a storyboard of Trailblazer lore. A few members of past teams were on hand to help open the remodeled facility. The gym was ready for the college's home basketball games, which were held Dec. 13. Equipment for exercise, training, weight rooms, and the fitness labs will be added during the college's winter break. All, according to Bob Peters, the college's athletic director, will be in place by the opening of college classes Jan. 5. "We've got some tweaking to do, some minor stuff," said Peters. "But it will be ready."

Student newspaper publishes online

The blue&gold, Centralia College's award-winning student newspaper, recently published its first edition of the 2008-09 college year. The newspaper is appearing now only in an online edition at

According to Christina Crea, editor, the move to an online-only edition means that the blue&gold can offer more information and be more timely with information and features than was possible with the semi-quarterly print publication. Content could be added daily or as stories are filed by the newspaper staff.

"We will be able to get students involved more rapidly and increase their awareness of happenings on campus," said Crea. She said the new student publication will report student and college life and events in a similar manner to the printed version but will be more multi-faceted by adding videos, podcasts, and blogging. The capability of including videos provides a greater depth of coverage and allows staff to do a lot more in terms of engaging students, said Crea. As the newspaper grows, Crea said that students will have access to classified-type advertisements, connections for book exchanges, and carpooling opportunities among other personal and college-related types of information. The online publication will continue to evolve, according to Crea and TR Gratz, faculty advisor. Although content will be loaded continually, both indicated that a finished product could be years away. "We are learning bit by bit and adding pieces as we learn," said Gratz.

digital scoreboard 12/11/08
Scoreboard, media board light up Blazer games

Centralia College Trailblazer fans will have something new to get excited about when they attend this year's home basketball games. A state-of-the-art $55,000 scoreboard and media board system will be operational. The media board, which will greet attendees as they enter the gym from its new north entrance, is the first of its kind at any two-year college between Portland and Tacoma. The scoreboards are mounted on the east and west walls.

"It's going to add class and excitement to our games," said Steve Ward, the college's vice president for Finance and Administration and executive director of the foundation. The new system was purchased with funds raised through the on-going foundation capital campaign. The remodel of the Health and Wellness Center, which houses the gym, has just been completed at a cost of $5 million.

The media board makes use of light emitting diode (LED) technology and can be used to display images of players, game statistics, public announcements, advertisements, and will encourage fans through a variety of pre-programmed visuals to get more involved in game action. The media board, similar to the type of electronic board found at major colleges, is controlled via a computer while the scoreboard is controlled through wireless connectivity.

"This remodel with the addition of the media board is a real improvement that has been long overdue," said Ward. The building was constructed in 1935 as the Centralia High School gym. "The architect and the contractor have done a remarkable job of keeping the heritage of this facility intact while bringing its functionality up to modern standards," said Ward. He added that interviews had been conducted with individuals who played in the original gym to get feedback on the look and feel of the original gym. The results of those interviews have been incorporated into the remodel.

The first home game is Dec. 13 when the Blazer women host North Seattle Community College beginning at 3 p.m.; the men play Whatcom Community College with a tip off at 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

Centralia College home opener at Centralia High

The Centralia College Blazer home opening basketball game against Olympic College will take place Thursday, Dec. 4, in the Centralia High School gym, beginning at 8 p.m. While the game had been scheduled to be the first on the new gym court, the contractor continues to wrap up some work before handing over the facility to the college.

No specific date has been set for the availability of the gym, the centerpiece of the remodeled Health and Wellness Center. The transfer will depend on when the contractor finishes minor work that needs to be completed. "We're disappointed but we understand," said Bob Peters, Centralia College athletic director. "Believe me, it will be worth the wait." It is hoped that the game scheduled for Dec. 13 against Whatcom College may take place in the college gym but that decision cannot yet be made.

The college is planning a public grand opening event for the Health and Wellness Center for Jan. 10, when the Blazer men's and women's teams host South Puget Sound Community College. The Centralia College Health and Wellness Center remodel is a $5 million project that includes $4 million from state sources and the remainder raised as part of the Centralia College Foundation capital campaign.

College teams with Saint Martins University

Earning a baccalaureate degree without leaving the Centralia College campus is possible through a partnership between the Centralia two-year college and Saint Martins University, based in Lacey. Students can now earn their four-year degree in criminal justice or elementary education without setting foot on the university campus. Students who complete their first two years in these programs at Centralia College and continue the process toward the four-year degree are able to do so without the drive to Lacey. To introduce people to the program, Saint Martins University is hosting an open house Tuesday, Dec. 2, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., in Kemp Hall, room 101, on the college campus.

"There is a pressing need for people in these fields," said John Martins, vice president of Instruction at Centralia College. "This partnership opens a door for those who want or need the four-year degree. Saint Martins University is a prestigious partner and this relationship will make is easier for both of us to serve students." Another advantage for the student is that he or she would pay the lower Centralia College tuition for the first two years of the program.

The open house will give individuals the opportunity to ask questions about a Bachelor's in Education with Endorsements in Elementary Education; teacher certification with Endorsements in Elementary Education; a Master's in Teaching; professional certification; Early Childhood Endorsement; and other endorsement courses available on the Centralia College campus.

"The ability to prepare people for secure jobs in growing fields is part of the mission of Centralia College," said Martens, "and this goal is behind our efforts to team with Saint Martins University." For information on the four-year degree program please contact Carla Jacobs on the Centralia College campus by calling 736-9391, ext. 414, or Dave White at 736-9391, ext. 229.

Centralia College celebrates Disability Awareness Day

Centralia College will recognize Disability Awareness Day on Wednesday, Oct. 29, with a series of on-campus events. Highlighting the day will be the theatrical production of "Not Just Ramps" at 11:00 am in the Wickstrom Theatre, and a subsequent workshop that explores issues of inclusion, fighting bias and accessing the workplace and community.

Continuing the recognition, there will be a one-hour documentary film, "Right To Risk," at 1:00 pm in Corbet Theatre. The film chronicles eight individuals, who each has a significant disability, on a 15-day, 225-mile whitewater rafting adventure through the Grand Canyon. Both shows will bring awareness to the community at large about abilities and challenges of individuals living life with a disabling condition. For further information or to find out more about how Centralia College works with people with disabilities, contact Barbara Oswald at 736-9391, ext. 320.

Pat Pringle 10/24/08
New Roadside Geology book by Pat Pringle released

Earth Sciences associate professor Pat Pringle will hold a book signing during the Cenralia College Bookstore's Signing & Social on Wednesday, Oct. 29, from 1:30-2:45 p.m. The event takes place in the Centralia College bookstore, located in the basement of the Student Center Building. Everyone is invited, the books will be for sale. The new book, "Roadside Geology of Mount Rainier National Park and Vicinity" was released in August. The new publication joins Pringle's very popular "Roadside Geology of Mount St. Helens," published earlier.

At the time the first book was written, Pringle was assigned to the Cascades Volcano Observatory. He spent eight years there during and after the big eruptions and later worked with the Washington Department of Natural Resources for about 15 years, chronicling the past eruptive history of Mount Rainier. Pringle's research into age-dating the most recent catastrophic mudflows, or "lahars" at Mount Rainier have given scientists new insights into the destructive forces that could threaten much of the development between the mountain and Seattle if another lahar event occurs in the near future.

"Roadside Geology of Mount Rainier National Park and Vicinity" is an up-to-date book on volcanic processes past and present in the Pacific Northwest, illustrating both the beauty and the hazards of our state's largest volcano. The book covers the volcanic zone from about I-5 to the west, SR 410 to the north, Yakima on the east, and SR 12 to the south. The 200-page, four-color book is written for anyone with a basic understanding of geology and is designed for ease of use. The centerpiece is the log of the roads to and through the park. Each of the 15 road logs has expanded geologic maps of the route and a mile-by-mile narrative describing the geology and other natural features.

The book contains more than 290 photos and illustrations, some of them historic and most in color. The book was funded in part by the National Scenic Byways program of the Federal Highway Administration. Pringle's new book can be ordered online by contacting or visiting the Department of printing in person.

Regional Latino Youth Summit scheduled

The sixth annual Latino Youth Summit will take place Wednesday, Oct. 29, at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts on the South Puget Sound Community College campus. Regional higher education institutions, including SPSCC, St. Martin's University, and The Evergreen State College, join with Centralia College to support and, on an alternating rotation, host the Summit.

The Latino Youth Summit, sponsored by The Hispanic Roundtable, will bring together 450 students from Thurston, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Grays Harbor counties for a wide variety of workshops, highlighted by keynote speaker retired Lt. Col. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, the highest ranking Hispanic female in the U.S. Army's Combat Support Field. This year's theme, "Ayer. Hoy. ¿Y Mañana? Yesterday. Today. What about tomorrow?" particularly stresses the importance of education in empowering today's Latino and Hispanic students. While Kickbusch will discuss her military background and upbringing, her main focus will be on education and its importance in goal achievement and in building a successful future.

The workshops will cover a multitude of topics, including applying for college and financial aid, youth-led media production, immigration, financial literacy, insights into specific careers such as trades, teaching, public safety and nursing, and fostering healthy relationships. The event also will feature a workshop and performance from Mariachi Huenachi, Wenatchee High School's award-winning mariachi group. Formed in 1994 as a way to give Hispanic and Latino migrant students an activity that both promoted involvement in school and pride in their heritage, the group has performed across the state.

Register online at Registration forms, full workshop descriptions and other documents can also be downloaded. Space is limited to the first 450 registrants.

Ken Kimball 10/16/08
Centralia College to honor longtime music professor

A popular professor and celebrated northwest musician, Ken Kimball, will be honored at a dedication ceremony at Centralia College on Friday, Oct. 24, at 3 p.m. in the studio adjacent to Corbet Theatre in Washington Hall. The principal musical rehearsal studio in Washington Hall will be officially named the "Kenneth V. Kimball Music Studio" in his memory. Kimball was music director at Centralia College from 1955 until his retirement in 1990. Enrollment at the college grew from about 200 students to over 2,000 while Kimball guided the music department from a fledgling elective to a major fine arts program. Along the way, Ken Kimball became known throughout the Northwest as a gifted pianist, composer, and arranger.

Born in Seattle in 1928, Kimball built his love of music into a lifetime affair, playing with jazz groups and such famed aggregations as the Glenn Miller and David Rose orchestras. In demand as an accompanist, Kimball played for such star-quality entertainers as Eartha Kitt, Jack Jones, Shari Lewis, Gordon McCrae, and Red Skelton. His college musical companions included Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, and Ray Charles. It was, however, always his family and his students around whom Kimball's attention was centered. Following his retirement after 35 years at Centralia College, Kimball continued to show his unwavering devotion to the community and the college. He played in college jazz concerts for Dr. Donna Huffman, introduced original compositions or arrangements to his church choir, and was always willing to perform for community groups and causes.

Weekly Lyceum returns to Centralia College

One of the most popular ongoing programs at Centralia College—the weekly Lyceum—returns to the Corbet Theatre stage on Wednesday, Oct. 1 for a fourth season of fascinating programs. Lyceum was a function in ancient Athens, where Greek scholars gathered with soldiers and common folks to discuss the issues of the day. It was perhaps the only place where everyone¹s ideas and wit had equal status. Lyceum retains that same intellectual equality today.

The first program in the fall Lyceum series is "Affluenza—the Dreaded Disease of Runaway Consumerism." Based on excerpts from the award-winning PBS video by KCTS' John deGraaf in Seattle. Centralia College's Carmen VanTuyl will lead the discussion that will follow. Questions and comments will center around the notion that American consumers are being manipulated by TV advertising and are wasting more money on unnecessary things than on the important needs of life.

Week two of the fall Lyceum looks at quite the opposite situation: a parallel society that has no money to spend on even the most basic of necessities. Rebecca Reibestein of Lewis County's Public health office discusses "Wealth and Poverty in Namibia" during the October 8 presentation. Among the third world's poorest nations, Namibia nonetheless is witness to a wide disparity between the haves and the have-nots.

On October 15, Oregon storyteller Will Hornyak tries to balance the act as he presents "The Paradox of Affluence as Communicated in Story." In light of diminishing resources and the over-reaching influence of advertising, there may be no true middle ground! Lyceum is presented every Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Corbet Theatre on the Centralia College campus. The public is warmly invited and programs are free of charge. See the Fall 2008 Lyceum Schedule.

Robert O'Neill09/23/08
Capital fundraiser energized, enters new phase

The Centralia College Foundation has launched a capital campaign to raise $3 million to outfit and support three new college structures by providing equipment and furnishings not provided for through state funding sources. The Foundation reports the actual Capital Campaign was jump-started with a $500,000 donation from TransAlta and $50,000 from the Associated Students of Centralia College last April. Recent gifts of $100,000 from the Robert H. O'Neill family and a similar amount from the Cunningham family have raised the total to well over a million dollars to date.

