Central Oregon Community College was founded in 1949 as part of the Bend School District. It is the longest standing community college in Oregon. The College District was formed in 1959 and officially established as the Central Oregon Area Education District by a vote of residents in 1962. The original Bend campus opened more than 50 years ago, in 1964.
Donald P. Pence served first as director of the College (from 1950 to 1957) and then as the first president (from 1957 to 1967). Dr. Frederick H. Boyle was president from 1967 through 1990. Dr. Robert L. Barber was the third president in the College’s history and served through 2004. Dr. James E. Middleton served for 10 years, from 2004 to 2014. Dr. Shirley Metcalf became president in 2014 and served through June 30, 2019. On July 1, 2019 Dr. Laurie Chesley began her tenure as the College’s sixth president.
The Central Oregon Community College District encompasses all of Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties, as well as the southern part of Wasco and northern portions of Klamath and Lake counties. A seven-member board of directors governs the College, with members of that board elected from geographic zones in the District. The District covers a 10,000-square-mile area, making it larger than eight of the U.S. states.
Central Oregon Community College has campuses in Bend, Redmond, Madras and Prineville.
The College’s main campus is located on the western edge of Bend, a city known for its natural beauty and proximity to diverse recreational opportunities. The 200-acre Bend campus offers quiet, peaceful surroundings for study and reflection. With its location on the western slope of Awbrey Butte, students have a spectacular view of the Oregon Cascade mountain range from nearly every point on the grounds. The campus contains 26 buildings with a total of 575,000 square feet. The newest building is the 330-bed Wickiup Residence Hall, which opened in September 2015.
On the 25-acre Redmond Campus, there are four buildings, housing administration, classrooms and a computer lab. The Redmond Technology Education Center opened in Fall 2014, housing state-of-the-art facilities and programs.
In 2011, COCC opened campuses in Madras and Prineville. The Madras Campus was funded by the 2009 bond measure and placed on land donated to COCC by the local Bean Foundation. The COCC Crook County Open Campus was funded jointly by the bond measure and a grant to Crook County from the U.S. Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Opportunity Program, and is on land donated by the County.
All campuses offer credit and non-credit courses and the necessary student services to help assure student success.
COCC has 130 full-time faculty members, 50 adjunct faculty (semi-permanent faculty on annual contracts) and approximately 150 part-time instructors per term. The College’s faculty is a committed, professional group of educators, which provides stimulating and meaningful learning experiences for the College’s students. Faculty members serve as advisors to individual students, assisting them in planning academic programs and schedules. All COCC faculty are required to have at least a master’s degree or equivalent training. Within the institution, there is strong motivation for continuing professional improvement by all faculty and administrators. About 40 percent of the faculty have doctorates or a terminal degree in their discipline, which is a very high percentage for a community college.
Nearly 9,000 students enrolled in credit classes at COCC last year. Each quarter, approximately 2,000 full-time and 3,000 part-time students are enrolled. While more than half of the students are under the age of 22, another quarter are 35 and older. About 25 percent of the students enroll in career and technical education programs and take career-oriented courses of study. The remainder enroll in courses that form the freshman and sophomore years of a four-year college program. Students in such a program usually intend to transfer to another college or university for their junior and senior years.
The COCC Foundation
Education changes lives. For more than 60 years, Central Oregon Community College Foundation scholarships have enabled students to learn new skills, earn technical certificates, complete two-year associate’s degrees and be prepared to pursue the remainder of their undergraduate studies at a college or university. Students can apply for an annual scholarship for the next academic year from December 15 to July 15.
The COCC Foundation is the oldest community college foundation in Oregon. Its assets have grown significantly over the years, from the first gift of $500 in 1955 to nearly $23 million today. In addition to scholarship support, the COCC Foundation also provides support in a variety of ways, from supporting departmental programs to providing support for the Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar Program. For 2017-2018, the COCC Foundation offered more than $1.6 million in scholarships and program funds. For more information, call 541-383-7225, or visit cocc.edu/foundation.