The Chemeketa Board of Education appointed Betsy Earls to represent West Salem and Polk County at its meeting Wednesday. Earls fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Richard Riggs in January.
Earls, who holds a law degree from Willamette University, serves as Vice President for Associated Oregon Industries where she focuses on legislative issues related to education.
Earls said she sought the appointment because, “Employers have a keen interest in community colleges and workforce development.”
Earls will serve until May of 2013 when the position will go before voters for election.
“We are delighted to welcome Betsy to our board,” said Ron Pittman, Chemeketa Board of Education chairperson. “Her experience and knowledge of legislative and educational policy will make a great contribution.”
The Chemeketa Board of Education is comprised of seven elected members who represent zones within the Chemeketa district which covers the counties of Marion, Polk and Yamhill as well as a portion of Linn. They meet monthly to provide oversight and guide policy and funding at Chemeketa.
Local businessman Ron LeBlanc has donated a trust fund to the Chemeketa Foundation in support of the Jill LeBlanc Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception in 2003, the Jill LeBlanc Memorial Scholarship has provided nine students with $1,000 scholarships annually; this donation provides funding for 10 $1,000 scholarships per year indefinitely. Scholarships are awarded to Chemeketa students pursuing health care careers.
LeBlanc, president of The Legacy Group, Ltd., launched the Jill LeBlanc Memorial Scholarship to recognize the tremendous efforts put forth by health care professionals who assisted his wife Jill during her battle with cancer. The scholarship aims to alleviate the shortage of local health care professionals by providing financial assistance to students enrolled in Chemeketa’s nursing, health services management, medical assistant, hemodialysis technician, pharmacy or dental assisting programs.
“Jill’s oncology nurses were incredible and helped me realize the importance of quality health care providers,” says Mr. LeBlanc. “I firmly believe that Chemeketa is a valuable resource for training health care professionals and that students should not miss out on opportunities to learn based on their financial situation. I believe Jill’s scholarship fund will be an excellent return on investment.”
Mr. LeBlanc served on the Chemeketa Foundation board for 12 years and is a former president of the board.
Chemeketa Community College awarded degrees and certificates during the college’s 56th annual graduation ceremony on June 19 at the Pavilion at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem.
Along with post-secondary diplomas and certificates, graduates of Winema High School and high school equivalency and general equivalency programs participated in the ceremony as well. In total, around 700 students attended the ceremony.
As thousands of the graduates’ friends and family members looked on from the seats of the pavilion, Chemeketa President Cheryl Roberts encouraged the graduates to look for ways to serve and lead in the future.
“Everyone can be great because anyone can serve,” Roberts said. “You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Ron Pittman, chairman of Chemeketa’s Board of Education, also addressed the graduates.
“We Board of Education members are blessed to have the opportunity to serve you, and I hope your life beyond Chemeketa is full of giving to others.”
In a new tradition, the retiring faculty member with the greatest seniority is given the honor of carrying the school mace into the ceremony. This year, the honor was given to Linda Craven, who is retiring from Chemeketa after 36 years as an Early Childhood Education instructor.
Statesman-Journal article on graduation.