"We've raised more than a third of our goal already," said Steve Ward, Foundation executive director, "but the really energized portion of the campaign doesn't begin until now." Ward emphasized that campaign volunteers still need to raise nearly $2 million to meet unfunded construction, equipment, and program needs associated with three major construction projects.

Nearing completion is the college's Science Center, a three-story, 70,000-square foot state-of-the-art learning facility for physical, natural, and health sciences. The center will allow Centralia College to compete for top students in science, technology, engineering, math, and other sciences. Also scheduled for opening by the end of the year is a completely refurbished Health and Wellness Center, which includes the college's gym. College officials felt it was wisest to rebuild the venerable old Centralia High School gym, one of the last remaining "art-deco" architect examples in the region. The revamped structure will provide superior space for college and community health programs and facilities, allowing even greater public use of the building. The upgrades are costing only a fraction of a similar new construction. The remodel, according to Ward, is one of the best bargains going since $4 million of the $5 million cost is funded through state sources and grants.

On the drawing board is a new College Commons, a multi-use facility that will include new "smart" classrooms, all Student Services offices and functions, a cafeteria, expanded dining facilities for community use, and several study areas for informal student use. The Commons is expected to become a focal point of student activity and alumni contact with the college.

Each of the three projects needs about $1 million to cover essential equipment and furnishings not provided by state funding. Capital Campaign volunteer leaders feel certain the community will respond generously to the new construction projects on the Centralia College campus. For more information on the Capital Campaign or on the three current projects, please call Julie Johnson at the Centralia College Foundation, 736-9391, ext. 290.

Gordon Aadland06/17/08
Gordon Aadland addresses 2008 graduating class

View 2008 Commencement slideshow
Retired faculty member Gordon Aadland recognized those who have played a part in the making of Centralia College and affirmed to graduates that they are now part of that history, in his commencement address on June 13:

You graduates are probably wondering, "What's the old guy doing up there? What does he have in common with us?" It's this: I was a part of the greatest movement in higher education in the 20th century—the early days of the community college movement. If you think that's hyperbole, ask yourself, "What was greater than making college available to everyone—not just the rich kids? And now, in the 21st century, you have taken it and made it even better.

From this vantage point, it's hard to ignore that wondrous new science building that Jim Walton, Steve Ward, and some of the rest of you have created. That monster that ate the college campus. So, it's a good time to remind you (and myself) that buildings don't make a college; people do. All of you, and those who have been here before, are Centralia College.

Almost every time I come on campus, I feel the presence of two grand ladies—Miss Corbet and Miss Kemp, who kept the doors open twice when they easily could have closed, during the Depression and during World War II, when enrollment was down to the fifties. They seem to be asking, "What are they doing to our college?" and I assure them it is in good hands. But I want to tell you about a few more of the thousands who have become part of the warp and the woof of this thing called Centralia College. These are some of the people who devoted much of their lives to this college and haven't had much recognition. I won't mention those egomaniacs who have put their names on signs all over the campus.

Bob Godsey was an excellent teacher of mathematics in my time, but he spent his spare time in the stacks in the library, reading remote 17th century literature when he didn't even have to. And he enjoyed it! Put together his long career on the staff plus his many years of retirement, and he has attended more than 50 of these Centralia College graduation ceremonies. Greater love hath no man! So far today I haven't spotted him. He must have heard I was speaking. Oh, I hope he is here! If I broke his string, I’d have a deep guilt complex!

When Ken Kimball was a student at the University of Washington, he was a young pianist in a major jazz movement in Seattle. Other members of his group included Quincy Jones and Ray Charles. Later when Ken taught at Centralia College, whenever such noted singers of the time as Eartha Kitt, Jack Jones, Jaye P. Morgan and Gordon MacCrae came to Seattle or Portland to entertain, they sent for Ken to accompany them.

Alice White, having grown up on a farm near Boistfort, became the college's first Margaret Corbet scholar. Later, as Alice Forth, she returned to the college as a secretarial science teacher and dean of students. Her younger brother, David White, was student president of Centralia College, and came back to the college as a history teacher and student finances director. He is still here, sitting right out there, having spent more years on this campus than anyone else in its history. May he never retire.

Jim Ritter was disabled in Viet Nam, badly burned and he had difficulty speaking, but the college hired him as a custodian, helping him to care for his mother. As a custodian Jim became as much a part of this college as any teacher or administrator. He loved this college; the college loved him. When I saw him on campus, he was either working or talking to students and he attended their activities—basketball games, plays, music concerts, even after retirement. He could be out there tonight.

But I don't want to include only the big successes among those that make up this college. Those with negative contributions are a part of Centralia College too. In the 1970s, one of our new science instructors claimed that he could converse with the birds, even chickens. Now I envy his ability to talk with birds; I myself would love to sing a duet with a meadowlark. But chickens?! I am told they are the dumbest creatures on earth. What kind of a conversation would that be? Duh? Duh. This same teacher told his students that on the last day of school that year he was going to perform open-heart surgery on one of the dogs that always hung around the campus. Sure enough, on the last day, two frantic coeds rushed to the office of the dean of instruction and informed him it was about to happen. The dean rushed to the classroom and pulled the dog out of a tub of ice water. The dog didn't even pause to shake itself. It zipped across campus and was never seen again—no doubt feeling that college life was not for him.

During those years of campus unrest in the 1970s there was only a small protest group on this campus, but they were a big pain to the administration. Their leader was Jay, a tall lad with long dirty blonde hair, in hippie garb and always going barefoot. One day a custodian found a sleeping bag and some personal effects in the attic of one of our buildings. They belonged to Jay. He had been living there, one of the community college's few live-in students. Jay might be out there, hovering with Miss Corbet and Miss Kemp, and he might be down here in the audience. I wouldn't recognize him because he is probably neatly shorn and wearing an Arrow shirt, a necktie, and a suit with a Kiwanis button in the lapel.

In a little while, someone will call out your name, and you'll be walking up these steps. When you walk down, you'll be a part of the past of Centralia College, just like me and those I've told you about. But you all come back, do you hear? We'll keep the light on for you—the light of learning.

Dr. Jody Peterson named Interim PTK Coordinator

Dr. Jody Peterson, an associate professor of history and political science at Centralia College, has been appointed Interim Coordinator for the Greater Northwest Region by Phi Theta Kappa's Executive Director, Rod A. Risley.

Each of Phi Theta Kappa's 29 regions is directed by a Regional Coordinator who is also an experienced chapter advisor. Regional Coordinators facilitate the integral relationships among chapters in the region, between Phi Theta Kappa and the chapters and between the Society and the two-year colleges within the region.

The appointments of Peterson followed a review of nominations submitted by advisors and college presidents in their regions. Dr. Peterson has served as Phi Theta Kappa advisor to the Iota Omega Chapter at Centralia, for five years.

"Serving as Interim Regional Coordinator provides significant professional leadership opportunities and significant exposure for the individual's college," said Risley. "Education leaders throughout the state will come to respect their leadership ability, as we have at Phi Theta Kappa. Jody's participation in Phi Theta Kappa's international conferences and programs will position her in the educational arena as an individual who is committed to providing students and faculty with quality academic programming."

Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in American higher education with 1,250 chapters on two-year and community college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than two million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 100,000 students inducted annually.

Students pledge $50K to support building projects

The Associated Students of Centralia College have given an emphatic vote of confidence to the college’s future, and to the major building expansion taking place on the Centralia campus. The students authorized a donation of $50,000 to the Capital Campaign that will fund completion of three major construction projects. The $50,000 contribution was in addition to a student-generated initiative that will eventually raise several million dollars for construction and operation of a new College Commons building. It joins the New Science Center and a major renovation of the gym and health/wellness center in the current expansion program.

The latest donation was announced at the Centralia College Foundation campaign kickoff on May 16 by David Peterson, ASCC president. The funds come from self-imposed student collections to a Campus Project Reserve, which can be spent at the discretion of the student officer governing board. The students, according to Shelley Bannish, director of Student Life and Involvement, earmarked the new donation to support student activities, International student interests, and diversity functions in the new College Commons facility. Centralia College students have always been very strong supporters of growth and improvement on the campus, Bannish said. Prior to the opening of Washington Hall, the college’s newest academic facility and theatre setting, students raised money for the extensive computer commons, added arts and performance support facilities, and other desirable features to that building. An earlier generation of students showed the same level of financial support for the Kirk Library and Learning Center when it was built. The Science Center and the refurbished gym and health/wellness center are expected to be completed by the end of the year, although classes may not move into either until 2009. The timetable for construction of the College Commons is not yet firm.

As UW and other state schools fill up, Centralia College steps into the gap

According to an Associated Press story that moved over the weekend, today’s high school students aiming to go to the University of Washington are being rejected at record levels. UW officials have sorted through about 20,000 applications from potential freshman students. They’ve turned away or put on waiting lists about 8,000 of the students. Both numbers are records for the school. And it is not because the applicants are lacking. Those that have been accepted are also setting record high averages of 1,211 in the SAT and 3.72 grade point averages. The turned-away students are caught up in a numbers game. They are part of the "baby boom echo," the children of post-World War II baby boomers. Simply put, there are a lot of 18-year-olds out there seeking a college degree. Applicants are also up 12 percent at Washington State University and 7 percent at Western Washington University.

And it is not just happening in Washington state. This year’s senior class is the biggest in this nation’s history at 3.3 million. And a higher number is forecast for next year’s senior class. The "boom" will likely peak and start to drop down to 3.2 million high school seniors for the class of 2013. There are other options, however, including the community college system in Washington state. We’re fortunate that here in the Hub City, we have the excellent Centralia College. Along with high academic standards at our local community college, another attractive aspect is the low cost. Tuition per quarter is a bargain at $910. About 10,400 students took up that bargain price at the school last year. We’ve long been an advocate of academic opportunities in America being a great equalizer in our society. Centralia College is certainly doing its part.

For students currently enrolled, the college made it clear that there is plenty of financial aid support. Funds are available for flood victims if they enroll at Centralia College. Another program called Opportunity Grants will pay all tuition, fees, books and some equipment costs to assist low-income families (enrollees must enter one of nine programs that are in high-demand fields of employment). The Worker Retraining program at Centralia College reaches out to unemployed who are looking to gain skills and knowledge for a new career. WorkFirst gives financial aid to people with children (this program requires enrollment in one of Centralia College’s professional or technical schools). And finally, for those impacted by the closure of TransAlta’s mine in late 2006, $500,000 was set aside for all former miners and their dependents to pay for college.

Another program that can help students with their education at Centralia College is its Tuition Payment Plan, where the $910 cost per quarter is broken down into monthly payments, getting rid of the requirement of the larger lump sum every three months. "The cost of going to college shouldn’t be a barrier to almost anyone who wants to come to Centralia College," said college President Jim Walton.

The leadership at our local community college is to be commended. The improvements at Centralia College continue at a fast pace. Just this past Friday, as reported in The Chronicle, a new effort aimed at improvement kicked off. The college officially announced the beginning of a $3 million drive called Centralia College Foundation’s Capital Campaign. The money will go toward three main projects, with the majority coming from state funding. The three projects are the new $32 million Science Center under construction today; a renovation of the Health and Wellness Center; and a new College Commons.

We want to acknowledge and thank TransAlta as on Friday President Walton announced that the Alberta-based power company has agreed to start off the Foundation’s Capital Campaign with a donation of $500,000. "Local colleges are the eye to the future," said Doug Jackson, president of TransAlta’s U.S. operations. "We are exceptionally proud of our long-standing relationship with Centralia College."

For those students having a hard time breaking into schools such as the University of Washington, or those that can’t afford to leave home and pay the higher tuition (UW projects it costs a student $6,385 in tuition, $8,337 in room and board, $2,265 in personal expenses, and $396 in transportation costs, for a grand annual total of $18,391 to attend that school this past year), our Centralia College offers a vibrant and very doable opportunity for educational success.
(Made available here with permission from The Chronicle)

Commencement set for June 13

On Friday, June 13, Centralia College will hold its 82nd commencement ceremony. More than 138,000 students have attended the college since the first graduation was held in 1926. The 4 p.m. commencement will be held on the steps of Kirk Library, with ample room for audience seating on the lawns and esplanade in front of the library and around the central clocktower. The ceremony was moved outside several years ago to accommodate the overflow crowds that formerly filled the gymnasium every spring.

A short processional, led by senior faculty Beverley Gestrine, will begin at 3:50 p.m. and will be followed by welcoming remarks and introductions by Dr. Jim Walton, college president. Walton will also introduce the 2008 Distinguished Alumnus award recipient and 1953 graduate Mr. John Sato, now a prominent architect and developer in Seattle. Following brief remarks from Mr. Sato and a musical selection by Megan Tyrrell, the principal commencement address will be delivered by Gordon Aadland, retired faculty member and popular area newspaper columnist, for whom the central college pedestrian esplanade has been named.

