OCCC President honored by state association

Birgitte Ryslinge

Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge

Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge receives Howard Cherry Award

The Oregon Coast Community College family is pleased to congratulate our very own president, Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge, on a well-deserved honor.  

On Dec. 3, 2021, Dr. Ryslinge was presented with the Howard Cherry Award for Outstanding Administrator, by the Oregon Community College Association. The Howard Cherry Awards honor and celebrate the contributions that local community college advocates, administrators and board members have made to the benefit of community colleges.

A number of local supporters and College stakeholders leapt at the chance to submit letters of support when they learned Dr. Ryslinge was being considered for this honor. 

Representative David Gomberg, who serves on the College’s Foundation Board of Directors, was among them. “As an observer, I was concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the institution and its students – but I was even more confident that they could not be in better hands,” Gomberg wrote. “Birgitte’s steady, confident, and adaptive handling of the pandemic’s many twists and turns doesn’t define her legacy at Oregon Coast – rather, it reinforces the remarkable example she sets for her institution, each and every day.”

“Many people are blessed with the ability to speak eloquently but are seldom blessed with both the words and the ability to generate results,” wrote Senator Dick Anderson. “Dr. Ryslinge is a true community partner in every sense of the word.”

Dan Lara, Oregon Coast Community College’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, submitted a three-page letter of support, touching on the litany of accomplishments the College has made under her leadership. An excerpt:

“And she walks the talk. A masked Dr. Ryslinge participated in the Black Lives Matter march in Salem. She formed and led the Racial Justice book club for students, faculty, and staff. She led the initiative to amend the college mission statement to explicitly call out the college’s commitment to equity. She is working with our tribal partners to develop a statement acknowledging the native land upon which our college sits, and the native peoples who inhabited this place. Entrepreneurial in all she does, when the college lacked sufficient resources to fund a dedicated diversity officer, she partnered with a neighboring community college to share a position. And in every conversation, she reminds our college community to apply an equity lens to our “…policies and practices for planning and decision-making to heal and transform our structures, our environments, and ourselves.”

Since joining the College in July 2014, Dr. Ryslinge has led the College to independent accreditation, which will add value by allowing OCCC to customize programs and services to meet the specific needs of our region.  She has overseen the creation of new programs such as Early Childhood Education, the “Teach at the Beach” teaching degree program, Welding, and more, and has successfully shepherded the College through the tumult caused by the pandemic. 

The Oregon Coast Community College family thanks Dr. Ryslinge for her tireless work on behalf of our students and the communities we serve. Congratulations, Birgitte!

Dr. Ryslinge can be contacted at 400 SE College Way, Newport, OR 97366, or birgitte.ryslinge@oregoncoast.edu


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