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Author Wes Moore gives PCC high praise for giving back to community
Photos and Story by James Hill
National bestselling author and community advocate Wes Moore was impressed with Portland Community College and its 50th anniversary to highlight its commitment to the community.
All year long, in honor of PCC’s 50th year, the college has pledged to donate 50,000 hours of service to the community. PCC will partner with local community service efforts throughout the year to achieve its 50,000-hour goal, which means PCC will double or triple the number of projects and hours it usually organizes in one year. The campaign kicked off with PCC staff and faculty donating 856 books and cleaning 17 boxes of books during In-Service to benefit disadvantaged kids through the Children’s Book Bank.
The next project is an invasive species removal and clean up for Friends of Tryon Creek State Park & Friends of Mt. Tabor Park from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15 at the park. One hundred volunteers are needed.
“I’m so amazingly humbled to be here especially on such an amazing moment, which is the 50 year anniversary of the school,” Moore told the gathered faculty and staff on Sept. 19 in the Sylvania Campus HT gym. “That is such a big deal, but not just because of the fact that it’s been 50 years, but also for the fact of how you are approaching it. For the fact that the 50th year celebration can’t simply be about what you’ve done for the past 50 years but the real focus of today has been about where we are going. And what are we building and what exactly we are doing to make sure PCC continues to be a leader in education that it is.”
High praise from Moore, who is the author of the bestseller, “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates.” In 2000, The Baltimore Sun ran an article about how Moore, despite his troubled childhood, had just been named a Rhodes Scholar. At the same time, The Sun was running stories about another man from the same neighborhood who had been arrested for murder of an off-duty police officer. In an uncanny turn, he also was named Wes Moore. Moore realized that in their two stories was a much larger tale about the consequences of personal responsibility and the imperativeness of education and community. “The Other Wes Moore” is inspired by his experience and findings.
A community college graduate, Moore told the crowd he was a big fan of community colleges and education.
“Thank you for your service to the country and for what you do in terms of education,” he told PCC staff. “I’m a person who is a huge proponent of education and, quite honestly, the educational merits of community colleges around this country. I understand that as we were having this larger conversation about where we are going and what is happening in the country, you can’t have a genuine conversation without including community colleges as part of that conversation.”
And the fact that PCC wasn’t just resting on its storied history and legacy of being the first and only community college in Portland, serving more than 1.3 million students in its five decades of existence, impressed him. Moore said he was excited that PCC was creating a way that people could make a difference.
“I want to thank you Dr. (Preston) Pulliams for your leadership on this,” Moore said. “The fact that you’re celebrating 50 years with 50,000 hours of public service is such a telling and beautiful way to celebrate what you are doing and what you are all about. The only thing we can ever do, is to make sure that with every single day that we try to do something to make it so that it mattered that we were ever even here. At the end of the day, that is the greatest legacy we got.”