While more than 500 students will receive degrees or certificates this year, only about 200 are expected to participate in the commencement exercise. There is no limit to the number of guests any student may invite to the event. David Peterson, president of the Associate Students of Centralia College, will present the student address. Dr. Michael Grubiak will then present the outstanding student awards and trustee chairman Frank DeVaul will introduce Centralia College’s All-Washington Academic Team honorees. College vice president John Martens will present the class of 2008, while trustees DeVaul and Margaret Sundstrom will present the diplomas and certificates. Trustee DeVaul will officially certify the graduates according to state protocol and Dr. Walton will conclude the commencement celebration with his closing remarks. A reception sponsored by the Student Programs Department will follow in the college cafeteria.

John Sato named Distinguished Alumnus

John SatoA former Adna standout athlete, Centralia College alumnus, and successful Seattle architect and developer has been named the 2008 recipient of the Centralia College Distinguished Alumnus award. John Sato, a 1953 graduate of the college, overcame significant obstacles to earn a reputation as a gifted architect and progressive developer. Sato has been tapped to become the 31st recipient of the college’s highest honor.

The Sato family built a thriving farming enterprise near the old town site of Littell, where their neat-as-a-pin family farm was a source of community pride and a testament to the legendary work ethic of Japanese-Americans in the Northwest. John Sato was still a boy when his life was torn asunder by the invasion of Pearl Harbor. Sato, along with his parents, brothers, and one sister, were snatched from the family farm and sent to an internment camp at Tule Lake, California. "We came back when the camp closed," Sato recalled, "but our lives had changed." After Sato’s mother had died in the tents at Tule Lake, his father was determined to keep the family together on the Adna area farmstead.

Upon his graduation from high school, where Sato gained a reputation as a regional star athlete and popular student, he enrolled at then Centralia Junior College. His classmate, roommate, and best friend from the class of ’53 was current Centralia College trustee Dr. George Mohoric. The pair has remained fast friends for over half a century. "We lived at the old Fords Prairie fire station," Sato explained, "and we got to drive the fire truck if there was a fire." Then he laughed. "George only got to drive to two fires," Sato chuckled, "and one of those was a false alarm."

Soon after Sato graduated from Centralia College he was drafted into the army. Sato recognized the irony that had been the US Japanese internment policy, but was not embittered by it. Rather, like most Japanese-Americans in the Northwest, the Sato family remained staunchly patriotic. "Some of the young men were drafted right out of the tents," he remembered, "but most volunteered for military service, even while the war in the Pacific continued." After his discharge Sato entered the University of Washington, where he earned a degree in architecture. He worked for several firms as he learned the trade and soon opened his own office in Seattle. "I quickly recognized the potential for real estate development," he confided, "and as an architect I had an advantage."

Over the decades his enterprise has been very successful. On the verge of retirement, Sato has turned over the business reins to his son, an attorney and developer. Sato’s oldest son is an MD in California and his only daughter has a degree in communications at the UW. Sato still maintains his friendship with his pal George Mohoric, and is still quick to recognize the part Centralia College played in his success.

Sato will address the students of Centralia College at graduation ceremonies on Friday, June 13, at 3:50 p.m. This year’s commencement exercises will be held on the Aadland Esplanade in front of the clocktower and Kirk Library on the college campus.

Centralia College expands waiver for military service vets

Centralia College is joining with the state’s other public two-year colleges to provide additional resource to help recently separated military service members get retrained in high-demand fields. The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) cleared the way for colleges to now use Worker Retraining program funds to help veterans with tuition and related school expenses. Under this program, veterans are also eligible to access services such as career counseling, job search support, educational and study skills.

“This enhanced access to funds will create more opportunities for former service members to transition into high demand careers here in Washington,” said SBCTC Director Charlie Earl.

According to a report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs in September 2007, recently separated service members face higher unemployment rates–around 9.5 percent in the first two years after discharge–compared to 4.3 percent of their peers who never served. To get financial assistance through the Worker Retraining program, recently separated service members need to meet college residency requirements and have been honorably separated from U.S. Armed Services within the last 24 months. Worker Retraining students can enroll in professional and technical programs, basic skills and literacy. While academic transfer courses are not supported under this plan, Centralia College does provide a 30 percent tuition waiver for all veterans, regardless of their chosen college program or classes and offers a 100 percent waiver for the spouse and/or dependents of 100 percent disabled veterans.

The funding program was initiated to increase the educational and training prospects for separated veterans who might not otherwise have access to community or technical colleges. “This is great news,” said Kristin Munn, educational planner at Wenatchee Valley College. “We definitely have pent-up demand from this population.”

The Worker Retraining program provides retraining for eligible jobless workers who are unable to find work in their current field and helps with financial assistance to cover a portion of tuition or other related costs. Since 1993, the Worker Retraining program has served nearly 100,000 unemployed and dislocated workers

If veterans choose to enroll and need to learn if they are eligible, recently separated service members should contact the Worker Retraining program at Centralia College by calling (360) 736-9391, ext. 351, for details.

Veterans needing job search assistance—preparing résumés, interview skills, completing employment applications—can meet with a veterans’ employment specialist at one of Washington’s WorkSource offices. To find a WorkSource office, visit

Running Start orientation offered at Centralia College

The popular Running Start program for high school juniors and seniors allows many students to take high school and college classes simultaneously. Those in the program are able to earn college credits tuition free, often saving thousands of dollars over the course of earning a degree. Students earn high school and college credits while enrolled, often taking classes at both institutions. Statewide, about 10 percent of high school juniors and seniors are enrolled in a Running Start program in a two-year college. Centralia College enrolls over 200 students from area high schools in its Running Start program.

Families that intend to register their students in the program at Centralia College must attend one of two Running Start orientation programs. The sessions are on June 2 and June 10 at room 103 of Washington Hall on the Centralia College campus. The sessions run from 7-9 p.m. and it is only required that the student, with a parent or guardian, attend one of the two orientations.

Some Running Start students choose to take just one or two classes at the college and the rest of their studies at the high school; other may attend college full time. Most do some combination of these two options. A few students earn high school diplomas and college associate degrees concurrently but most complete high school and then continue in the college setting.

The Running Start program is estimated to have saved taxpayers and parents some $71 million last year in high school expenses and college tuition costs.

Those considering enrolling their student in the Running Start program at Centralia College should contact the counseling office at 736-9391, ext. 265, as soon as possible and then attend one of the two mandatory orientation sessions.

Centralia College student newspaper staff named state’s best

The Centralia College blue&gold student newspaper staff placed first in the General Excellence category in the Washington Community College Journalism Association’s annual contest. The newspaper’s student reporters and photographers captured 14 individual awards in the 2007-2008 competition. In addition to the individual honors, the staff won first place in the Publication Sweeps category recognizing the newspaper with the most overall awards. Fourteen community colleges entered the competition with nearly 400 entries in 21 categories. The awards were presented at a luncheon May 17 at Seattle Central Community College.

Becki Curfman was not only the newspaper’s top award winner, but also the WCCJA Individual Sweeps winner. Curfman won a first place award in the Stand Alone Photo category for a picture of a spider web on the college’s Reach for the Stars statue. She captured a second place prize in the same category for a photo of a construction worker atop the Science Center. In the Comprehensive Coverage category, Curfman placed second for a series of eight articles about the college’s sustainability efforts. Curfman also won a second place award in the Individual Column category for a piece about the Miss Lewis County Scholarship Pageant. Curfman, also the newspaper’s editorial writer, received a second place award for her editorials.

Sports editor Charlie Parsons placed third in the Individual Sweeps category. He also won a first place award in Sports Feature Reporting for a story about four Seattle basketball players adjusting to life in Centralia. Parsons received a second place Sports News Reporting honor for his article previewing this year’s men’s basketball team.

Joseph Robinson won two awards in the Personality Profile category. His article about Kelly Kleinsorge was a second place winner and his article about Golnaz Koloushani placed third. Christina Crea’s photograph of Kameryn Romines brushing the teeth of a stuffed animal placed first in the Feature Photo category. Geah Betts’s cartoons about the cost of the Iraq war captured second place in the Editorial Cartoon category. Amanda Boyce’s photo of two students using the Human Race Machine won a third place award in the Stand Alone Photo category.

T.R. Gratz has served as advisor to the newspaper staff for 14 years. Editions of the blue&gold are available on the blue&gold Web site.

Capital Campaign launches, TransAlta contributes $500,000 to Commons Project

TransAlta, U.S.A., the international power-generating company with a power plant in Centralia, pledged $500,000 toward the Centralia College Foundation Capital Campaign. The contribution, which was announced Friday, May 16, during the formal campaign kick-off, is directed toward the College Commons. "Local colleges are the eye to the future in any community," said Doug Jackson, president, TransAlta U.S.A., "and we are exceptionally proud of our long-standing relationship with Centralia College. This donation of $500,000 reflects our commitment and focus to strengthen communities where our employees live and work."

The College Commons, a major college facility on the drawing board, has received priority funding status from the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the oversight organization for the state’s community and technical colleges. "This is very exciting," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "This extremely generous gift from TransAlta is an excellent way to launch this campaign. From the moment TransAlta moved into the community it has proven to be a forward-thinking company that puts into practice its core values of community support and commitment to higher education."

The College Commons will be a central piece of the emerging college campus. As an admissions center, all students will pass through the building. Student government, Student Support Services, Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound, advising, and other student service operations will move into the building, which will replace Kemp Hall and the Student Center. An expanded cafeteria, which would seat up to 500 people in a banquet-style setting, meeting areas, updated classrooms, and computer labs, will be part of the 70,000-square foot structure.

Presenting the contribution at the campaign kick-off, was Marcy McAuley, senior communications advisor and Dan Zandell, environmental manager, both from TransAlta’s Centralia operation. This contribution marks one of the largest to the college or the foundation, and is a pivotal beginning to the foundation’s $3 million campaign. One million dollars will be designated for each of the college’s three building/remodel projects: the Science Center, the Health and Wellness Center remodel, and the College Commons.

Centralia College selects diversity honorees

The clocktower at the center of the Centralia College campus is much more than a reminder to students of class time. It is a tribute to extraordinary people of diversity who have made the region better by their inspiration, industry, art or other talent. The clocktower has, since the early 1990s when it was erected, been a monument to diversity. On Thursday, May 8, the college will hold a dedication ceremony to honor two individuals who have made the world a better place by their contributions to society. Selected for honors are Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney and Tomás Villanueva, regional leaders whose efforts have improved the fortunes of people in every walk of life.

Gutierrez Kenney is a member of the state House of Representatives, representing the 46th Legislative District, who has long been an advocate of educational opportunity and the rights of individuals. She has been a champion of minority rights but has vigorously defended the rights and opportunities for all people.

Tomás Villanueva emigrated from Mexico as a teen and followed the crops with his family. He attended Yakima Valley College and began working to gain equality and basic rights for migrant farm workers in Washington. He founded the first privately funded farm worker’s cooperative in the state, built the first farm workers medical clinic and a community service center for the predominantly Hispanic migrant workers in the Yakima Valley. Villanueva was the founder and first president of the United Farm Workers of Washington, gaining collective bargaining rights, minimum wage contracts, and coverage of farm workers under state labor laws.

A formal dedication ceremony will be held in front of the Centralia College Clocktower on May 8, beginning at 1:30 p.m. After a welcome by college president Dr. Jim Walton, the keynote speaker for the brief ceremony will be Uirel Iniguez, executive director of the Washington Commission on Hispanic Affairs. The public is cordially invited to attend the dedication. Refreshments and a chance to meet the honorees follow in the college cafeteria. For further information, contact Candy Layman, college events coordinator, at 736-9391, ext. 605.

Former Centralia College trustees to gather

When the Community College Act of 1967 was passed by the Washington state Legislature, all the state’s community and technical colleges were granted autonomy from local school districts. Each would instead be governed by a local Board of Trustees. It was at that time that Centralia College’s first governing board of five trustees was formed. Since the initial appointments, 27 local community leaders have served as members of the Centralia College Board of Trustees. Each was appointed to represent a geographical region within the college’s service district, which includes all of Lewis and portions of southern Thurston counties.

On April 10, the majority of the trustees–including the five-member current board–will be honored at a reception at Centralia College. Most of the original board is still in the area, and many later appointees are also nearby residents. Some who live long distances from Lewis County have indicated they also will be on hand to meet with the community and chat about the early obstacles the college faced and the successes it achieved.

