College hosts fire training tower open house – May 23

College hosts fire training tower open house – May 23

Southwestern Oregon Community College will officially open its new Fire Training Tower on Thursday, May 23, 2024 on the Coos Campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay. The College invites the public, students, firefighters and other partners to celebrate this accomplishment and tour the four story, state-of-the-art firefighting lab from 4 to 6 p.m. Local fire department personnel will be on site, along with the college’s student firefighters.

The tower will serve as a fire and rescue operations training hub for Southwestern’s students pursuing careers in structural firefighting and emergency response. That’s not all. The College anticipates this $1 million investment also will support regional safety and enhance annual disaster response training events that can bring together lifesavers from fire departments, the U.S. Coast Guard, medical facilities, and ambulance firms.

With this investment, regional municipal and volunteer fire departments from western Douglas, Coos and Curry counties will have ongoing opportunities to train at the College close to home without leaving the region. Southwestern’s partner school Columbia Pacific Maritime also will have the ability to provide professional mariners with maritime firefighting certification classes, which represents a new opportunity for mariners.

The modular 36-foot-tall steel structure meets International Building Code/National Fire Protection Association standards. It provides students, volunteers, and professionals space to practice a variety of skills:

  • Interior search and rescue,
  • Live fire drills to learn fire behavior and suppression,
  • Safe ventilation operations,
  • Aerial firefighting,
  • Rappelling and ladder training,
  • Day and night fire drills, response and rescue,
  • Maritime/vessel fire response and rescue.

“It took us three years of planning with local fire departments to design and complete the project. This work has made our relationships stronger and the College’s fire science program more advanced, which helps students achieve even greater success,” said College President Patty Scott. “It also ensures quality training opportunities for rural volunteers so that the College is able to keep a pipeline of highly trained firefighters moving into departments as older professionals retire.”


Previously, the College used a wood-frame tower built by volunteers with donated materials in 1981 for limited training. The wood structure did not meet industry standards, and could not be used for live fire or rescue drills. With the new tower, the College also was able to expand and improve the training area around the tower, allowing better access and more people to train together at one time.


“Through hard work and determination by College staff and local fire agencies, the new fire tower is ready. This will serve as a symbol of pride for years to come, and provide an effective manner in which to train not only today’s firefighters, but tomorrows as well,” said Coos Bay Fire Chief Mark Anderson.


The project was funded with grants and donations. Organizations that made this project a reality are SWOCC Foundation, Ford Family Foundation, Bandon Dunes Charitable Foundation, City of Coos Bay, North Bend Volunteer Firefighters Association, Central Coos Fire & Rescue; and the State of Oregon via the work of Sen. David Brock Smith, Sen. Dick Anderson and Rep. Boomer Wright.

Southwestern celebrates 25th Anniversary of the award-winning OCCI – June 29

Southwestern celebrates 25th Anniversary of the award-winning OCCI – June 29

Coos Bay, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College is excited to invite our community, students, and alumni to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the award-winning Oregon Coast Culinary Institute (OCCI) at a very special event. Join us for a culinary extravaganza on Saturday, June 29, 2024, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Bristol Event Center, 481 Bennett Ave., Coos Bay. Seating is available by reservation only. The cost is $95 per person or $700 for a table of eight. OCCI alumni who have graduated from either the Culinary or Baking & Pastry programs receive a discounted rate of $50 per person.

Take a trip down memory lane with us, reminiscing about our humble beginnings at an off-campus facility to this year’s incredible achievement of winning Culinary Olympic medals. Our culinary program has become a beacon of quality education, and our facility a beloved gathering place for the community. It’s been an incredible journey. Southwestern wants to share this momentous occasion with long-time friends and supporters.

Come enjoy live music by jazz singer Shaymus Hanlin, stellar ice carvings, mouth-watering food stations, a silent auction, and the company of current and former students and visiting guest chefs.

Proceeds from the silent auction will go toward funding state-of-the-art culinary equipment and scholarships for students. There will be a no-host bar.

Please note: Our celebration will be held at the Bristol Event Center, not our facility on the SWOCC campus. Holding our celebration at an off-campus event space gives our students real-world experience in catering special events.

To secure reservations for this event contact Shawn Warren at shawn.warren@socc.edu or call 541-888-7309.

