Clark College

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Clark College
Chime Tower at Clark College,
the Cannell Library in the background
Former names
Vancouver Junior College
Type College
Established 1933; 85 years ago (1933)
Endowment $47.3 million[1]
Budget $132.8 million[2]
President Robert K. Knight
Students 14,000
Location Vancouver, Washington, US
Campus 101 acres (41 ha)
Colors      Blue
Nickname Penguins
Mascot Oswald
Clark College logo.svg

Clark College is a public college located in Vancouver, Washington, just north of Portland, Oregon. The college's main campus is on 101 acres (0.409 km²) in Vancouver's Central Park.

The college was originally established in 1933 as a private, two-year, junior college. The college officially became a public institution in 1958, and currently has about 14,000 students. The college is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


The college, which celebrated its 75th anniversary on October 1, 2008, was founded as a private, two-year, junior college in 1933. Originally known as Vancouver Junior College, the college was located at the old Hidden House at 100 W 13th Street in downtown Vancouver from 1933-1937, moving several times within the city. The main campus was formerly part of the Vancouver Barracks, which extended from Fourth Plain to the Columbia River but were ceded by the U.S. Army to the city to become Central Park. The college first received state support in 1941, being supervised by the State Board of Education in 1946 with the Vancouver School Board serving as its policy-making body until it was reorganized as a public institution in 1958 and incorporated into the statewide community college system in 1967. In 2014 the college established its first 4-year program, a baccalaureate in the medical field, and became recognized as a 4-year college.

In 1951, the Applied Arts Center became its first building at the current location (its sixth), when the college first offered evening classes. After the Kaiser Shipyards boom of World War II, Clark College rapidly grew to meet the educational needs of the expanded population, the 1944 Serviceman's Readjustment Act and the baby boom.

The school is currently headed by President Bob Knight, a former commander of the Vancouver Barracks and graduate of West Point who also holds an Executive MBA from Golden Gate University.[3] Clark's Board of Trustees is led by Jada Rupley.

Clark College's mascot is a Galapagon penguin named Oswald. He appears at many college events and is acknowledged through the college's Healthy Penguin Nation and Sustainable Penguin Nation initiatives.


Sun dial near the Anna Pechanec Hall and science buildings.

The college's main campus sits on a 101-acre (0.41 km2) site in Vancouver's Central Park, southwest of Water Works Park and north of Hudson's Bay High School. The college's carillon Chime Tower was designed by Richard Stensrude, begun in 1964, and incorporates materials from the local Hidden Brick Company and the nearby Alcoa plant. The main campus has generally expanded from the southeast northward and other structures include an equatorial bow-style sun dial near the science buildings. As part of the college's 75th anniversary celebration, the sundial was refurbished to provide more accurate time. A new STEM building was completed in the summer of 2016 on the western edge of the main campus,[4] at a cost of $39 million.

In September 2009, the college opened a satellite campus in east Vancouver.[5] The new campus cost $29.5 million, which was $500,000 under the original budget estimates.[6] The campus is certified gold by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).[6]

The college's first satellite campus opened in the Salmon Creek neighborhood (north Vancouver), and is operated in partnership with Washington State University Vancouver.[5]


2010 Spring Thing Celebration - an annual end-of-the-academic-year celebration hosted by the ASCC for Clark College students.

In addition to providing a variety of associate degrees, general adult education and preparation for four-year university degrees, Clark College has programs in nursing, dental hygiene and industrial arts such as welding and auto maintenance.

In 2009, fall enrollment reached a record as the college welcomed more than 16,000 students (full and part-time). High levels of enrollment have continued throughout the 2009-10, 2010–11, and 2011–12 academic years.[7] Clark has more than 1,800 Running Start students, making it the largest program in the state. In 2011, 1,500 students graduated from Clark with associate degrees or professional certification.[8]

Clark College at Washington State University Vancouver is home to the college’s nursing program as well as general education classes. Classes in adult basic education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) are available through the college's Transitional Studies program. Clark College at Columbia Tech Center opened in fall 2009, offering general education classes, professional and technical training, basic skills classes, workforce development and personal enrichment courses.

The college has partnerships with Concordia University, Portland State University and Washington State University Vancouver. In addition, Eastern Washington University (EWU) offers bachelor's degrees in technology, dental hygiene and social work at Clark College. EWU also offers a three-year, two-night per week master's degree in social work (MSW) program at Clark College.


Athletic programs at Clark College include men's and women's basketball, coed cross country, men's and women's soccer, coed track, women's softball, women's volleyball and intercollegiate baseball. Clark College is a member of the Northwest Athletic Conference. (NWAC)[9] In January 2012, Clark College established a Hall of Fame to honor students' athletic achievements.[10]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2012 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2011 to FY 2012" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. June 24, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ Von Lunen, Jacques (June 13, 2012). "Clark College board passes no-cuts budget". The Columbian. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Healthy direction-[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Shanmac, Nicholas (July 15, 2016). "Clark College's STEM building is now complete". Vancouver Business Journal. 
  5. ^ a b Buck, Howard (February 28, 2010). "Clark College grows to meet high demand". The Columbian. 
  6. ^ a b Vogt, Tom (October 4, 2011). "Clark College site certified gold for energy efficiency". The Columbian. 
  7. ^ Vogt, Tom (September 26, 2011). "Nearly 15,000 enroll as Clark College opens". The Columbian. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Buck, Howard (June 16, 2011). "Penguins march into the future". The Columbian. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Member Institutions". Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Clark set to honor first Hall of Fame class". The Columbian. February 24, 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "Clark College Buildings: Bauer Hall," 75th Anniversary, Clark College, 2008
  12. ^ "Impostor guilty again". Post Gazette. November 21, 2001. 
  13. ^ "Curtain Falls on Class 'Act'". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. April 11, 2001. 
  14. ^ "1960 - Mike Gaechter". Clark College. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "Outstanding Alumni Award Past Recipients". Clark College. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  16. ^ Clark College Foundation. Spring 2010. p. 12.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  17. ^ "Bill Swain". The Largest Football Statistics and History Database Online. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°38′02″N 122°39′07″W / 45.634°N 122.652°W / 45.634; -122.652