The public is invited to attend the reception April 10 at 3 p.m. in the college boardroom in the Hansen Administration Building, located at the corner of Walnut and Rock streets. The reception is an important way to recognize the personal commitment each board member made to the college and to the region, according to Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "These are the honored elders, the leaders of our college family," Walton explained. "They defined the course we are following to become one of the best small colleges in the west, and we value their experience and wisdom. Our past trustees are an irreplaceable resource to Centralia College." The initial board included Anne Caldwell, Ernie Hamilton, Tom Koenninger, Vernon Martin, and George. F. Warren. All were appointed by Gov. Albert Rosellini and confirmed by the state Senate. For further information on the reception, call Candy Layman at Centralia College, 736-9391, ext. 605.

Money for education abounds for college bound

It has been said that low tuition cost is the best form of financial aid for a college education. At Centralia College financial aid looks even better. While tuition rates remain among the lowest in the state, never before has so much money been available to pay college tuition and related expenses. Different packages from a variety of sources are available to pay costs, which can add up to over $1,000 per quarter. The payment packages are not all based on income. One, a $100,000 offering from the state, pays most of the tuition costs of anyone impacted by the December 2007 storms that devastated portions of the region. About the only other requirement for the storm tuition relief package is that the individual must enroll at Centralia College, either on the main campus or at Centralia College East in Morton. Funding is available until the money runs out.

"It is an opportune time to at least investigate whether you might benefit from one of these packages," said Scott Copeland, director of Enrollment Services. "Never before, at least as far as I know, has so much money been made available to help with college costs," he said.

Another of the headliner packages is Opportunity Grants, a state-funded program that can pay all tuition, fees, books, and some equipment costs, as required. There is over $300,000 available through this grant, which may be continued through the coming year. "This is a program that the state initiated to help low income families train for careers that would raise their standard of living and provide employment stability," said Copeland. The fact that it can pay 100 percent of college costs makes it exceptional. Those who enter the program need to meet certain income requirements and enter one of nine programs, all of which have been deemed as high-demand fields. High demand indicates that state officials have identified them as ones most likely to have family-wage jobs available in the region.

Worker Retraining and WorkFirst are two that have long been backbone programs for college education funding. Funds come from the state on a regular basis through grants. "With Worker Retraining we take in individuals who are drawing unemployment or who have drawn unemployment compensation in the past and are still not working," said Bev Gestrine, who heads the program. "If they choose to enter one of the college’s professional/technical programs we will pay tuition and books. We also work with displaced homemakers who need to provide for themselves." The same financial offer applies to individuals who come to college through WorkFirst, a program that caters to underemployed family members who want to upgrade their employability. Candidates must have children and enter one of the college’s professional/technical training programs.

Still another source is the TransAlta community transition funding made available when the company’s coal mine ceased operations in 2006. TransAlta agreed to pay college expenses for former mine workers and their dependents, and they could enroll in any college class. About $500,000 was set aside to initiate training programs and fund tuition payment requests.

In addition to these sources, prospective students are still able to qualify for tuition funding options through federal sources. People who may not qualify for tuition support can take advantage of the college’s time payment program, which allows students to make monthly payments throughout the year rather than the single, larger tuition payment at the beginning of each quarter. The influx of tuition support funding has been a result of legislative mandates, state grants, and regional weather-related and economic impacts. They have come together to offer an unprecedented opportunity for anyone thinking about attending college, said Walton. "The cost of going to college shouldn’t be a barrier to almost anyone who wants to come to Centralia College," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. Individuals wanting information on these funding opportunities need to contact Bev Gestrine at Centralia College by calling (360) 736-9391, ext 351.

College Health and Wellness Center remodel underway

Work is now underway on the $5 million remodel of the Centralia College Health and Wellness Center (HWC), which includes the gymnasium. The major remodel is expected to conclude by the end of the calendar year and will add 5,000-square-feet of classroom, exercise, lab, and office space, plus greatly improve the building’s heating and ventilating systems. The remodel will include work on the gym adding new bleachers and replacement of men’s and women’s locker room facilities. Team Construction Inc., of Vancouver, Wash., is the general contractor for the project.

"We are excited about the remodel project," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "The Health and Wellness Center is a significant resource for this college and for the community. Not just the athletic teams but everyone who uses the facility including those who are working out or taking part in medical rehab to those watching an event will benefit. The remodel will add quality to their experience." Walton added that based on the reputation of the contractor and review of other projects in the region, the college "can be assured of quality work on this important project."

Spring classes and gym usage should not be restricted until May 16, after which there will be no usage of the facility. Plans call for fall quarter classes that would have been held in the HWC to be held at off-campus locations yet to be determined. It is expected that the gym will be ready to host basketball games that begin in December of this year. According to Steve Ward, the college’s vice president for Administration and Finance, construction will take place in phases. The first phase will involve the south end of the building, pushing it more than 60 feet into what is now the parking lot. The large outside wall mural depicting Centralia High School circa 1925, will be lost although the college and the Centralia College Foundation are exploring ways to recreate the mural.

Perhaps the most visible outside change will be the revamped Walnut St. entrance. The current entrances from Walnut St. were back doors to the gym when it was built in 1936 and the high school was located just south of the gym. The remodel calls for a main entry mid-way between the two existing doors serving as the main portal to the building. The new entry, which pushes the building out to the Walnut St. curb, will feature a ticket booth, concession area, and small conference room.

Of the $5 million needed for the project, four million dollars are available through state remodel and repair funds, a matching grant offered by the state, and the Centralia College Foundation anticipates raising $1 million to match that grant to polish off the funding needs. The HWC is one of three major construction/remodel projects in the works or in planning stages for the college. The Science Center, a $32 million, 70,000-square-foot facility, is scheduled to be open for classes with fall quarter 2009, and construction is on schedule. The College Commons, a building that will match the Science Center in size, will likely get predesign funding from next year’s state Legislature.

Now may be the best time to enroll

There may be no better time to begin your quest for training for a great new career. By starting your education now at Centralia College, whether it’s in one of the quality professional/technical programs or in classes that start or continue you toward your four-year college degree, you may find all or portions of your tuition paid. Spring quarter classes begin Monday, March 31.

"Individuals who qualify will find that the road through college, at least financially, is paved," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "With the programs we have in place, there may be no better place and no better time to enroll and have your tuition and other expenses paid." Visit the college’s Financial Aid Office or call 736-9391, ext. 234; or call the WorkFirst/WorkForce programs office at 360.736.9391, ext 351.

Opportunity Grants: Opportunity Grant funding is one example of full tuition payment. Qualifying individuals can get started on a career path at Centralia College in Nursing, Assistant Nursing, Criminal Justice, Electronics, Robotics, and Automation (ERA), Early Childhood Education, Accounting, or Civil Engineering. These have been identified as training programs that help students enter and progress in high-wage, high-demand careers. The grant will pay tuition for up to 45 credits over a three-year period. Read more about Opportunity Grants below.

Storm Tuition Relief: For those impacted by the December storms, whether loss was a result of water damage, wind, or job loss, a significant portion of tuition costs will be paid. Read more about the Tuition Relief Program below.

Displaced Workers: Others who may be displaced workers or who qualify based on certain income levels, may find that Centralia College programs will pay all or portions of tuition costs. Contact Bev Gestrine at 736.9391, ext. 351, to find out how you can get started on career training.

Tuition Payment Plan: One of the hottest programs going is the Tuition Payment Plan, which allows you to make payments over the course of the quarter or year. Students who are unable to pay full tuition all at once will have the option to "pay as you go." This interest-free payment plan is offered through the Nelnet Business Solutions/FACTS e-Cashier. Students taking classes that do not start and end with the regular quarter dates, are not eligible to participate in the payment plan. To sign up for the program, see Tuition Payment Plan.

Financial aid exception: If you have approved or anticipated financial aid, scholarships or a third party contract that will cover your tuition and fees, contact the registrar and your classes will be held (do not sign up for the tuition payment plan). If anticipated financial aid, scholarships or third party contracts are insufficient to pay all tuition and fee charges, you must pay the difference by the tuition deadline.

College names new head basketball coach

Jason MoirJason Moir, 28, who is the Centralia College men’s basketball assistant coach, will take on head coaching duties at the conclusion of this year’s campaign. Moir, also employed in the college’s Student Support Services (SSS) program, will replace Dave Klovdahl.

Klovdahl, with 18 years as an assistant and then as head coach at Centralia College, is stepping down. "I had an epiphany after our first league game this year," he said about his decision to retire. "I realized I just don’t have the time or the energy needed to do the recruiting and recruiting is essential to a winning basketball program. It’s time to step back and do something different," he said. Klovdahl will continue as the college women’s golf team coach. He is also a half-time math teacher at Centralia High School.

"We appreciate the dedication of coach Klovdahl and what he has done for the program. He has worked hard to make each student athlete a better person. Certainly, we respect his decision to resign from basketball," said Bob Peters, athletics director. "At the same time, we look forward to having Jason lead the team, knowing he brings a lot of energy and has great passion for the game."

Klovdahl began coaching basketball in 1968, leading a junior high school team. For the past 40 years he has also coached at high schools and at the college level. He worked with Blazer head coach Bob Peters and then took over the head coaching reins when Peters became full-time athletic director in 2000. "It’s been a lot of years and it is something I’ve enjoyed. One of the things I will miss the most is the relationship with the players. That has been most gratifying," said Klovdahl. His teams qualified for the Northwest Athletic Association of Community College (NWAACC) tournament several times during his tenure. His 2006 Blazer team took home a 5th place trophy.

Moir came to Centralia College in 2001 and played one season under Klovdahl. He accepted a position with the college in student government that took him off the court the following year but he became Klovdahl’s assistant in 2003. "Jason is a student of the game. He loves basketball and has great rapport with the players," said Peters. "Even when he wasn’t coaching or playing, Jason would find time to work out with the Blazers and find other ways to be a part of the program." Moir, who will continue his administrative duties with the college, said he is looking forward to the challenges that come with the head coaching position. "I’m looking at some pretty good players to bring in next year. Basketball at Centralia College will be an experience that will provide structure, discipline and will be fun," said Moir. "The style of basketball we run will largely depend on the players we bring in."

Opportunity Grant funds available to Centralia College

It is predicted that at least 75 percent of the jobs of the future will require at least some college education. Barriers to education that include the cost of tuition and books can be bypassed at Centralia College for those who qualify under the Opportunity Grant Tuition Assistance program. The Opportunity Grant was created to help low-income adults begin a career development process. The funds can be used to get students started right away in a college program and help fill needs that traditional financial aid alone cannot.

Qualifying individuals can get started on a career path this winter quarter at Centralia College in Nursing, Assistant; Nursing; Criminal Justice; Electronics, Robotics, and Automation (ERA); Early Childhood Education; Accounting; or Civil Engineering, programs that have been identified as helping students enter and progress in high-wage, high-demand careers. The grant will pay for up to 45 credits over a three-year period.

"It’s important for people who want to improve their chances for a better paying job to contact us," said Bev Gestrine, who manages the college’s Workforce Intake Center. "We can quickly make a determination and get people started on a great career." Individuals are urged to contact Gestrine by calling (360) 726-9391, ext. 351. Centralia College has been given $340,000 to pay for students’ educational expenses. Money qualifying students receive from an Opportunity Grant may be used to pay for tuition, fees and required books and supplies. Grant funds are available for those who enter winter quarter, which begins Jan. 2, 2008. Registration is now underway.

"This grant will help make college accessible to people who might otherwise not be able to afford it," said Gestrine. "It is an excellent way to get people started, to keep them here until they complete a training program and help them move into a great career," she said. "This is an excellent program that can have a tremendous impact on people throughout our community."

Tuition Relief Program available at Centralia College

In response to the devastation caused by widespread flooding throughout the region, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges is making funds available to Centralia College to provide significant financial relief for those impacted by the catastrophic event. Anyone who has suffered a loss resulting from the flood may be eligible for tuition relief. Loss may include personal property, living accommodations, vehicles, or employment. The tuition relief offers holds only for winter or spring quarter. Winter quarter begins Jan. 2, 2008. Dr. Jim Walton, president of Centralia College, said that anyone who believes he or she has suffered because of the flood and who may face a hardship making a tuition payment, needs to contact the college’s office of Financial Aid by calling (360) 736-9391, ext. 234.

"Lives have been and continue to be disrupted in ways that cannot be imagined," said Walton. The State Board has been working with the local colleges to find ways to help students affected by December storms and is expected to make this offer official when it meets on Wednesday. "No one should abandon or put off starting a college education or job training program because he or she cannot afford to pay tuition during this time of crisis. We hope this tuition relief will allow individuals to continue their education while rebuilding their lives at home."

The tuition relief offer is available at Centralia College and has been extended to students at Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen and South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, areas that have also suffered severe storm damage. "This unprecedented event has again demonstrated the personal relationships that exists between the faculty, staff and students of our colleges and the communities we serve," said Walton.

Criminal Justice program grows

When Elizabeth Lasley was working in the state's temporary job pool when she interviewed for a position with the Department of Corrections. She had little idea that it would lead to a job that would kindle a passion for a career fighting crime. It did and it brought Lasley to Centralia College's growing Criminal Justice program.