OCCI hosts 2024 Winemaker’s Dinner with Willamette Valley Vineyards – May 4, 2024

OCCI hosts 2024 Winemaker’s Dinner with Willamette Valley Vineyards – May 4, 2024

COOS BAY, OR — Experience an evening of culinary excellence and exquisite wines as the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute and Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation present the 2024 Winemakers’ Dinner on Saturday, May 4.

OCCI chefs present at the winemakers dinner

OCCI chefs present at the winemakers dinner.

The Winemakers’ Dinner immerses guests in an evening of conversation and storytelling with premier Oregon winery Willamette Valley Vineyards. Scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., at OCCI, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay, the menu will pair six wines with the fine cuisine of award-winning OCCI Executive Chef Randy Torres and his student chefs. This multi-course meal will feature carefully crafted food and wine pairings that highlight the unique and complimentary attributes of spectacular Northwest cuisine.

Sit down among friends and listen as the storytelling starts relating the tale of Willamette Vineyards’ creator Jim Bernau’s dream to develop an old orchard overcome with blackberry vines into a world class winery known for producing the finest Pinot Noirs. The conversation will touch on propagation, terroir and the art of fermentation. Today, Willamette Valley Vineyards grows grapes in five regions and has assembled a team of winemakers who bring experiences from throughout the West Coast wine industry to create a wide array of award-winning wines.

The event is a collaborative fundraiser to showcase the skills of the college’s Culinary Competition Team and assist the college’s culinary program with investing in equipment. Having participated in the World Culinary Olympics this year, Chef Torres and his student chefs will talk about their experiences and their creative thoughts in creating the menu.

OCCI executive chef Randy Torres demonstrates plating to student chefs, prepping for the winemaker dinner.

OCCI executive chef Randy Torres demonstrates plating to student chefs.

“It’s important to know that we invest 100% of the funds raised from tickets to this event directly into top-quality equipment for our kitchens,” said Chef Torres. “Likewise, being able to hire the finest chef instructors and inspire excellence in our students is a direct result of the college and community’s commitment to our students.”

Tickets for this fundraising event are $190 per person. Seating is limited.  “We are grateful for this support and ultimately being able to support the local economy and provide excellent chefs for the tourism and culinary industries,” Torres said.

For more information or to purchase seats, please contact the Southwestern Foundation at (541) 888-7209, email foundation@socc.edu. or go to www.socc.edu/give.

Southwestern calls for Distinguished Alumni nominations

Southwestern calls for Distinguished Alumni nominations

COOS BAY, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College is seeking the community’s help to honor graduates who have gone on after college to improve their professions, education, communities, and the world. Each year since 1992, the College has requested nominations for a distinguished alumni. 

The College is accepting nominations for 2024 through April 1. To be eligible, nominees must have graduated with a degree or certificate, or have completed a minimum of 60 credits from Southwestern.

Past recipients have included leaders in education, the arts, Native American tribes, business and finance, research, health care, and the military. Today, Southwestern’s graduates continue to distinguish themselves in professions and innovative efforts to build friendships around the globe. The College wants to celebrate these individuals who have contributed selflessly to improving society. Please consider nominating alumni for the recognition they deserve. 

To read more about past recipients, go to Alumni News at www.socc.edu/alumni-news/

To download the nomination form, go to:


Please submit nomination forms by April 1 to: alumni@socc.edu


Or mail them to:

Southwestern Oregon Community College 
c/o President’s Office
1988 Newmark Ave.
Coos Bay, OR  97420

Scholarship Applications Open for the 2024-25 Academic Year

Scholarship Applications Open for the 2024-25 Academic Year

Coos Bay, OR – The Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation is pleased to announce the annual scholarship application period is now open. Any credit-seeing student thinking of attending Southwestern during the 2024-25 academic year is encouraged to apply January 1 – March 1, 2024, at www.socc.edu/scholarships.

With just one application, both part-time and full-time students can apply to more than 100 scholarships offered. Applications submitted by 11:59 pm on February 1, 2024, will be eligible to qualify for a $1,000 “early bird” scholarship. All scholarship applications are due by 11:59 pm on March 1, 2024. There are no exceptions to this strict deadline.

Thanks to generous donors in our local communities, the Southwestern Foundation awards more than $250,000 in scholarships annually to support students pursuing their education at Southwestern.

