Southwestern honors Donald Ivy as 2021 Distinguished Alumnus

Southwestern honors Donald Ivy as 2021 Distinguished Alumnus

COOS BAY, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College is pleased to announce the selection of Donald Ivy of Coos Bay as the 2021 Distinguished Alumnus. 

Ivy is Chief of the Coquille Indian Tribe, a position he has held since 2014. In a nomination supported by educators, tribal leaders, former lawmakers, and Oregon’s governor, advocates for the award describe Ivy as representing “the best of what any educational institution hopes to achieve.” He encourages “individuals to think deeply, make an impact, share their knowledge and go on to encourage others to do the same.”

A quest to learn and remember

Ivy has made it his lifetime endeavor to work in growing knowledge, understanding history and engaging youth. The state of Oregon honored him with its Heritage Excellence Award in 2013. The following year, the University of Oregon appointed Ivy as its first-ever Tribal Elder in Residence.

“This honor is a reminder of the great privilege I have to know the people I know. I am thankful for the graces and goodwill of other people more accomplished than me who have allowed me into their space,” Ivy said. 

Ivy has published articles on history and archaeology. He is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum. While heading the Coquille Tribe’s cultural program, he oversaw creation of the Kilkich Youth Corps, which provides workplace skills, mentoring and summer employment to tribal teens.

An advocate for education

“Don Ivy came to our college in the mid-1990s to learn about the land, history and philosophy. He has used that knowledge to become in many ways a teacher for us all. He is a genuine leader who brings people together with shared vision for self-improvement and making our state better,” said Southwestern President Patty Scott.

Ivy served for several years on the college’s Foundation, advocating for the need to support scholarships and invest in quality facilities and training for residents of the south Oregon coast region. Under his leadership, the Coquille Indian Tribe was the college’s first vocal supporter and partner in building the college’s new Health & Science Technology center. The building will open in fall 2021, providing modern labs for training new generations of scientists, engineers and health care professionals. 

“When I talk to somebody who’s a SWOCC student, I talk to them about the technology building. I see the excitement in our nursing students and others, and that building how important it is to them,” Ivy said. “I’m hoping the doors swing open in the fall and we fill it with students, and know we have accomplished a great thing.”

The Southwestern Foundation typically honors Distinguished Alumni in a celebration in coordination with graduation. This year, the college is postponing a Distinguished Alumni celebration until tentatively fall 2021. 

“The whole COVID thing has challenged us with asking, ‘What are those things that are the most deeply rooted, the big important things that really, really matter,” Ivy said. “Celebration of community is hugely important. It reminds us to be together.” 

This is the 30th year Southwestern has honored alumni who have demonstrated significant contributions to their professions, communities, or academia. To learn more about the college, go to www.socc.edu.

Bandon Women honor a dedicated alum and inspiring teacher

Bandon Women honor a dedicated alum and inspiring teacher

Coos Bay, OR – The community giving group 100 Strong Bandon has joined with Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation to help students succeed, making a $2,375 donation to the Barbara Dodrill Scholarship. 

It all started with a friend of Dodrill’s who wanted to honor the retired educator and good friend. Lynn Kellogg got to know Dodrill on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Guatemala years ago. She so admired her that while attending a Foundation scholarship event in 2019, Kellogg decided to create a one-time scholarship in Dodrill’s name.

Fast forward to August 2020 and Dodrill’s 93rd birthday. Her friends scheduled a drive-by birthday event in front of Dodrill’s Bandon home. Rather than give gifts, they encouraged friends and admirers to donate to the scholarship here at Southwestern. Soon, 100 Strong Bandon joined the fun.

The women’s volunteer group meets four times a year to raise funds for nonprofit charities that benefit Bandon-area residents. The group’s members chose to honor Dodrill, because she positively impacted many people over the years.

Helping students succeed

Having enrolled in college when she was 40, Dodrill went on to get her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She soon returned to SWOCC and in 1972 began teaching business and accounting. She earned recognition over four decades as an innovative instructor, retiring at 80. Early in her teaching career, she developed an office simulation course, and later she created accounting-focused computer training for her students.

After retiring from the college, she jumped into a real estate career for another five years. To this day, she occasionally meets former students in line at the grocery story and is pleased to see success in their lives. All the more reason Dodrill has been delighted by the new scholarship and community support around education.

 “I absolutely loved teaching,” Dodrill said. “The important thing in life is education – education for our young people and seeing that future.”

Barbara Dodrill, retired SWOCC instructor

Neighbors helping neighbors

The scholarship will assist two female college students 21 years or older demonstrating financial need. First priority for the scholarship is for a Bandon female resident.

“100 Strong Bandon is excited to support the Barbara Dodrill Scholarship at SWOCC. We believe this is an important tool to empower older female students from Bandon and help them succeed in their field of study, while honoring a Bandon role model,” said Julie Miller, group co-founder. “If we can mitigate the cost barrier of education for a student, we are thrilled to do so. Our goal is to make an impact on the lives of our local residents.” 

These Bandon fundraising women are ensuring their community thrives in the future, too. Since the group’s founding in May 2017, members have contributed more than $42,000 and many volunteer hours to local charities benefiting Bandon residents – all accomplished in quarterly one-hour meetings.  Founders Julie Miller and MaryAnn Soukup are excited about the impact of these funds within the community and spreading the idea of neighbors helping neighbors. 

 To find out more about 100 Strong Bandon, go to www.bandon.com/100-strong.  To support scholarships at SWOCC, go to www.socc.edu/give



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