OSU President Ed Ray was in town to help with the ribbon cutting of the new OSU-Cascades Graduate and Research Center in the Old Mill District. Dr. Ray says he was astounded by the community support to make the university a reality here in Bend. The ribbon cutting not only opened up the new hall; it was a symbolic step to bring more brick and mortar buildings to a four year campus. "You know whether is $25 or $25,000, this is when we need people to demonstrate they're "all in." And the more convincing the case is that people in this community, a large, all of Central Oregon, and 'all in', I think the greater the likelihood of success in the legislature and beyond." Dr. Ray says it's important that the community continue to show their support for the project.
State Representative Jason Conger of Bend was among the speakers at the ribbon cutting. Conger, who is on the Oregon House Education Committee, was key in getting this project off the ground. He says it was a team effort. "Well, I think this is a momentous moment for the entire community and I feel absolutely excited about what this represents, which is an opportunity to continue the work of decades that has been done by people."
Conger spoke about how the ribbon cutting is just the first big and tangible step of showing that Central Oregon truly is behind a four year university in our community. Many local and state leaders were in attendance at the ribbon cutting including OSU-Cascades Advisory Board President Oran Teater and former Bend Mayor Alan Bruckner, who was instrumental in planting the “seed” of a four year institution in Bend.
Former Mayor Alan Bruckner was honored at the ribbon cutting. Bruckner, and his wife, Ann's generous donation made the purchase of the new center possible. But Bruckner says Tuesday's ribbon cutting was just the first big step in making Bend a "college town."
"I’m just excited about it. All the community involvement. And this is really the biggest thing to hit Bend in the 40 years I’ve lived here. I just think having a 4-year university here will just spark this town." Bruckner started planting seeds of having a four year university in Bend a long time ago; and now with the communities support, it's looking more and more like it will become a reality.
As a side note: Alan Bruckner is a "Duck" but like many "Ducks" behind this effort, he believes that higher education in Central Oregon is the goal.
While many dignitaries spoke at the ribbon cutting for the new OSU-Cascades Graduate and Research Center; no one was prouder than Becky Johnson, Vice President of the Bend campus.
Johnson says the new facility in the Old Mill is a real hallmark for the college. "2001 was our very first year, so we were just building a building up on the COCC Campus. So it's actually a COCC Building that we've been renting; so this is our first building that we will actually own. It's our establishment of a location and a footprint. When people come by Colorado and they see that sign for OSU-Cascades, I can't tell you how many people have come up to me and said 'oh I've seen that sign, I've seen your new building, it's so beautiful.' And they can't wait to see the expansion."
Johnson says OSU-Cascades students are very excited about the new building and future buildings, that they have already joined together to create a make-shift "campus store" that sells Beaver clothing and other gear that she hopes will be seen around town.