For information on the online Criminal Justice degree program, see the Criminal Justice Online Web site.

"I wasn't sure what I was getting into but I thought I would be doing general office work," said Lasley, a first year Criminal Justice student. Her job puts her in the role of conducting criminal investigations with Labor and Industries offenders.

"This is great for me. I am able to go into a prison to meet with offenders and investigate the actions that got them there. I see how criminal activity affects people," she said. She is able to bore into the details to get full details on a crime. "To understand a crime, it is important to understand the offender," she said. A rewarding side of her job is to see how the individuals work toward rehabilitation.

"I knew I wanted to make criminal investigation my life's work," she said. Her long-range goal is to serve as a criminal investigator, perhaps as a detective. The DOC is supporting her in her efforts. "The people I work with, and particularly my boss, are very supportive and are encouraging me to earn my degree." Lasley said she will need to complete her two-year degree to be qualified for her career choice. "Their attitude is that the more education I have, the better employee I will be. I think that's great." She may also opt to on to earn a four-year degree. The desire to investigate has lodged with Lasley for a while. "I think that I've always wondered what made people who are charged with crimes do what they did; I want to know what's behind the action that got them in trouble."

Currently, Lasley is juggling her time between the full-time work with DOC and taking criminal justice classes. She is taking evening classes but is looking forward to the advent of Criminal Justice Online, which means that she can attend classes just about anytime day or night when she has time. She knows that the quality of instruction will not diminish. The college has brought in Tad Belden, who brings a great deal of experience as a professional in the field of criminal justice, is developing the criminal justice online program. In addition to his experience as a working professional, Belden has extensive experience teaching and is looking forward to the online component of the college's quality criminal justice classes.

"This could really help me," she said. "Sometimes it's a struggle to get everything done. If there are classes that I need offered online I would take them. It could help me quite a bit." The college's evening program is providing Lasley with a great education that will serve her well in her chosen profession. Her introductory class, which will also be offered winter quarter, is providing an overview of what she can look forward to in her profession. The classes she plans to take will help her better understand what she will be doing and the laws that she will be supporting as she completes her assignments.

There is so much to learn and I appreciate the quality of instruction, she said. "With the quality of the instructors I know things will work out well for me," she said. And with the Centralia College criminal justice degree, whether it's in the classroom or online, she will be prepared for just about anything.

Electronic scholarship application available online

Students applying for a Centralia College Foundation scholarship will have an easier route to submit their application. The college now offers an electronic Scholarship Application form on its Web site. "Any individual can now fill out his or her application without needing to submit the printed form," said Dr. Michael Grubiak, vice-president of Students at the college. "We will now accept applications from those using either the online form or submitting the printed form."

Last year, students attending Centralia College received more than $325,000 in financial aid, most of which was in the form of scholarships. Officials expect that figure to be equaled or surpassed next academic year, when the Centralia College Foundation announces scholarship recipients. "It's a significant amount of scholarship money that is available but people need to apply," said Grubiak. He noted that one application would put individuals in the running for any of the foundation scholarships. "Our scholarship committee will match the individual to the appropriate scholarship, based on what is contained in the application," he said.

The fact that the form may now be filled out electronically "should serve as an added incentive," said Grubiak. "The foundation really wants to give this money to deserving men and women." Most individuals who get a scholarship have a 3.0 grade-point average in high school. "High school valedictorians and salutatorians get full scholarships if they attend Centralia College," he added, "but they still have to apply."

Scholarship applications will be accepted until March 3, 2008. The form is available on the Scholarships Web page at scholarships.html. Scholarship recipients will be announced during spring quarter.

Most scholarships cover all or part of tuition costs and many also cover expenses such as books, fees, or other costs. There are scholarships, however, that provide for nearly all college costs. The application also requires two letters of recommendation, high school or college transcripts, and an essay. Full details and copies of the application form are available by calling the college at (360) 736-9391, ext. 220.

Centralia College to counter high book costs

Along with rising college tuition costs, officials at Centralia College have identified the skyrocketing costs of books as a financial issue for new students. Beginning immediately for in time for winter quarter, the college bookstore is instituting a book rental program for selected classes that may help reduce the out-of-pocket costs of a college education. Winter quarter begins Jan. 2, 2008.

"It's a pilot program and still in the early stages," said Tammy Strodemier, Centralia College bookstore manager. "We'll see how the students accept the rental concept and then expand as they support it." Currently the essential texts for three classes are available in the fledgling rental program. "Because of the limited number of books printed for specialized classes," Strodemier explained, "publishing costs are very high." The text for the college's Business Law course, for example, sells for over $175. Under the new rental program, a student would pay about $55 for the text and then return it when the quarter is over. "For most students and most classes," Strodemier continued, "a rental is less costly than purchasing the book and re-selling it at the end of the class."

College faculty and administration have agreed to support the rental concept by staying with the selected text through the life of the course. There have been cases in some colleges where an instructor changed a required book at mid-term, nearly doubling book costs for their students. Under terms of the new program, students will be assured of consistent text requirements and the lowest book costs.

Centralia College Speakers Bureau

Centralia College is rich in resources and expertise on a wide spectrum of topics. The Centralia College Speakers Bureau lists people and subjects to help you take advantage of available resources. Throughout its long history, the college has placed an emphasis on quality faculty and staff, people who have, through education and life experience, become knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects. They are marked by a keen curiosity, the desire to become informed, and the ability to share their knowledge with others. This expertise and enthusiasm is the hallmark of the Centralia College Speakers Bureau.

Opportunity Grants program expanded

All or portions of qualifying students' tuition and some other college expenses may be paid for under an expanded Opportunity Grants program. Centralia College's share of the grant is $340,000. Designed to help low-income adults begin and persist in a long-term career development ladder, the funds can help bridge students into college and help fill gaps that traditional financial aid alone cannot. The grant may be used to pay costs for students who enter the college's Accounting, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) programs. Those interested in finding out about having at least portions of tuition expenses paid at Centralia College need to contact Bev Gestrine at 726-9391, ext. 351.

"We certainly are pleased to have this grant," said Steve Miller, dean of Professional/Technical Instruction at the college. "We will provide quality education to students who qualify for this," said Miller. The Opportunity Grant may pay tuition costs, and some other college expenses and provide one-one-one mentoring. "It's an excellent program that can reach a lot of people and one that can have tremendous impact throughout our communities. The goal is to provide quality training and a pathway to employment or further college," said Miller.

"To be competitive in the global marketplace, businesses in Washington seek to hire highly skilled workers," said Washington state Governor Gregoire, who announced the awarding of the grant. "Public investment in the Opportunity Grants builds pathways that allow low-income students to pursue education leading to employment in high demand jobs."

"A high school diploma or a GED is no longer enough to get a good paying job with benefits," said Miller. "This grant can help move people closer to a better paying career. This program fits the priorities of our two-year colleges to improve academic achievement for all students, implement innovative delivery models, and be responsive to the needs of businesses and the economy," said Miller. "This is a totally new and innovative way of delivering financial support. And it works."

Fall registration underway

Registration is open for the fall quarter at Centralia College and Centralia College East in Morton. You may now register for our new cconline program, if work, family demands, or other responsibilities keep you away from the college campus. Registration for academic or professional/technical programs is underway through Sept. 24, the first day of classes. Late registrations may be available after that date, but classes fill on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that regular fall quarter classes start Sept. 24, and cconline classes begin Sept. 20.
Register now!
Registration is easy, and Admissions Director Scott Copeland has urged all new students to sign up as soon as possible. "It is advisable to sign up for classes as soon as possible," he noted. "This will help ensure that you will get the classes you want." Copeland reminded those with concerns about financing their education that the college now offers an interest-free tuition payment plan, allowing a student to make payments on a schedule during the quarter. Copeland added that the advising process may help identify a student's best possible career choices.
How to register:
The first step for new and returning students is to contact the Admissions office at 736-9391, ext. 221. From there you can arrange to complete the necessary applications either online or in person, be invited to the all-important "advising fair," learn about financial aid options, and arrange to become a 2007 student at Centralia College. They'll even help arrange a tuition payment plan to make it easier than ever to enroll in college. For more information, see How to Register.
Why register?
A two-year degree at Centralia College is worth a lot more than you might realize. According to the Bureau of Census, workers holding an associate degree from an accredited college will earn, on average, over $12,000 a year more than those with just a high school diploma. If you go on to get a four-year degree, you'll earn nearly twice as much as a high school grad; over $50,000 a year on average! Over the course of a 30-year career, that could mean a substantial amount in better salaries, retirement, health coverage, and all the other benefits you'll earn as you work. The way to get your piece of that windfall is simple. Just register at Centralia College and take the classes that lead to a degree in your chosen field of study. In just two years you'll have an enormous edge on those competing for the best jobs. Make this the year you take control of your own future--call Centralia College Admissions.

Running Start information session, Sept. 13

An information session on Running Start, a dual high school/college credit enrollment program, will be held for interested parents and future Running Start students on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. on the Centralia College campus in Washington Hall, room 103. High school students and their parents are invited to attend. Parents and students who are participating in the Running Start program are required to attend this or one of four other information/orientations sessions. Other parents or students can attend to find out the details of the program. All questions relating to the program will be welcomed, and all interested persons are welcome. No reservations are necessary. For directions or more information, please call the Centralia College Counseling Center at (360) 736-9391, ext. 265.
What is Running Start?
The Running Start program, initiated more than a decade ago, allows eligible high school juniors and seniors to take college-level classes without paying tuition. Students earn college and high school credit. The program has allowed some students to graduate high school and Centralia College at the same time. College credits earned by Running Start students are transferable to all Washington state public four-year schools and most private colleges and universities in Washington. See the Running Start Web site for more information.

International students need host families

International host familyIn the next few days and weeks, Centralia College will welcome international students from Asia, South America, the Middle East, and Africa. They will come to study English, academics, science, and our way of life. Hosting an international student is an adventure into language, culture, and diversity, as well as smaller things like cuisine, folk stories, grandparents, and courtship. Our challenge is to find enough host families to embrace this wonderful adventure.
What is a host family?
Many volunteers in the Centralia-Chehalis area have served as host families to our international students. The host family is expected to furnish the student with a private room with accommodations for sleep, study, and keeping their clothing and personal things secure. The host family will provide food for all meals, and generally is expected to prepare five meals a week in the home. There should be reasonable access to public transportation for the students, or they should be able to walk or bicycle to classes.

International host familyHow do you benefit as a host family?
Hosts and students have fun learning to share their lives and friendships with one another. Families chosen to host an international student will receive a modest monthly stipend to help offset the costs of having another person in the household. Please call Centralia College International Programs to learn how you can share the experience of being a surrogate family to a young person far from their home and familiar surroundings. Call the college at (360) 736-9391, ext. 625 or ext. 492, and Vida Long or Laju Nankani will be happy to welcome you.

CC Online launches

You're in college now. Go ahead, take the day off, go to the beach, or choose to save some serious change on gas by staying home. But if you're in Centralia College Online, don't forget your computer. CC Online, Centralia College's entry into online education, is now operational, providing a convenient, computer-based means of earning a two-year college degree. The Web site is

"We're offering the quality of a Centralia College education with the versatility of online access," said Dr. Jim Walton, Centralia College president. "This is a full-service program, with transferable credits and our reputation behind it." Fall quarter CC Online classes begin Sept. 20, a few days before the beginning of regular fall quarter classes. Registration is now open.

Probably the greatest benefit of online education is the incredible convenience that it offers. Unlike a traditional class, online courses usually don't have regular meetings (though there are still due dates for assignments and exams, and you may have scheduled meetings or "chats" occasionally). As a result, you can do your schoolwork and studying based around your schedule. No more 8 a.m. classes, no more commute to class and struggle with finding a place to park ... heck, you could wear your underwear to "class" and no one will ever know. After all, it all takes place in front of your computer, on your time and at any place that is convenient for you.

This obviously has huge implications for those who have jobs, a family, or both. Instead of trying to juggle your classes around a 9-to-5 job or your children's soccer practice, distance learning gives you the flexibility to take your classes when you can fit them in. It's still a challenge, no doubt - but at least now you'll have options. "Online learning is the method increasing numbers of people are using to work toward their degree," said Walton. "People of all ages are choosing to take individual college classes or earn their entire college degree through online offerings."

Through CC Online, you can access course work from any Internet-connected computer - in your home, at the public library, or using one of the college's computers located in college computer labs. You can take every class needed to earn your two-year degree. You can find additional information about online education and other distance learning options by visiting the college's Web site at

CC Online classes are taught by faculty at Centralia College and at other colleges. All classes are fully accredited. Individuals taking classes online will interact with instructors. It might be through e-mail or a discussion list, but students will definitely interact with the faculty and will have the opportunity to engage with other students.

