50 Years in the Making: Honoring Joseph Novak

Through the years, LBCC has been fortunate to have had many dedicated people who gave their time and energy to help make it the great institution it is today.

One of those people was Joseph Novak. When Joseph retired from the LBCC Board of Education after serving 25 years, he said, “I think LBCC is the finest community college in this state. Education is the greatest tool you can have in terms of economic development.”

As one of the longest-serving college board members, serving from 1981 and 2006, Joseph gave not only of his time but also his unending passion. His recent passing in January reminds us of his many contributions to LBCC.

Joseph served three terms as the college board chair and four terms as vice chair. He worked with four of six LBCC presidents, helping to hire three. For more than 30 years, Joseph consistently advocated to legislators for more state funding for community colleges.

In 2007, LBCC honored Joseph with a Distinguished Service Award. That same year, LBCC studen…

50 Years in the Making: Honoring Bob Ross

As LBCC's first full-time employee and faculty member hired in June 1968, biology instructor Bob Ross shares a significant milestone with LBCC. One might even say the two grew up together.

"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 …

50 Years in the Making: Sweet Home Center

Since 1971, LBCC has offered community education classes in Sweet Home and surrounding areas. Originally named the Santiam Center, the center shared an office with the Sweet Home Chamber of Commerce at 1240 10th Avenue. Mona Waibel served as director.

Approximately 275 students took classes that first year, which included high school equivalency classes, art, business education, welding and writing classes. Most classes were held in local churches during the day and at Sweet Home High School in the evening.

As demand for community education grew, LBCC and the Chamber continued their partnership by leasing a building at 1314 Long Street. The new space included a classroom, storage, restrooms and offices for LBCC and Chamber use.

An open house was held in 1975. In 1985, the college expanded its reach to include classes in Brownsville and Central Linn. Classes were held at the Brownsville Recreation Center, Brownsville Library and City Hall, and at Central Linn High School.

The Sweet Home…

50 Years in the Making: Lebanon Center

Originally housed in three modular units outside Lebanon Union High School, the LBCC Lebanon Center has served East Linn county since 1972, providing space to hold community education classes.

In 1981, the center relocated to a 19-acre site at 2600 Stoltz Hill Road, which encompassed seven acres of donated land and 12 acres of adjacent land purchased by the college. 

For some, the Stoltz Hill location was a bit off the beaten path, and in 1986, the Lebanon community and the Chamber of Commerce requested the center to move downtown. The former J.C. Penney building on 550 Main Street was donated to house the center, and the Stoltz Hill site was put up for sale.

The new location offered three times the space as the Stoltz Hill facility. In 1988, the college received a state economic development grant to remodel the building, which was completed in 1990.

As the community grew and the college expanded class offerings in Lebanon and East Linn County, the need for more space became apparent.…

50 Years in the Making: Benton Center

Since 1967, LBCC has served Benton County and the surrounding communities, starting with evening adult education classes held at Corvallis High School.

In 1971, LBCC opened the first headquarters for the Benton Center in a 10 x 35-foot trailer parked near CHS, offering around 80 evening classes in high school classrooms and elsewhere in Corvallis. Adult education director Orville Zielaskowski was appointed as the first center director.

In September 1977, the Benton Center moved to its current location in the former Washington Elementary School on Polk Avenue in Corvallis. Math and business technology were the first core programs offered, along with ongoing adult basic education and parent education classes.

In addition to on-site classroom space, the new building offered space for a ceramics lab, and the school's gym became home to the center's fitness classes – ever popular with community members today.

In 1994, a successful bond measure provided funds for installation of an…

50 Years in the Making: Honoring Russell Tripp

Sweeping out an old barn in 1967 so students could attend class there was not in his job description as a college board member. But sweep he did.

Some 50 years later, LBCC Founding Board Member Russell Tripp would find himself celebrating the college’s 50th Anniversary, held September 29, 2017 – just not in a barn.

Through the years, Tripp has seen the college transform from those early days in ’67, holding classes in barns and basements and serving 2,400 students, to a 104-acre Albany campus, centers in Corvallis, Lebanon, and Sweet Home, and serving more than 19,000 students and community members today.

Advocating to bring a community college to Linn county, Tripp was elected in 1967 to serve on LBCC’s first board of education.

That first board had a lot of work ahead of them to get the newly-formed college up and running, including appointing the first college president, Dr. Eldon Schafer, who put out a lofty goal to have the first classes start in September of that year.

“It was …

50 Years in the Making: LBCC Foundation

Linn-Benton Community College’s Foundation was established in 1972, just five years after the college began, and has provided resources to support student success and program excellence ever since.

Last year, the LBCC Foundation granted more than $360,000 in student scholarships and more than $1 million in program support, thanks to the generosity of our donors.

So many in our communities have either attended LBCC, have friends and family who have attended or know of businesses that hire LBCC graduates. 

As LBCC approaches its 50th Commencement in June, it’s likely that some of the first LBCC graduates will be attending their child’s – or perhaps even their grandchild’s – graduation from LBCC.

You can help inspire the next generation of LBCC graduates. Your gift to the LBCC Foundation makes all the difference in the lives of students and the communities we serve.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, gifts to the Foundation qualify as charitable contributions for federal estate and g…