Oregon Coast Community College
Entrance to Newport campus
|President||Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge|
|Location||Newport, Oregon, USA
Oregon Coast Community College (OCCC) is a community college in Oregon, serving students in Lincoln County. Located in Newport, OCCC has approximately 3,000 students and a faculty of 45 people. Of the 17 community colleges in Oregon, only Klamath Community College is younger, and only Tillamook Bay Community College has fewer students.
OCCC offers the only Aquarium Science Program in the United States. The classes are taught at the nearby Hatfield Marine Science Center, but a building is currently being built on the college's 28-acre (11 ha) campus to teach this curriculum.
OCCC held its first classes in 1987, meeting in whatever spare space the staff could find. "You could be teaching in a church basement, fire station, real estate office," college president Patrick O'Connor recalled. The following year, OCCC found a permanent home in a building formerly known as "Jake's High Tide Bar".
In 2004, local voters approved a $23.5 million bond levy, which was used to build three buildings between Lincoln City and Waldport. According to former OCCC president Patrick O'Connor, the three buildings are necessary due to Lincoln County's size and treacherous driving weather during the winter months.
Aquarium science program
Oregon Coast Community College offers a degree program in aquarium science, and is the only college in the United States to do so. There are two programs, one to obtain an associate's degree and the other a one-year certification for those with a bachelor's degree or higher in life sciences. Because of the limited number of places available (22 at present), applicants must apply early and are interviewed by several aquarists and biologists. Classes offered range from Biology of Captive Fish and Aquatic Animal Health Management to a scuba diving course. Those studying for either their associate degree or their one-year certification end with an internship at a public aquarium, zoo, fish hatchery, or marine laboratory. The program is run by Chris Spaulding.
- Lori Tobias, "The little college that could", The Oregonian 20 August 2006, B6.