Retiring Clark College President Robert Knight honored at Thursday ceremony

Among those in attendance at event was WSU Vancouver Chancellor Mel Netzhammer

VANCOUVER — An appreciative crowd gathered Thursday afternoon at Clark College’s Gaiser Hall to honor retiring Clark College President Robert Knight, who announced in January that he is stepping down at the end of the 2018-2019 school year on Aug. 31.

Chancellor Mel Netzhammer (third from left) and other officials representing Washington State University Vancouver were among those who honored retiring Clark College President Robert Knight at an event Thursday at Gaiser Hall. Photo by Jacob Granneman

Prior to the start of a scheduled program that included area leaders and officials, Knight was greeted by Washington State University Chancellor Mel Netzhammer, who praised Knight for the relationship the two have shared as leaders of the only college and university in Clark College.

“The first thing that I would say is that the foundation that Bob has put in place for the partnership that we have, it’s set, it’s wonderful,’’ Netzhammer said. “It will continue long past either of us. Beyond that, I will miss the opportunity to really strategize and get together and talk

about what is best for Southwest Washington, what is best for our students.

“You want a partnership that is not about the players, but it’s about the people that we serve, and that has been just magical in the relationship that I have with Bob,’’ Netzhammer said. “It’s been absolutely wonderful.’’

Clark College President Robert Knight, shown here Thursday at an event in his honor, announced in January that he is stepping down at the end of the 2018-2019 school year on Aug. 31. Photo by Jacob Granneman

Knight joined Clark College in 2004 as vice president of Administrative Services. In 2006, he was named acting president, and a year later was named president. During his tenure, he has overseen many changes at the college, including the opening of its Columbia Tech Center location in 2009, a new STEM Building in 2016, and the development of the college’s first three Bachelor of Applied Science degree programs.

“It’s certainly about the people I’ve worked with and the student’s success,’’ Knight said. “I’m just right around the corner there. So, witnessing student success on a daily basis is what I’m gonna miss. But I’ll still be in the area; I’m gonna still support this college. And so, what makes me feel better is that I’ll be here supporting the college still and living in the community. I’m going to try to help the new president as much as I can.’’

Knight publicly announced his retirement on Jan. 18, the day after delivering his annual State of The College address, in which he shared news of the college’s recent successful accreditation process.

On Thursday, Knight also spoke about the students he had encountered during his tenure at Clark College.

“Well, I would just say that it’s a great mission here at Clark College, helping one student succeed at a time,’’ Knight said. “And, you’re doing valuable work for our community. And I say, ‘just keep it up.’ And I know we don’t get paid as much as we want to for the work, but just keep it up because you’re making you’re making a difference in our community.’’

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