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Pulliams away from the office

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Preston Pulliams, District President

Preston Pulliams, PCC’s District President, is a typical community college leader with a resume full of important accomplishments. But a few things you won’t see on that resume are Pulliams’ penchant to play a mean game of racquetball and take very striking photographs.

When free time creeps into his hectic schedule, Pulliams puts on the fitness gear and rolls up the sweat bands for a good game of racquetball. Pulliams can be found every so often in the basement of the HT Building at the Sylvania Campus playing faculty and staff. He relishes getting out of the office and rubbing elbows with staff.

“In a job like this there should be balance,” Pulliams said. “There are a number of things I love to do and I do them as much as my time allows. I like the exercise and it’s a great way to connect with the faculty. And they love to rub it in when I get beat.”

He’s pretty good at golf, too. Pulliams not only loves the game, but he uses it as an excellent way to network. Since he serves on many local non-profit boards, the game allows him an opportunity to fund raise and meet new people who can forward the mission of the community college.

But golf isn’t the only venue for networking or fundraising for PCC’s district president. Pulliams regularly attends circuit weight training at the Sylvania Campus gymnasium in the early morning hours. In the fall, he was challenged to attend the classes by a faculty member as part of a way to raise money for scholarships.

Staff and faculty could pledge support with a cash donation to the PCC Foundation and encourage him to attend the 6 a.m. class. With each attendance, more money would be raised for the PCC Foundation. The result was Pulliams attending all four days and raising more than $2,000 for student scholarships.

On the creative side, his real love is photography. After he was hired in 2004 at PCC, he and his wife Joan drove to Portland from New York. Pulliams took a camera with him to capture the images of America’s scenic landscape.

“But that camera never left the back seat,” he chuckled.

Determined to use his camera and learn the finer points of photography, Pulliams discovered his own creative skill when he took a PCC photography class. The course showed him how to compose his photos, utilize the best camera settings, bring out his subjects as well as develop and make prints. Whether he’s on vacation or on a business trip, he’ll now have his camera with him.

Preston Pulliams, District President“When I start to compose the picture it opens up the perspective of how to view the world,” he said. “The class taught me to look at the world differently and to really look at your surroundings. I’m slowly developing my confidence with photography.”

Any time Pulliams travels, he not only brings his camera, but he uses it. He’s been to Washington D.C. numerous times but says he sees it differently now. He focuses on how the sunlight plays off the city’s traditional patterns and structures. Pulliams’ favorite trip was to China where he was struck by the culture and visual opportunities.

“I was blown away by the colors and patterns,” Pulliams said.

Pulliams is also a jazz/blues enthusiast and some nights you can find him in a club in town enjoying soulful tunes, or at the Mt. Hood and Portland jazz festivals. He’s even tried his hand at composing music, but that didn’t seem to go over too well.

“My daughters, who are both musicians, laughed at me and told me ‘No.'” Pulliams said. “They know what they are talking about so I complied. I”ll stick to appreciating music.”

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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