Growing numbers of individuals, according to Scott Copeland, director of Admissions at Centralia College, are very comfortable learning online. "It may not be the way for everyone to learn, but there are many people who learn best by using their computer," said Copeland. Online courses start Sept. 20, several days earlier than on-campus classes.

Science Center construction underway

New Science Center architectural sketchConstruction is underway on Centralia College's new $28 million science center. The project is expected to take about 16 months with facility opening scheduled for fall 2009.

"This is an exciting time in the life of this college and this community," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "Our ability to deliver quality of education to our students will increase when we open the doors to this science center." Walton added that he appreciates state legislators and the Governor who voted for funding. "They have recognized that Centralia College is an outstanding educational institution and have endorsed that fact by providing funding for this marvelous facility," said Walton.

Construction of the 70,000-square-foot, three-story building is taking place on a site north and east of the college's Washington Hall, which was completed in 2001 and was constructed by Schiewsow Construction. Schiewsow is the prime contractor on the science center. The new center will house science laboratories, biology and botany areas, applied health sciences, a greenhouse for plant culture and evaluation, chemistry and physics halls, and classroom and office space. The science center will also have space for community activities. It is considered a "green" building in that it complies with current environment-sensitive construction codes.

The new multi-discipline science center will be the most ambitious construction project yet on the campus, and will be followed by a start on a new student commons and activity center. Also coming up is a substantial remodel of the college gym and health/fitness center that will provide expanded service to the college and community.

Soon after his appointment as president of the college, Dr. Walton called upon the faculty, administration, and staff to make Centralia College the best two-year college in the state. These projects are another giant step toward meeting that goal.

New Science Center groundbreaking

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new $28 million Science Center Complex at Centralia College will take place at 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 28. The razing of Ehret Hall will be completed by that date, and cleanup may also be finished. The ceremonies will be on the site of the new structure between Centralia College Blvd. and the Aadland Esplanade in the center of the campus.

College staff, administration, faculty, and the public are encouraged to attend the formal start of one of the community's most impressive new building projects. Construction is expected to begin during the first week of July. General contractor Schwiesow Construction will take about 16 months to complete the three-story building. The new center will house science laboratories, biology and botany areas, applied health sciences, a greenhouse for plant culture and evaluation, chemistry and physics halls, and classroom and office space. The Science Center will also have space for community activities. The nearly 70,000 square-foot facility is expected to be ready for classes by the fall of 2009.

Planners are now completing the invitation list, which is expected to include officials from the college, the Centralia College Foundation, and community. "We'll certainly invite political and media leaders," said Don Frey, college relations director. "They have been instrumental in securing funding for this project and keeping the public informed about progress at Centralia College, and we value their participation."

The new multi-discipline science center will be the most ambitious construction project yet on the campus, and will shortly be followed by a start on a new student commons and activity center. Also coming up is a substantial remodel of the college gym and health/fitness center that will provide expanded service to the entire community.

Soon after his appointment as president of the college, Dr. Walton called upon the faculty, administration, and staff to make Centralia College the best two-year college in the state. These projects are another giant step toward meeting that goal.

Wakefield credits Centralia College for solid educational foundation

Jill Wakefield[Distinguished Alumnus Jill Wakefield's June 15, 2007 Commencement remarks]
Graduates, friends, families, ladies, and gentlemen:
It is truly an honor to be here with you this evening celebrating the outstanding achievements of those who are graduating. The motto for South Seattle Community College, where I work, is "Start Here-Go Anywhere." That's the way I see Centralia College. With the outstanding education you have received at Centralia, you are truly prepared to go anywhere. To four-year universities, to well paying jobs, to leadership positions in this community and around the world. Maybe you'll want to change careers -- your "anywhere" may be back to Centralia.

Centralia College not only provided a firm foundation for me, it started me on a 30-year career in the community college system. My first job was an office assistant II. Our work study students are classified higher. That job probably prepared me for the job I have now more than any job I've had since. President Walton and I do have the best jobs in the world; every day we work with great faculty and staff to help change people's lives, providing opportunities for every person to pursue higher education to the highest level.

As a student, I was pretty forgettable. The library director may have remembered throwing me out of the library for talking too much. I was a student body officer -- the only proof is a picture of a friend and me running elections; we were sitting on two young men's laps. I played on the tennis team -- we had a lot of fun, losing. Our primary goal at that time was to leave Olympia at 7:40 for an 8 a.m. class. I'm sorry to say we made it every time. Without even knowing it, my experience at Centralia taught me much about life, perseverance, and setting and achieving goals.

When I think about Centralia, I think of great teachers. As one young man said, "I'm not an underachiever -- my teacher is an overexpecter." Centralia College teachers are overexpecters, not satisfied in letting you be content with mediocrity when they know you can do better. In fact, when I told my sister and my best friend about this honor -- and it is a wonderful honor -- both wanted to share stories of the wonderful teachers they had here.

"Time goes so fast, people go in and out of your life. You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you." [A quote] from "Cheers." So thank you Lee Butkus, who brought history alive for me -- and Gaylord Hinze, who was the best speech teacher and a little crazy -- and Dr. Jones, who got me through biology, barely. I still remember the test where we had to identify organs on newly dissected mice. I found several male organs in that female mouse. Ruby Guido, tennis coach, who couldn't play tennis and smoked -- and coached us on things much more important than tennis. Larry Nelson, who talked me into applying for student body secretary, whose career crossed paths with mine for 25 years.

My sister, Gay, now an occupational therapist, had Mr. Garman. She writes from Costa Rica, where she is a missionary, "I loved his classes and still have the anatomy/physiology textbook. When I was recovering from mono, he gave me notes and helped me complete the class, even though I missed a lot of days. I learned so much -- after completing my degree at the UW, I still think of him as my best teacher. When I tell people about my community college experience, I always talk about his class."

My longtime friend Michele, who I met at Centralia, took art from Bob Bauer and wanted me to share that she never intended to burn down the art classroom.

Thank you to the faculty and staff for making a difference in my life, for starting me on a wonderful career in community colleges, for showing me how important the community college is to higher education, to our economy, and to our nation. I started here and went anywhere. My anywhere has been a community college, in a career that has exceeded my expectations. Graduates and friends, as you graduate from Centralia College, know that you have received the highest quality education -- you are prepared to go anywhere.

My advice: Don't wait 30 years to tell those here at Centralia, and those important people in your lives, how much they mean to you. Your investment in your education is an investment that will take you anywhere. Enjoy the adventure!

Centralia Mayor, Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient to speak at Commencement

Centralia Mayor Tim Browning and the 2007 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient Dr. Jill Wakefield are invited speakers for Centralia College's June 15 commencement ceremony. This year, Centralia College will recognize one of the largest groups of college degree and certificate recipients, high school diploma winners, and GED graduates in the history of the college. The 4 p.m. ceremony will again take place on "commencement field" at the center of the campus. This will be the last year the lawn expanse will be available for commencement; by mid-July, the new three-story science center will be under construction on the site.

Commencement continues to honor the college degree and certificate graduates, while adding a greater level of recognition to those completing high school level education. Prior to moving the ceremonies outdoors, seating was insufficient for even college ticket requests, according to college president Dr. Jim Walton. "Now we can accommodate the parents and well wishers of all our students," Walton said. The college has again asked the city to close Washington Avenue during commencement to provide added safety for students and guests, and to reduce noise and congestion during the commencement presentations. Commencement will be carried on cable Channel 3.

After the traditional processional, led by Grand Marshal Beverly Gestrine, Dr. Walton will make his welcoming remarks to the assembled graduates and audience. Gestrine is senior tenured faculty at the college. Walton will introduce the 2007 Distinguished Alumnus and invited speaker, Dr. Jill Wakefield, president of South Seattle Community College and a 1972 graduate of Centralia College.

Tim Browning, Centralia mayor and businessman, also an alumnus of Centralia College, is the keynote speaker. Jody Kline, president of the Associated Students of Centralia College, will give the student address, after which vice president of student services Dr. Michael Grubiak will introduce the 2007 Outstanding Student Award recipients. Centralia College trustee chairman Dr. George Mohoric will present the 2007 All-Washington Academic Team honorees. John Martens, vice president of Instruction will then present the class of 2007 as degrees, diplomas and certificates are awarded to the graduates.

A reception sponsored by student programs follows in the college cafeteria. The outdoor commencement ceremony is open to guests of graduates in the college academic, technical, and professional courses and high school/GED programs, supporters of Centralia College, and to the public. As the ceremony is held outdoors, no reservations are required and there is no limit on the number of guests each student or graduate may invite. The ceremony will take place regardless of inclement weather.

Centralia College sets "Discovery Northwest" adventure series

Discovery NorthwestThis summer brings a fascinating opportunity to discover the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest in a series of classes offered by Centralia College. The innovative program is titled "Watersheds: Connecting the mountains to the sea." The college's earth sciences experts will lead the five-credit course, which is broken into five individual modules. Classes may be taken for credit, or individuals interested in one or more of the modules may take their choice for a single credit or as an "Adult Special Interest" selection.

Please check the college's summer quarter schedule for details on the package of five Discovery classes or others that are also offered as part of the Discovery program. Individually, the modules may be taken for one credit; costs vary for those taking the classes for personal growth and interest.

Module 1 is titled "Fire and Ice, Rain and Rocks." Geologist Pat Pringle examines the shaping of the Nisqually River as students learn how earthquakes, glaciers, volcanism, and man have affected the historic course of the watershed. It begins June 28 and includes a day-long field trip to key points on the Nisqually. The second module is "Plants, People, and Watershed Health," featuring Lisa Carlson, plant biologist. The course explores the role of upland forests and riparian habitat on the health of the stream. The class begins July 12 with one field trip. The next module is "Let the Bugs Speak," as Dr. Steve Norton examines the relationship between biological communities and watershed health. Class begins on July 19, and students will sample aquatic insect communities and perform stream survey techniques to assess the health of local streams. Dr. Norton also conducts module 4, "Life in the Mud; Estuaries and Marshes." The places where our rivers meet the sea are among the most important ecosystems in Washington. Students will investigate the impacts of modification to the Nisqually delta as well as recent attempts at habitat restoration. Class begins on August 2. In module 5, Greg Heuckel, senior habitat biologist for the WDFW, will look at "Life on the Edge: Surviving in the Marine Intertidal Zones." Students will study the demands of the near-shore marine world with field trips, which begin July 26.

All five classes are short, requiring only a couple of evening classroom sessions prior to the weekend field trips. Those wishing further information on the "Discovery Northwest" series may call the Admissions Office at 736-9391, ext. 221.

College's Ehret and Batie buildings to be razed June 9, 23

Two landmark buildings on the Centralia College campus are destined for one last educational function. Befitting their purpose over the past decades, both will be burned as part of a training exercise for personnel from regional fire departments. The Batie Science Center, the smaller of the two buildings, will be torched June 9, and Ehret Hall will follow on June 23. Both controlled burns will begin during morning hours, pending favorable weather conditions, and will not continue past one day.

Demolition of the buildings is necessary to make way for the college's new $30 million, 70,000-square foot science center, which will replace these two buildings. The decision to remove the buildings by burning them represents a cost savings, helping the college to preserve the size of the new building. Steve Ward, the college vice president of Administration and Finance, said that construction costs are rising at about one percent per month and are likely to exceed the built-in inflation factor set by the state. Ward said the college is looking to cover a projected $3 million shortfall. Other colleges, he noted, facing similar situations, have had to scale back on the size of buildings or building fixtures to meet state-approved construction costs.

"One thing we can do is to provide a clear construction site for the contractor," he said. Estimates came in at between $400 and $500 thousand for the contractor to raze the buildings. "Our cost, because the buildings will be burned, will be about $25,000." that is the estimated cost of removing charred debris and delivering concrete to a recycling center, according to Ward. Ward said that the college has worked with state agencies on mitigation issues, removing hazardous materials from the buildings. The fire department will spray a continuous mist over the buildings during the burns to help keep embers from spreading.

Scott Snyder, a captain with the Lewis County District 12 Fire Department, said that windows will be boarded with sheetrock, another measure to help contain possible hazardous materials. "We are following all the state requirements in this," he said. Both Ward and Snyder said that everything possible will be done to preserve the trees adjacent to the buildings. "It isn't often that the fire department has the opportunity to train using an educational building," said Synder. He said that personnel from fire departments from throughout the region will take part in the burn.

The timing for the razing of the buildings will allow the contractor to begin work later this summer and finish in time for a fall quarter 2009 opening. The two buildings have already been used by regional law enforcement agencies as training for responding to possible terrorist scenarios in a school building. "It is a rare opportunity for law enforcement and fire department staffs to be able to take advantage of training like this," said Ward. "It is unfortunate that disasters might occur in school buildings, but it is a fact of our society that they do. This opportunity for training could help save lives."