All information is available at www.socc.edu/scholarships. For additional help, join one of our drop-in Financial Aid and Scholarship workshops. Representatives will be on-site, readily available to address questions and walk students through various aspects of applying.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Drop-In Workshop Dates:

  • Coos Campus, Tioga 301 (1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay):
    • January 26th @ 2 – 4 pm
    • January 29th @ 11 – 1 pm
    • January 31st @ 5 – 7 pm
    • February 9th @ 4 – 6 pm
    • February 14th @ 11 – 1 pm
    • February 28th @ 2 – 4 pm
  • Curry Campus (96082 Lone Ranch Parkway, Brookings):
    • January 25th @ 10:30 – 2:30 pm
    • February 12 @ 10:30 – 2:30 pm

Guided by a board of community volunteers, the Southwestern Foundation organized as a nonprofit organization in 1962, the year after the college started. Since then, thousands of students have attended the college using Foundation scholarships. These awards help students achieve their goals, by breaking down barriers and cultivating the next generation of leaders, thinkers and innovators in local communities, the state and around the world. If you are interested in donating to Southwestern Foundation scholarships visit www.socc.edu/give or call 541-888-7211 for additional information.

For any additional inquiries about the Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation scholarships, please reach out via email at foundation@socc.edu or by phone at 541-888-7209.

Annual Uncorking Opportunity! Scholarship Fundraiser Pairs Gourmet Delights with Student Success – Feb. 23, 2024

Annual Uncorking Opportunity! Scholarship Fundraiser Pairs Gourmet Delights with Student Success – Feb. 23, 2024

Coos Bay, OR – The Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation in collaboration with the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute (OCCI) invites guests 21 years and older to attend Uncorking Opportunity! on Friday, February 23, 2024. The event takes place 6-8 p.m., at OCCI, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay.

This is the Southwestern Foundation’s annual scholarship fundraiser. It will be an exciting evening full of fun conversation and delectable hors d’oeuvres specially paired with Oregon wines provided by well-known wineries from the Rogue, Umpqua and Willamette Valleys. The event also features both a silent and small live auction of adventures celebrating food, fun and friends.

Tickets are $95 per person, available at HERE. Thanks to sponsor support, 100 percent of ticket proceeds go to scholarships at the culinary institute and students pursuing degrees and training at Southwestern’s Coos and Curry campuses.

This year’s sponsors to-date include: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Banner Bank, Coos Bay Vision Center, Northwest Natural, Pacific Power, The Mill Casino Hotel and The Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission among others.

Examples of some of the auction adventure items include:

  • Tickets to an exclusive Winemaker’ Dinner featuring Willamette Valley Vineyards and OCCI taking place May 2024
  • Private OCCI Group Cooking Class
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride for Two
  • One-Week Stay in Hawaii
  • “Name Your Own” Scholarship

and so much more!

Space is limited! It is highly recommended people secure tickets in advance. Reservations are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. To purchase tickets, go to www.socc.edu/give. For more information, contact the Southwestern Foundation at 541-888-7209 or email foundation@socc.edu.

SWOCC Foundation Uncorking Opportunity! Event Overview:

**Important: Guests must be 21+ years old**

  • Date/Time: Friday, February 23, 2024 from 6-8 p.m.
  • Location: OCCI, 1988 Newmark Ave. Coos Bay, OR
  • RSVP: Reservations are highly encouraged as space is limited. Secure your spot by purchasing at socc.edu/give. Call 541-888-7209 or email foundation@socc.edu.
  • Cost: $95 per person – Includes 6+ wine & hors d’oeuvre pairings; access to silent/live auction and an evening of fun conversation with OCCI student chefs. 100% of ticket proceeds goes directly to student scholarships.


About the Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation

Since 1962, the Southwestern Foundation has supported the College to improve people’s lives – socially, culturally, economically and educationally – through friend-raising and fundraising. The College serves Curry, Coos and western Douglas county residents’ needs for transfer degrees, high-skill job training and community classes. For more information about the foundation, visit www.socc.edu/foundation.


Student Housing

Recreation Center

Curry Campus

Parents & Families


Campus Store


Pathways & Degrees


GED & Pre-College Education

Job & Workforce Training

Maritime Classes

Community Classes

Small Business Dev. Center

CARE Connections


International Students


High School Partnerships

Pay For College

Tuition & Fees

Financial Aid


Campus Safety

Accessible Education Services
TRIO Programs
Career Coach
Skip to content