chemeketa students

Monthly Archives: April 2012

Robbins speaks at Chemeketa on disabilities, access

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Jeremy Robbins“I think we all, every one of us, have abilities and disabilities,” Jeremy Robbins told his audience at Chemeketa Community College’s Student Center.

“Some of us,” he said as he placed his hands on his wheelchair, “have ones we can see, and some of us have ones we can’t see,”

Robbins came to Chemeketa on April 26 as a guest of the TRiO programs department to give a presentation on his own story following an injury that resulted in his quadriplegia and to discuss the issues of disability as a part of multiculturalism and disability access in education.

On October 3, 1999, Robbins was out bike riding when he misgauged his location on a hill leading down to a street. He wound up striking a retaining wall, somersaulting and breaking the C5, C6 and C7 vertebrae in his neck.

“It instantly felt like my body was on fire,” he said.

But after his injury, and battling the anger he felt, Robbins began to work on his education, earning an associate’s degree from Mt. Hood Community College, a bachelor’s from Marylhurst University, then a master’s in rehabilitation counseling at Portland State University.

His time in school, he said, not only helped him move past the anger he had with his injury, but also helped him to realize that when it came to issues with disability access on his campuses, he had to be able to advocate for himself. He now frequently speaks to people who are newly disabled and speaks to raise awareness of disability needs on college campuses.

He ultimately wants to work in disability services at a community college, he said.

Robbins said when talking to people who have just had a spinal cord injury, “I dilute it down to one statement: Life rolls on.”

Disabilities in general, but especially spinal cord injuries, bring with them a unique culture and challenges, Robbins said. They can happen to anybody of any gender, race or wealth. It’s up to the people themselves to decide what they want to do.

“If I can make it work, I know anyone can make it work,” he said.


Class Drop deadline extended to Monday, April 16

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Drop deadline extendedBecause of the problems experienced by My Chemeketa on Friday, April 13, the deadline to drop a spring term course and still receive a refund has been extended to Monday, April 16.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the My Chemeketa outage.


Former Chemeketa administrator’s wine featured at Obama fundraiser

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Lowell Ford

Lowell Ford (photo courtesy Illahe Vineyards)

Lowell Ford thought his biggest excitement of a late March day was going to be working on buying a new tractor.

Then the former Chemeketa Community College dean of students got a phone call from his daughter-in-law, Bethany, who is national sales manager for the Ford family’s winery, Illahe Vineyards, south of Dallas.

“She said, ‘I know you’re excited about getting a new tractor, but I can top it,” Ford recalled.

And she was right: Illahe’s 2010 Grüner Veltliner had been chosen to be part of a March 30 fundraising dinner held for President Barack Obama in Portland, Maine.

“My goodness,” Ford said. “We’re just thrilled that someone had made this selection.”

The wine, available for $15 a bottle, was served with the first course of the dinner, which cost between $7,500 and $30,800 to attend, according to an article in the Portland Press Herald. The dinner was held at the Portland Museum of Art and followed a speaking event earlier in the day at Southern Maine Community College.

The person who made the wine selection is Ned Swain of Devenish Wines, a Maine-based wine distributor. And he had a number of reasons for choosing Ford’s wine.

“It went really well with the dish,” Swain said. “The fact that the farming is all sustainable, the Ford family’s commitment to sustainable farming and responsible agriculture. And it’s a smaller-scale production wine.

“And I really like the wine a lot,” he added.

Grüner Veltliner, a white wine grape native to Austria, has become a “hot grape variety” in Maine, Swain said.

“I think it’s a very well-made Grüner Veltliner, but it’s true to it coming from Oregon,” Swain said. “It doesn’t taste like it’s trying to be an Austrian Grüner Veltliner. It still has grüner varietal character, but you can tell that it doesn’t really come from Austria.”

In fact, Swain said, Ford’s version actually pairs better with food than the Austrian varieties.

Ford’s connections with Chemeketa and wine are substantial. Along with being dean of students, he was Chemeketa’s first winemaking instructor. After the course proved popular, he was part of creating the Chemeketa Northwest Viticulture Center at Eola. He remains on the center’s advisory board and is a lifetime donor.

Ford purchased the 80 acres that makes up Illahe Vineyards in 1999 with his wife, Pauline. The first planting was in 2001 and bottling started in 2006.

The winery is a family business: Lowell Ford heads the growing. His son, Brad, himself a former Chemeketa employee and instructor who went through the Northwest Viticulture Center courses, is the winemaker while daughter-in-law Bethany coordinates national sales.

“He really is the creator behind the very good wine,” Ford said of his son.

With all those past and continuing Chemeketa connections, it should be no surprise that there was one aspect of the president’s swing through the Pine Tree State Ford liked beyond having his wine poured.

“A thrill to me, really, having spent 30 years working in a community college, is that President Obama was going to (an event at) a community college,” Ford said.


“College: Yes You Can” middle school outreach April 21

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Middle School Outreach EventChemeketa hosts “College: Yes You Can” event for middle schoolers April 21

Middle school students and their families are invited to attend “College: Yes You Can,” a free, bilingual informational event aimed at exploring students’ college and career options. The event, to be held from 9 am to 2 pm on Saturday, April 21, will feature speakers and hands-on activities with Chemeketa Community College, Oregon State University and Western Oregon University. Free lunch and refreshments will be provided for all participants.

Check-in begins at 9 am in Building 6 at Chemeketa’s Salem campus. Attendees can follow campus signs to the auditorium and park in the brown or purple lots.

Families are encouraged to preregister. For more information, please call Susan McCaffrey, College Access Programs coordinator at 503.589.7620.


“Oregon Original” exhibit coming to gallery

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Sculptor James O'Keefe in art galleryThe newest exhibit in the Gretchen Schuette Art Gallery will feature sculpture incorporating modern techniques focused on the nature of work.

“Oregon Original: Sculpture by James O’Keefe” will run in the gallery from April 11 to May 4.

O’Keefe’s sculpture used the modern technique of assemblage, invented by Dada artists. He gathers and composes the bits and pieces of industrial processes and popular culture to create works of art to reflect upon the nature of work and production in the Industrial Post-Modern world.

“I have attempted to look at business as an ‘art form’, from the individual’s perspective,” O’Keefe said.

“They are not meant to be functional art pieces, but rather representative of our emotions of work, the long hours and the day-to-day nature of work and time,” he added. “Although some pieces emphasize the drudgery of work, they don’t overlook the humorous element in making a living.”

O’Keefe has had numerous exhibitions and installations throughout the Willamette Valley.

For more information on O’Keefe, visit his website.

Spring Term gallery hours:

  • Monday: 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.