Centralia College seeks Clocktower Project nominations

Centralia College Clocktower ProjectCentralia College is seeking nominations of individuals or groups of people who might be added to its "Clocktower Diversity Project." Those selected for the project are honored with an engraving placed in the base of the college's clock tower, located near the center of the campus.

Those nominated must be Northwest individuals or groups who have "by virtue of their giftedness, enriched our culture. They will be those whose energy and creativity have allowed us to enjoy life more fully or who have opened us up to new vistas," according to Chris Bailey, the college's vice president for Human Resources. Bailey said that the Clocktower Project pays tribute to a broad range of individuals with varying backgrounds, and has drawn widespread acclaim for recognizing and honoring persons of diversity who have had a substantial impact on modern society. "We encourage anyone who believes they know of someone who meets the criteria to submit the name of that person for consideration," said Bailey.

The deadline for nominations is June 4; an unveiling of the selected individuals or groups will take place in spring 2008. To nominate an individual:

The honorees currently on the clock tower include the Cowlitz People, an ancient people of Southwest Washington, George Tsutakawa, a noted second-generation Japanese-American artist and sculptor, musician Jimi Hendrix; peace activist and humanitarian Floyd Schmoe; former Governor Dixy Lee Ray; native Americans Hazel Pete and Billy Frank, Jr.; dancer/choreographer Merce Cunningham; founders of the city of Centralia, George and Mary Washington; educator Mother Joseph; labor advocate Elmer Smith; and Spanish explorer Juan Perez.

TransAlta to pay tuition for former employees and dependents, new career training programs readied

Former TransAlta mining employees and their dependents may be eligible for free tuition at Centralia College thanks to a pool of $500,000 given to the college and earmarked as community transition funds by the Canadian-based energy producer. The funding by TransAlta could translate to thousands of dollars in tuition and book payments for affected employees and their dependents who choose to train for new careers or work toward a college degree.

The offer of free tuition is available immediately at Centralia College, which begins its spring quarter on April 2. There are also short-term training programs that begin April 16 and April 30.

"It's a tremendous benefit for former TransAlta employees and their dependents, and it is a tremendous offer from TransAlta," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "It's a difficult time for those who were laid off, but the transition funds can go a long way towards helping the individuals and their families." Walton said that although the college rolled out the four new short-term training programs, any of the college's professional/technical and academic transfer programs are open to the laid off workers and their dependents. The free tuition offer is good until the individual completes his or her education or training at Centralia College. Tuition at Centralia College, an amount that is set by the state Legislature, is less than $2,600 per year.

In November 2006, TransAlta stopped mining operations, dislocating about 600 workers. The owners of the regional energy producer made available $5 million to various community agencies and organizations to help reduce community impact. The one-half million dollars that came to the college to assist former workers and their dependents comes from that community transition fund pool.

"A layoff of this magnitude has a long-lasting impact on the lives of not just the former workers but for the entire community. TransAlta and the college are opening a door of opportunity that can make a difference in the lives of many people," said Walton.

The spring quarter short-term training programs, which are open to everyone, not just former TransAlta employees, include aluminum welding, entrepreneurship, security management, and survey technology. Three of the four programs, each 11 weeks long, begin April 16. The fourth, aluminum welding, launches April 30 and lasts eight weeks.

"By always looking for ways to grow and keep up with needs of employers in the region, we have achieved a strong mix of programs that provide a variety of in-demand career training opportunities," said Steve Miller, Dean of Professional/ Technical Instruction at the college. Miller added that these are short-term training programs in high-demand fields with the possibility of relatively quick career employment opportunities. "People looking for exciting careers in growth fields need to check into these opportunities."

The training programs include:

This eleven-week training program allows students to develop entrepreneurial skills. Lee Coumbs, a highly successful Lewis County businessman, teaches Introduction to Business and Entrepreneurship: Starting a Business. This program runs Monday through Thursday from 1-4:30 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and from 1-5:20 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursdays. This is the opportunity to turn skills and interests into a new business. Students who complete this 16-credit program will earn a Certificate of Completion in Entrepreneurship.

Security Management
This program allows students to develop highly valued skills. Associate Professor Greg Gilbertson, recently returned from a sabbatical in Iraq where he taught security management to the Iraqi police force and government officials, will be the instructor for three courses, Introduction to Security Management, Security Management I and Security Management II. This program runs Monday through Friday evenings from 7-9:50 p.m. Students who complete this 15-credit program will earn a Certificate of Completion in Security Management.

Survey Technology
This program allows students to develop skills in survey technology. Surveying is a critical skill used in highway construction, land plotting, residential, and commercial construction. Students will learn three levels of surveying as well as survey computations. This weekend program will be held on Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students who complete this 15-credit program will earn a Certificate of Completion in Survey Technology.

Aluminum Welding
This eight-week, five-credit training program allows students to develop skills in aluminum welding. Mike Driscoll, the instructor, has over 20 years of welding and teaching experience and has spent many summers working in industry to ensure that what he teaches is relevant to industry. Aluminum welding skills are in high demand in industries such as boat building and aeronautics. This program meets on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5-8:50 p.m. Graduates will earn a Certificate of Completion in Aluminum Welding.

Former TransAlta mine employees and their dependents are asked to contact the college regarding eligibility and funding information. Anyone interested in any of these or other programs at the college, please call (360) 736-9391, ext. 427, ext. 770, or visit the registration office on the second floor of the Student Center Building, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Spring quarter starts soon, so those interested in taking advantage of these new educational opportunities need to act now, according to Miller.

Centralia College makes transfer process more efficient

Centralia College is making it more efficient for students to transfer to any of the state's four-year colleges and universities. The process now provides ten new degree pathways for students who want to transfer to a baccalaureate institution in the state.

The new "Major Related Pathways" (MRP) allow for more efficient educational planning, because community college students following a MRP will complete the writing, math, and as many other general education requirements as are completed by students who enter the university directly as freshman in addition to the lower division requirements in their intended major.

While the traditional Associate in Arts degree will continue to be the most appropriate degree choice for students intending to major in the social sciences or the humanities, alternative degree options have been developed for students intending to major in science, engineering, elementary education, or business. Several years ago, the community colleges and the baccalaureate colleges and universities worked together to create the Associate in Science Transfer degree. For students who will major in a science (Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Environmental, Physics, and Computer) or engineering, following this degree pathway has meant that they take all of the first and second year science and math courses required to enter their majors as juniors when they transfer to the baccalaureate institution.

As a result of the success of the Associate in Science, additional specialized associate degrees have been adopted by Centralia College. The additional pathways include degrees that are structured under the Associate in Science but allow the student to focus on a particular field of study. Associates in Biology Education, Physics Education, General Science Education, and Chemistry Education are available for students who know that they want to teach science at the secondary level. Additional pathways in engineering have also been developed, allowing students to enter a particular engineering field of study. These include Bio and Chemical Engineering, Computer and Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical and Civil Engineering.

Students who intend to major in business and math will also benefit from the adoption of additional degree pathways by Centralia College. An Associate in Business will allow students to take the necessary lower division courses needed in order for them to transfer, with junior status, and major in a variety of business fields: finance, accounting and administration are among the most popular. Additional MRPs have been adopted in Early Childhood Education, Math Education, and Pre-Nursing.

In order for students to benefit from these new degree options, they must identify their academic interest early in their community college career and should work closely with their faculty advisors regarding course selection and transfer requirements of particular baccalaureate institutions. According to Dean of Instruction for Academic Programs, Laura Brener, "The addition of these pathways will allow students who know what they want to focus on to do so as soon as they begin their college education here at Centralia College."

Centralia College scholarship deadline near

About 225 students are expected to apply for scholarships for the 2007-08 college year, but they must act soon, according to Steve Ward, executive director of the foundation. "Most students who get a scholarship have a 3.0 grade-point average in high school," Ward noted. "Local high school valedictorians and salutatorians get full scholarships if they attend Centralia College," Ward added, "but they still have to put in an application to be eligible."

The deadline to apply for all college scholarships at Centralia College is March 1 (only one application is needed to apply for all of the Centralia College Foundation scholarships). The names of individuals winning a scholarship will be announced during spring quarter. Among the scholarships being offered are some that don't require the 3.0 grade point average (generally in vocational and technical fields) and others that are determined by non-academic student interests such as politics, music, or in specific humanities studies.

Most scholarships cover all or part of tuition costs, but a few also cover such expenses as books, fees or other costs. There are exceptions, however, that provide for nearly all college costs. The application also requires two letters of recommendation, high school or college transcripts, and an essay. Full details and copies of the application form are available by calling the college at (360) 736-9391, ext. 220. Applications may be downloaded from the Centralia College Web site at

Centralia College offers financial aid workshop

More than half of the students at Centralia College receive some degree of financial aid to help them achieve their educational goals. For some, a financial boost means the difference between college and a dead-end job.

College financial aid staff announces a workshop to help anyone determine if they are eligible for financial aid, from what sources, and how much aid they might be entitled to receive. The workshop is scheduled for Feb. 10, from 10-1, in Washington Hall, on the college campus. Posted signs will provide specific location the day of the workshop. Potential students will get free on-site professional assistance filling out the appropriate federal student aid forms. Attendees will also be able to talk with financial aid specialists about other financial aid resources and how to apply. Those attending the workshop should bring their 2006 tax return if it has already been filed, their 2006 forms W-2, or their year-end pay stubs. Those documents will help determine if income-based student aid is available. Many other financial support programs will be outlined where appropriate. For further information on the workshop, contact the Centralia College Financial Aid Office at 736-9391, ext. 234.

Centralia College rolls out Science Center plans

Centralia College Science Center, a 70,000-square foot, three-story edifice planned as the newest addition to the college campus, continues on track and is included in the Governor's proposed budget for the new biennium, which begins July 1. The proposed center is likely to meet approval from both the state House and Senate.

"This science center will make a tremendous impact on education in the region as well as provide a boost to the area's economy," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. The building would be constructed on a vacant lot at the northeast corner of Washington Avenue and Walnut Street.

Representatives from Leavengood and Associates, building architects, talked about the $30 million structure and their rationale for design and materials that not only incorporate the most current thinking in education, but also the latest in energy conservation and environmental compatibility. Leavengood and Associates is the firm that designed the college's Kirk Library, Washington Hall, Aadland Esplanade and the clock tower.

"Producing students who have every opportunity to be successful in the classroom requires a college with the most modern equipment in the best facilities that we can provide," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "On behalf of the faculty and staff of the college, and the many students who will benefit from this exciting new facility, I want to thank our state legislators, regional educators, and leaders from government, business and industry who have had a hand in bringing this project this much closer to reality."

Dr. Steve Norton, the college's assistant professor of science, said that the students would certainly be the beneficiaries of the new science center. "This facility gives us so much more flexibility," he said. "Learning doesn't always take place in a classroom lecture setting in a two-hour block. With dedicated labs we will be able to run with experiments that may require a longer time frame," he said. "Student learning will have a lot more depth."

The science center would contain a third-story green house and an astronomy deck, in addition to classrooms, lecture halls, meeting areas, and faculty offices. Walton acknowledged that the college has been working closely with City of Centralia officials in coordinating the growth of the college campus. "Not only on this project but the city has been a tremendous asset on every construction effort."

The ground breaking on the center is expected to take place during the summer of 2007. Construction would take about 16 months.

Centralia College inks global warming pact

It is a fact that global warming is real. If the consequences of climate change continue the apparent trend, whether it's a naturally occurring phenomena or the result of human intervention may not matter. The question might better be: what are you going to do to slow or reverse the process.

Centralia College is on the cusp of taking a regional leadership role on the issue. Dr. Jim Walton, president, will become a charter signatory to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, a pledge to model ways to minimize global warming emissions, and to provide the knowledge and educated students to achieve climate neutrality.

The Commitment asks the college to ensure that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver standard or equivalent, a step that the college has already undertaken with the new science center; and adopt an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which the ratings exist.

Further actions call for the college to establish a policy of offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions generated by air travel paid for by Centralia College; encourage use of, and provide access to, public transportation for faculty, staff, students and visitors at our institution; begin purchasing or producing at least 15 percent of the college's electricity consumption from renewable sources. In Washington state, energy from hydroelectric sources is not generally classified as renewable.

The college will begin assembling a plan to achieve climate neutrality, a plan that includes completion of a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions (including emissions from electricity, heating, commuting, and air travel). The college will also develop an institutional action plan moving towards becoming climate neutral.

The letter that Walton is asked to sign states that college presidents are, "deeply concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of global warming and its potential for large-scale adverse health, social, economic, and ecological effects. We further recognize the need to reduce the global emission of greenhouse gases by 80 percent by mid-century at the latest, in order to avert the worst impacts of global warming and to re-establish the more stable climatic conditions that have made human progress over the last 10,000 years possible." At this point there is no information on the financial impact this might have on the college. Walton said he expects that many of the colleges and universities in the Puget Sound region will sign the Commitment.

