Clark College

Clark College is a public community college in Vancouver, Washington. It is the largest institution of higher education in southwest Washington. Founded in 1933 as a private two-year, junior college, Clark College received its first accreditation in 1937 and has been accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities since 1948. It was incorporated into the statewide community college system in 1967.

Clark College
Chime Tower at Clark College,
the Cannell Library in the background
Former names
Vancouver Junior College
TypePublic community college
Established1933 (1933)
Endowment$47.3 million[1]
Budget$132.8 million[2]
PresidentDr. Sandra A. Fowler-Hill
Location, ,
United States
Campus101 acres (41 ha)
Colors     Blue


Originally known as Vancouver Junior College, the college was located at the old Hidden House at 100 W 13th Street in downtown Vancouver from 1933-1937, moving several times within the city. The main campus was formerly part of the Vancouver Barracks, which extended from Fourth Plain to the Columbia River but were ceded by the U.S. Army to the city to become Central Park. The college first received state support in 1941, being supervised by the State Board of Education in 1946 with the Vancouver School Board serving as its policy-making body until it was reorganized as a public institution in 1958 and incorporated into the statewide community college system in 1967. In 2014 the college established its first 4-year program, a baccalaureate in the medical field, and became recognized as a 4-year college.

In 1951, the Applied Arts Center became its first building at the current location (its sixth), when the college first offered evening classes. After the Kaiser Shipyards boom of World War II, Clark College rapidly grew to meet the educational needs of the expanded population, the 1944 Serviceman's Readjustment Act and the baby boom.

The college briefly drew national attention in 2019 when president Bob Knight retired amid complaints that he discriminated against women, particularly women of color. After his retirement, the college's board of trustees continued investigating the allegations and found them credible.[3] The college's current president is Dr. Sandra A. Fowler-Hill and the board of trustees is led by Jane Jacobsen.

Clark College's mascot is a Galapagon penguin named Oswald. He appears at many college events and is acknowledged through the college's Healthy Penguin Nation and Sustainable Penguin Nation initiatives.


The college's main campus sits on a 101-acre (0.41 km2) site in Vancouver's Central Park, southwest of Water Works Park and north of Hudson's Bay High School. The college's carillon Chime Tower was designed by Richard Stensrude, begun in 1964, and incorporates materials from the local Hidden Brick Company and the nearby Alcoa plant. The main campus has generally expanded from the southeast northward and other structures include an equatorial bow-style sun dial near the science buildings. As part of the college's 75th anniversary celebration, the sundial was refurbished to provide more accurate time. A new STEM building was completed in the summer of 2016 on the western edge of the main campus,[4] at a cost of $39 million.

In September 2009, the college opened a satellite campus in east Vancouver.[5] The new campus cost $29.5 million, which was $500,000 under the original budget estimates.[6] The campus is certified gold by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).[6]

The college's first satellite campus opened in the Salmon Creek neighborhood (north Vancouver), and is operated in partnership with Washington State University Vancouver.[5]


Clark College offers more than 100 options for earning a bachelor degree, associate degree, certificate. Additionally, its Transitional Studies program serves adult students seeking to earn their high school diploma or equivalent, learn English as a Second Language, or gain basic skills and job-training programs; courses for transfer to four-year institutions; online courses; and articulations with other colleges that offer students a seamless transfer. Through its Economic and Community Development program, the college also offers non-credit classes for professional development, personal enrichment and customized workplace training.

Clark College now offers three Bachelor of Applied Science degree programs: Dental Hygiene, Applied Management, and Human Services. A fourth bachelor's degree program in Cybersecurity has been approved and will be offered in fall 2020.

The college hosts one of the largest Running Start programs in the state. This popular Washington state program allows high school students to earn college credit while still in high school. Many Running Start students graduate with both their high school diploma and their associate degree.

With average quarterly enrollments of approximately 11,000 students, Clark College combines excellent facilities with its highly qualified instructors, small class sizes (17.6 students on average), and affordable tuition to meet the educational needs of the communities it serves. Our Community is diverse and growing more so as the demographics of Southwest Washington expand and shift. Three-quarters of Clark's student body are first-generation college students; more than a third are Students of Color; and almost a quarter of Clark students have dependent children.


Athletic programs at Clark College include men's and women's basketball, coed cross country, men's and women's soccer, coed track, women's softball, women's volleyball and intercollegiate baseball. Clark College is a member of the Northwest Athletic Conference. (NWAC)[7] In January 2012, Clark College established a Hall of Fame to honor students' athletic achievements.[8]

Notable alumni


  1. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2012 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2011 to FY 2012" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. June 24, 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 12, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  2. Von Lunen, Jacques (June 13, 2012). "Clark College board passes no-cuts budget". The Columbian. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  3. Gillespie, Katie (November 15, 2019). "Former Clark College president discriminated against women, investigation finds". The Columbian. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  4. Shanmac, Nicholas (July 15, 2016). "Clark College's STEM building is now complete". Vancouver Business Journal.
  5. Buck, Howard (February 28, 2010). "Clark College grows to meet high demand". The Columbian.
  6. Vogt, Tom (October 4, 2011). "Clark College site certified gold for energy efficiency". The Columbian.
  7. "Member Institutions". Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  8. "Clark set to honor first Hall of Fame class". The Columbian. February 24, 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  9. "Clark College Buildings: Bauer Hall," 75th Anniversary, Clark College, 2008
  10. Baker, Mark (July 13, 2017). "At home in Oregon: A critically acclaimed lead role for actor Sam Elliott raises the part-time Oregonian's profile around town". The Register-Guard. Eugene, Oregon. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  11. "Impostor guilty again". Post Gazette. November 21, 2001.
  12. "Curtain Falls on Class 'Act'". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. April 11, 2001.
  13. "1960 - Mike Gaechter". Clark College. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  14. "Outstanding Alumni Award Past Recipients". Clark College. Archived from the original on 2012-03-05. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  15. Clark College Foundation. Spring 2010. p. 12. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. "Bill Swain". The Largest Football Statistics and History Database Online. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.

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