50 Years in the Making: Honoring Bob Ross
"It doesn't feel like 50 years of teaching. It sneaks up on you because you're having a great time," said Ross. "I can't imagine a better life.
Ross remembers LBCC’s early days and compares them to being a pioneer arriving in a new, uncultivated land. "There was so much excitement and creativity at that time. We were asking, ‘What are the students asking for? What do they need?’ We were listening. It was fun to hear the feedback.”
Over the next five decades, Ross taught courses in biology, botany, natural history, foods and nutrition, zoology, vegetable garden ecology, reproductive strategies, Oregon ecology and photography.
Ross’s philosophy was, and still is, all about teaching students how to be curious, to observe and to make connections in their learning. Ross and his students have explored and studied plants and animals in Oregon’s wetlands, coasts, forests, streams, mountains and fields. One class watched elk swimming in the ocean. Another hiked with Ross and other instructors into the crater of Mt. St. Helens.
Although he officially retired in 1998, Ross continued to teach full-time for a few years after, donating his salary to the Peace and Justice Institute. He now teaches part-time, and still believes his best work is helping students grow at LBCC.
“College is about folks who blossom into the futures they envision for themselves. My greatest honor comes from LBCC, that allows me to continue to share the wonders of life with students so that they can be more successful people,” said Ross.
Story by LBCC student Becky Howell
Becky Howell's full Bob Ross story in the Commuter