Coos Bay, OR – The Oregon Community College Association (OCCA) announced Dr. Patty Scott, President of Southwestern Oregon Community College, is its Howard Cherry Award for Outstanding Community College Administrator of the year. 

Oregon’s community colleges honored Dr. Scott on Nov. 7 at the annual OCCA conference at the Salishan Resort in Gleneden Beach, OR.

“Patty is invested in Oregon and its community colleges in a way that is personal, all-consuming and lasting. She’s more than one of 17 presidents. She is our collective champion,” Chemeketa Community College President Jessica Howard said, while announcing the award. 

During the ceremony, the group lauded Dr. Scott for being a mentor to other community college presidents. Her leadership with national Achieving the Dream program also brought accolades for Southwestern.

“We must have done something right at Southwestern, with a 29% increase in the graduation rate over the last 15 years. We have the highest student success rate, that’s students who graduate, stay enrolled or transfer, and the lowest time to completion in the state,” Dr. Scott said, in accepting the award.

She went on to say no one person accomplishes this alone, and credited the employees at Southwestern for caring about students and helping them be successful.

Dr. Scott has been at Southwestern since 1993. She started out splitting her time as director of Student Support Services (Trio) and Counseling Faculty. She was named director of Educational Support Programs in 2002 and served as dean of Students beginning February of 2006, until being named as interim president in October 2008.

During her tenure at Southwestern, Dr. Scott served a five-year stint on the Faculty Senate and spent three of those as chair. She received an “Excellence in Action” award in 2005 for her work as chair of a faculty led retention taskforce that resulted in creation of several new programs and campus cultural change. Dr. Scott became the sixth president of Southwestern on Dec. 14, 2009. This month under her leadership, Southwestern won the honor of being invited as one of only 150 colleges nationwide to apply for the prestigious Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

Dr. Scott graduated from a small rural Oregon high school in Wallowa in northeastern Oregon and began her higher education pursuits at Lane Community College in Eugene. Scott completed a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Oregon. She went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in College Student Personnel Administration from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership from Oregon State University.

Dr. Scott is very involved in the community. She is a member of the Bay Area Hospital Board, a parks commissioner with the City of Coos Bay, on the budget committee for the Coos Bay-North Bend Water Board, Bay Area Hospital Foundation Board, and is a member of Coos Bay-North Bend Rotary and Zonta Club of the Coos Bay Area. She served on the steering committee for Leadership Coos for 11 years and four years as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. She was a trainer for the Ford Family Leadership for many years. Dr. Scott also is the past chair of the Oregon Presidents Council and is past treasurer and secretary of the Oregon Community College Association.

Prior to coming to Southwestern, she worked in student services at the University of Oregon and in career services at Roger Williams College (now University) in Bristol, R.I.


The Howard Cherry Awards are named for the late Dr. Howard Cherry, a lifelong advocate for education and community involvement. The awards are granted in three categories: Outstanding Community College Administrator, Outstanding Community College Board Member, and Outstanding Community College Advocate. The awards are given to those who, by their contributions to the community college cause in Oregon, have brought statewide recognition to community colleges. 

To learn more about Oregon’s community colleges visit https://www.occa17.com/.


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