Degree Partnership Architect Receives LBCC Honorary Degree

Linn-Benton Community College Board of Education conferred an honorary degree to former Oregon State University administrator Bob Bontrager, Ph.D., to recognize his leadership in developing the LBCC and OSU degree partnership program.

Established in 1998, the LBCC-OSU partnership is, by far, the largest partnership program in Oregon. At any given time, more than 2,000 students are jointly enrolled in LBCC and OSU, allowing for a broader range of class choices and services, and the opportunity to make education more affordable.

Bontrager, of Corvallis, served as OSU’s director of Admission and Orientation, and as assistant provost for Enrollment Management from 1996 to 2005. After establishing the LBCC-OSU partnership, he went on to develop partnership programs between OSU and the rest of Oregon’s community colleges.

“Bob inspired his colleagues at OSU and LBCC to see new ways of working together that removed barriers and built clear pathways to student success and completion,” said LBCC Vice President of Student Affairs Bruce Clemetsen, Ph.D., who was LBCC’s registrar when the partnership program began.

“Bob believed in the quality of the LBCC educational experience, never doubting that many students would be more successful at OSU and LBCC if we worked and learned together, creating a unique and more engaging student experience,” Clemetsen said.

LBCC has issued just four honorary degrees in the past 10 years. The honor is given to people who have made a contribution to the college, community, nation and/or education over a period of time.

“This honorary degree makes Dr. Bontrager an honorary alumnus of LBCC,” said Clemetsen. “Because of the advantages that thousands of our students have because of the degree partnership program, our board wanted to bring Dr. Bontrager into the LBCC family.”

Bontrager continued to advocate for partnership programs even after leaving OSU. In his role as senior director of AACRAO Consulting and SEM Initiatives, he promoted the value of community college and university partnerships across the country and internationally. Numerous partnerships now exist and are growing across the country as result of his advocacy and leadership in the higher education community.

“His vision has changed how OSU, LBCC and numerous other institutions view the student experience and our institutional relationships,” Clemetsen said.

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