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PCC's largest campus finds a new leader
Photos and Story by James Hill
PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Community College has chosen Linda Gerber to be the next president of the Sylvania Campus, the largest comprehensive campus in the PCC district.
Gerber, a resident of southeast Portland, has served as interim president of the campus since May 2006. She came to PCC from Mt. Hood Community College where she served as executive dean of instruction until her retirement in 2004. During her ten years at Mt. Hood, she also served as dean of the Language and Literature Division. As president of the Sylvania Campus (12000 S.W. 49th Ave.), Gerber oversees the operation and leadership of the campus, which serves more than 24,600 students annually.
“It is an unanticipated change in the course of my life,” Gerber said of her hiring. “It is a great privilege to serve in this position at PCC. The college has made an important difference in so many peoples lives, and my experience is just one example.”
At the prompting of a concerned friend, Gerber started her college career at PCC when she was a 21-year-old, single mother of three. She managed to work her way through PCC and then eventually Portland State. All the while, she was supporting her children by working part-time at an adding machine company in downtown Portland. Gerber also got a taste of what it’s like to work at a college by volunteering her time as a writing tutor.
“I was very typical of the returning student – a single parent with no marketable skills even though I had a high school diploma,” Gerber remembers. “I really do believe that had PCC not been here I would not have gotten a college education. The community college represents what is best and utterly unique about America. You can have a poor start in education, make a mistake, or have the world unexpectedly change around you and still get a second chance at an excellent education and satisfying career.”
Gerber was a research evaluation coordinator for the PCC district from 1989 to 1994 where she led the professional-technical faculty in creating one of the nation’s first comprehensive program assessment processes. From 1984 to 1987, she was director of Portland State University’s Educational Opportunity Program. Her teaching experience includes 11 years as a writing instructor at PSU. She holds a doctorate in Leadership in Postsecondary Education, master’s degree in education, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Portland State University. She was a research fellow at the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, N.J., in 1990 and currently serves on the board of Southeast Works.
The Sylvania Campus is located in suburban Southwest Portland between Lake Oswego and Tigard. The campus opened in 1968 and rests on a gently sloping hillside, bordered by a forest of Douglas firs, oaks, maples and alders. It offers breathtaking views of Tualatin Valley, Bull Mountain and the Oregon Coast Range.
Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon, serving approximately 88,200 full- and part-time students. For more PCC news, please visit us on the Web at www.pcc.edu/news. PCC has three comprehensive campuses, five workforce training and education centers, and 200 community locations in the Portland metropolitan area. The PCC district encompasses a 1,500-square-mile area in northwest Oregon and offers two-year degrees, one-year certificate programs, short-term training, alternative education, pre-college courses and life-long learning.