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PCC looking for alumni who sparkle
Photos and Story by James Hill
The deadline to nominate a special PCC alumni has been extended to midnight, Sunday, Feb. 5.
Two-thirds of households within Portland Community College’s district have included someone who has gone to PCC to earn a certificate or degree, received needed job training or simply taken a class to help them complete their education.
In celebration of 50 years of educating more than 1.3 million people, PCC is looking for 50 distinguished alumni/alumnae to honor their positive impact on the community through their service, education, by overcoming adversity, professional leadership, success, or by encouraging economic development. The 50 Diamond Alumni will be announced on Monday, Feb. 24.
“Our alumni come from diverse backgrounds, bring diverse skills and interests, and go on to do remarkable things,” said PCC District President Preston Pulliams. “We are proud to have helped them get their start, humbled by what they have accomplished, and thrilled to honor their contributions. In celebration of our history and former students’ contributions to creating a better world, we are launching the PCC Diamond Alum Awards.”
The winners will be invited to a special reception with President Pulliams, where they’ll receive a framed award and two VIP tickets to a performance of “Project 50,” the college’s 50th anniversary theater production in March.
Any former student who has taken a credit or non-credit class, earned a degree, or transferred their PCC credits toward a university bachelor’s degree, is eligible to be nominated.
To nominate a past PCC student, visit the college’s 50th Anniversary website.
Examples of former students making a difference
A great example of a diamond alumni is Hung Nguyen, who came to the United States in 1992 from Vietnam and barely spoke English. Thanks to a reference from his brother, and inspiration from his sister and wife (also PCC grads), he earned an associate’ degree in automotive science in 1995 and found work at local dealerships. But Nguyen said he dreamed about owning a repair shop and becoming his own boss.
“The dream came true in 1999 as I bought my first repair shop and last year I purchased another building and opened a second,” he said. “Now, I have 12 employees and life is so wonderful. Without PCC, I don’t know what my life in Vietnam would have been like. It changed my life.”
Almost a decade ago, Tera Roberts had eight kids and a husband living in the rural Washington County city of Vernonia. When her husband left her, she had to deal with no access to education and no transportation. To provide for her family, she didn’t want a dead end job and so she walked onto the Rock Creek Campus and was shown all of the opportunities that were there for her. She earned scholarships from the PCC Foundation that helped her finish her associate’s degree in nursing.
Roberts transferred to Oregon Health & Science University and earned not only a bachelor’s degree but a master’s degree in nursing. She is now in OHSU’s graduate program and works as a public health nurse, changing lives of women.
“I’m eight months from my doctorate,” Roberts said to a big cheer from the crowd. “When opportunity knocks open that door because it’s PCC on the other side of that door. The proudest thing I can say is that I’m a PCC alumna.”