Displaced miners invited to training/employment forum

Administrators, professional-technical officials and employment specialists at Centralia College have called in regional support to help former TransAlta mine employees search for employment options. The college will host an educational, training, and employment forum from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

"The impact on the community will be enormous," said college president Dr. Jim Walton. "The economic setback will affect everyone in the community. We're working to help laid-off workers consider new career choices and take steps to stabilize their families." Centralia College staff is bringing top training and employment resources to the college for this forum. Partners in the effort include WorkSource, the State Labor Council, International Union of Operating Engineers, TransAlta, Pacific Mountain Economic Development Council and others.

"Many families will realize that a spouse may have to earn a second income during the difficult transition period," Walton said. "The forum will have specialists from area colleges to discuss technical programs that can provide a decent salary after a few weeks of classes."

Among the educational resources at the forum are South Sound Community College, Grays Harbor College, Lower Columbia College, The Evergreen State College, and St. Martins University.

Many former mine workers have expressed a desire to remain in the area because of the support of family and friends. Retraining counselors will discuss day, evening and weekend classes, on-line courses, Credit for Prior Learning, correspondence, and other learning alternatives with those hoping to retrain so they may stay in the local area.

The forum begins with orientation sessions at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 11 a.m. Attendees may choose the time that works best for them. Before and after each session, workers and their families are invited to meet with education and training specialists to discuss the options available and to consider a broad range of choices that may help meet their immediate and long-term needs. They may also learn about skills testing, assessment, and career counseling services available at Centralia College.

There is no charge to attend the training and employment forum and no reservations are needed. There will be coffee and donuts, and a chance for families to discuss their needs one-on-one with people who can help.

Centralia College, St. Martin's ink Criminal Justice pact

The Centralia College Criminal Justice program took a leap forward when the college signed an agreement with St. Martin's University that forges a pathway for students to earn a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice on the two-year college campus.

"This creates a tremendous advantage for our students who want to stay in the area and receive a four-year degree from a quality institution," said Dr. Jim Walton, Centralia College's president.

Students in the program would spend the first two years as Centralia College students and pay Centralia College tuition. They would then finish out the final two years as St. Martin's students but would continue to take courses on the Centralia College campus. St. Martin's offers an extension campus tuition package that is lower than its on-campus tuition.

The agreement will take effect in January 2007 with the beginning of winter quarter classes at Centralia College. Representatives from both institutions signed the agreement Thursday, Nov. 30, during a ceremony on the Centralia College campus. Signing the accord for St. Martins was Dr. Douglas Astolfi, president.

Criminal justice classes will be taught during the evening and on weekends at Centralia College's Washington Hall. The total package will consist of five eight-week terms, administered by the office of Cruz Arroyo, director of extension campuses for St. Martin's. The first quarter will feature two classes: Law and Evidence, held Monday and Wednesday nights from 5:30 to 8:10; and Judicial Process, held Tuesday and Thursday nights at the same time. Both classes will run from Jan. 8 to March 6.

Greg Gilbertson, Centralia College's criminal justice associate professor, spearheaded the efforts to link the Centralia College program with St. Martin's. But, he noted, students may enter the program at Centralia College and transfer into criminal justice programs elsewhere. "This is a great time to be in criminal justice. There are many very good employment opportunities," said Gilbertson. Typical starting salaries exceed $30,000, he said. Walton and Astolfi agreed that the Criminal Justice program could be the first among others that could follow.

Centralia College rolls out Science Center floor plans

The public is invited to a preview of the anticipated Centralia College Science Center, a 70,000-square foot, three-story edifice. The unveiling of drawings of the center takes place Friday, Dec. 1, beginning at 1 p.m.

"This science center will make a tremendous impact on education in the region as well as provide a boost to the area's economy," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. The building would be constructed on a vacant lot at the northeast corner of Washington Avenue and Walnut Street.

College faculty, staff, and the public are invited to a preview of the proposed $30 million structure when representatives from Leavengood and Associates, building architects, make their presentation in Corbet Theatre, on the college campus. Leavengood is the firm that designed the college's Kirk Library, Washington Hall, Aadland Esplanade and the clock tower. Following this formal overview, the unveiling ceremony will adjourn to the lobby of Washington Hall for a look at the schemas and a building mock-up. Washington Hall is located at the southwest corner of Washington Avenue and Walnut Street. Light refreshments will be available.

"Producing students who have every opportunity to be successful in the classroom requires a college with the most modern equipment in the best facilities that we can provide," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "On behalf of the faculty and staff of the college, and the many students who will benefit from this exciting new facility, I want to thank our state legislators, regional educators, and leaders from government, business and industry who have had a hand in bringing this project this much closer to reality."

Walton said that many people have joined together to work on this extraordinary opportunity for students. The payback on this investment is that Centralia College "will provide superior opportunity for students, which will help them to succeed in life," he said. Walton acknowledged that the college has been working closely with City of Centralia officials in coordinating the growth of the college campus. "Not only on this project but the city has been a tremendous asset on every construction effort." The building will house the college's health and sciences departments, as well as general classrooms. The ground breaking on the center is expected to take place during the summer of 2007, pending formal approval of funding by the 2007 Washington state Legislature.

New Energy Production prep class at Centralia College

The Energy Technology program at Centralia College has taken a bold step to help marginal students enter top-level technological training. Under a new "Basic Energy" concept, those without adequate math or language skills may have an opportunity to enter the high-pay, high-demand Power Plant Operations program.

"We designed a program for students that are otherwise not qualified because they lack required language skills or math ability," said Barbara Hins-Turner, executive director of the college's Center of Excellence for Energy Technology. "We wanted a class that would enable adults who hadn't taken enough math courses in high school, and those for whom English is a second language to eventually enter our Energy Technology program."

The new initiative is embraced by federal, state, and local agencies that help train displaced workers or underemployed people for critical, top-level careers. The Centralia College program has received some funding to assist Hispanic and other chronically underemployed students, and the Basic Energy program is another step in meeting those responsibilities. "The Northwest is going to need thousands of new, well-trained power operators and energy professionals in just a few years," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "We believe this initiative will help us produce the skilled workers the nation needs while we expand our outreach to under-trained and under-employed people in our communities."

The new Basic Energy classes, part of a concept fully supported by Gov. Christine Gregoire and US Rep. Brian Baird, will only be available on the college's night schedule. Those not presently enrolled in a Centralia College adult basic program may do so to enter the energy prep classes. The next classes begin on Jan. 3. "The program isn't going to be easy," said instructor Rebecca Forsythe," but the rewards for those who complete our basic program and get into energy technology are almost limitless. There are hundreds of good jobs waiting to be filled." Those wishing further information on the ESL/ABE basic energy program should contact the Center of Excellence at 736-9391, ext. 280.

College seeks support to remodel gym

Centralia College continues to grow, to nobody's surprise. The first decade of the new millennium will likely witness the biggest growth spurt ever, with completion of the new Washington Hall education complex, groundbreaking for a spectacular science building, the first steps toward a new student center, and the renovation of a favorite old friend--the college gym--all in one ten-year time span. The gymnasium was built to serve the old high school back in 1937. In the ensuing seventy years it has hosted literally thousands of events, from high school and college varsity basketball to church leagues, adult health classes, regional class "B" tournaments, wrestling and volleyball, kid's play days, and pick-up scrimmages between friends. In the process, the gym has become a focal point of the community.

The gymnasium was remodeled in 1971, but it's time now to do something special to breathe decades of new life into the venerable old facility. The gym is just too good to lose! The gymnasium is the subject of a brand-new renovation project that will give it a facelift, improve the facility from both a competition and spectator perspective, and create hundreds of new health and fitness opportunities for the community. Steve Ward, Centralia College vice president of administration and finance, said the gym is structurally sound, and a relatively modest investment of about $2.5 million will produce a sparkling new sports and fitness facility worth many millions to the college and the community. The college has about $1.5 million on hand for the ambitious project and the Centralia College Foundation will begin a major fundraiser this fall to raise the remaining $1 million.

"The most visible part of the project will be a new front entrance and a better lobby and hallways to direct patrons to events or specialty areas," Ward said. "There will be major modifications to some of the facilities that are most important to the community." Among new features of the expanded gym are a modern weight and strength training lab, a plyometric lab for speed and quickness training, and modifications that will allow users such as CAPRI program heart attack recovery victims additional opportunities for rebuilding their health. "Moving these programs into the expanded sections will provide almost unlimited facilities for additional classes and community access," Ward added.

Renovation planners have carefully maintained the character and style of the old gym. It has been an important community landmark and is the last significant remaining piece of the old CHS complex. The "new" facility, although larger and fully modernized, will still be a focal point for the thousands of people for whom Centralia High and Centralia College have a special, lifelong meaning. "We intend to bring a modern new facility to the community," said college president Dr. Jim Walton, "but we will retain a landmark so prominent in the memories of generations of the folks around here. It's just too good to lose," he added with a smile.

Centralia College Heritage Court honors links with community

In September 1925, on the third floor of Centralia High School, the first class of Centralia Junior College opened its doors to a handful of students. Since that day the college has survived many obstacles and adversities and has enjoyed many successes. Heritage Court, a unique courtyard located on the Centralia College campus near the front entrance to where the former high school stood (south of the current college gym), commemorates the college's beginnings and the relationship the college holds with students and the community.

The Centralia College Foundation is making available the opportunity for individuals, businesses and organizations to be a part of Heritage Court. Bricks can be purchased and engraved with the name of a friend, classmate, or business and placed in the courtyard. There is a unique bond linking Centralia College, its students, their families and the community," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "This is the opportunity to keep your name, the name of a graduate, friend, or family member as a permanent part of Heritage Court.”

Centralia College and Centralia High School shared a building, grounds, and teachers for many years. Students could just move up to the high school's third floor when they entered college. "Heritage Court, in reality, belongs to the community. It was the vision of community leaders that not only created the college and nurtured it, but also carried the college through some pretty thin times," said Walton. The courtyard brick floor already contains the names of individuals who are a part of the legacy of the college.

Guarding the courtyard north wall are four of the restored original columns that stood at the front and side of the former high school. Those Roman-styled columns, salvaged by Jim Stiltner, Rochester, who donated them to the college, were created around the turn of the century at the Tenino sandstone quarry. The high school building was damaged by an earthquake and torn down in 1969. A mural of that building adorns the south wall of the college gym and serves as a backdrop for Heritage Court. The columns and murals are a reminder of the where Centralia College began.

The engraved bricks are on sale for $35 each or three bricks for $100. Each brick may have up to 18 letters in each of three rows. Corporate granite stones are also available. "This is a great opportunity for members of a high school class. People attending class reunions could buy single bricks or sections of the courtyard to honor their class or classmates," said Walton. "Those who attended the high school or college might consider honoring members of their family, special friends or teachers or even events that are important.  It's a great gift idea and something that will be around for a very long time." For information on obtaining a brick for Heritage Court, contact Centralia College at (360) 736-9391, ext. 290.

Centralia College seeks Distinguished Alumnus candidates

A Centralia College selection committee is seeking nominations for the college's annual Distinguished Alumnus award. This prestigious award is the highest honor the college confers upon individuals who have attended the college and is presented during commencement exercises in June. The award is given to an individual who attended Centralia College for at least one year and has made significant contributions to his or her profession or society in general.

Previous winners of the honor include Brian Valentine, senior vice president of Windows, Microsoft; Susan Dunn, special assistant for policy support with the state Employment Security Department; Del Smith, founder and owner of Evergreen International Aviation, Inc.; Gordon Sweany, past chairman of the Board of Safeco Insurance; Patty Morton, an executive in the U.S. State Department; and Richard Ice, a retirement community administrator.

Both Smith and Valentine have earned National Alumni of the Year honors and were recognized by the American Association of Community Colleges. Others honored include: Gary Justice, former KIRO-TV News anchor; John Mulligan, third-highest ranking official in the U.S. Post Office; Margaret Woods, a nationally recognized leader in the education of young children; Ford Rainey, movie and television actor; Jennifer Williams, founder of the British American Arts Association; James Lonborg, NASA engineer; Donald Fowler, an executive with Tandem Computers; Bill Brumsickle, a former school official and state legislator; and Orin Smith, president of Starbucks.

While the college is aware of the careers and accomplishments of many of its graduates, each year the selection committee depends upon members of the community to make nominations for the award, sharing their knowledge of the successes of Centralia College alumni. For additional information or nominating forms call Centralia College, (360) 736-9391, ext. 268 or 221. The name and information on how to contact a nominee may be mailed to:
Don Frey
Centralia College
600 Centralia College Blvd.
Centralia, WA 98531