Today's meeting featured guest speaker Les Purce, retiring president of the Evergreen State College.  Read more to details of Les' talk below as he even entertained us with song. Other guests at our meeting included members of the Olympia Kiwanis club promoting their fundraiser, and included a brief talk by State Senator Karen Fraser, a member of that club.
 
 
THE WHEEL
 
For August 24, 2015, at The Red Lion Hotel
 
Today’s Program: Les Purce, President of The Evergreen State College in Olympia reflects on his 15 year tenure prior to retirement
Meeting Called to order:   by President Jack Belmont at 1:30 pm
Invocation by:    Allen Miller
Pledge of Allegiance led by: Judy Blinn
Song:  America the Beautiful led Past President Bill Lahmann
Four Way Test led by:  John Holm
Visiting Rotarians:  Former Olympia club member Denise Keegan
Guests of Rotarians:  Dave Thompson, Dick Schmitt, and Senator Karen Fraser
 
 
Happy Bucks:
 
Dave Bjornson donated a check for his age and his anniversary (a big one he says).  Dave has been a member of this club since 1973, but has recently moved to Anacortes, WA and will be able to attend only when visiting.  He stated this has been a great club to be a part of, and it really helped him integrate into the community when he came to Olympia to work at St. Peter Hospital. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sarah Clinton reminded everyone of the event Corks and Forks being held at the Red Lion this Thursday as a fundraiser –it is a great 50”s event and hope to see many there.
 
 
Jim Cooper from United Way reminded people of the need around the fires in Eastern Washington.  Donations can be made to UWCDC.org
ited Way reminded people of the need around the fires in Eastern Washington.  Donations can be made to UWCDC.org
 
 
Christi Peters’ son Adam is off to Thailand as an exchange student—except for minor customs glitches (thank goodness for cell phones) he is with his host family, seems to be doi9ng fine and starts school today.
 
Judy Blinn donated $50 to the foundation in exchange for the ride in the 18 wheelers belonging to President Jack Belmont.  A great experience for her and her husband!
 
Denise Keegan reported the Olympia Interact club will be selling beads as a fundraiser this year.  She is also celebrating her 34th wedding anniversary this year
 
Alan Miller—gave a shout out to Senator Fraser for all of the work she has done on the behalf of our community
 
Senator Karen Fraser—while she is a Kiwanian she is happy to be here and wanted to remind people they could buy tickets to the annual fundraiser that benefits Safeplace.
 
Announcements:
  • Next weekend there will be a BBQ dinner at Rotary Point Park
  • Dirk Farrar was thanked for sponsoring a new member and he is now at the Bronze level.
  • Brad Hooper announced the Spaghetti Bowl tickets are still available on the tables—please turn in your money soon.
  • Steve Bean auctioned off the Eggs to Les Purce for $30
 
 
Our Kiwanian guests:
 
 
Program:
Oscar Soule introduced the speaker Les Purce.  This will be his last formal address as President of The Evergreen State College—Les has served as President for the past 15 years and is now retiring.  That is almost an unprecedented period of time in academic circles.  Les added that in addition to those 15 years, he served 2 years as Interim Vice President.  Les came from Idaho, and is also the former Mayor of the city of Pocatello, Idaho.  Oscar invited Les to join the club in his retirement.
 
Excerpts from Les Purce talk
It is great to be here today.  I have stood in front of this audience several times over the years.  Getting to retirement, my schedule has greatly reduced over the summer.  There are fewer meetings, fewer e-mails, and more flexibility in my schedule.  The transition should be easy and my wife June and I are staying in the community.  Our kids are committed to the Northwest.  It is rare that one has an opportunity to work and continue to feel joy in what you do.  We are blessed to be able to stay here.  When I and my family came back here and to Evergreen, it was because it was what I wanted to do for work and in an institution that had the same values as I did.  In addition, the K-12 school system in the Olympia area was wonderful, for us and for our kids—our oldest was only in the fifth grade when we made the move.    Thank you to the Thurston County community for that!  TESC had all of the things I was looking for.  I have seen a $210 Million capital campaign over these past 15 years.  Senator Karen Fraser has been a great partner for education in our community. 
 
I am proud of how TESC has broadened its reach—55% of our students come from community colleges—30% of our students come from out of state, and could have easily picked private colleges.  The Faculty is great!  They are free thinkers who really focus on what is important—the education of the students.    
 
TESC after 45 years, is on the map for interdisciplinary learnings.  IT has gone from 3,700 students to 4,500 in the past 15 years.  The majority of our students live in the community which is a financial boost to the local economy. 
 
TESC has focused on environmental and conservation studies from the beginning.  Now many others are looking out for the planet.  The challenge for the future is the changing marketplace.  Community colleges are now offering bachelor’s degrees, additional competition from online institutions.  Finances continue to change—15 years ago college educations were mostly State funded—now they are mostly family funded.  Each and every class changes the landscape of our future.  I am excited for retirement and also to welcome George Richard (who has been at Whitman College for the past 10 years.  Q&A followed.
 
Mr. Snappy: won by Lisa Poundstone and was a $50 gift certificate to Mercato’s restaurant donated by Pat Rants
Meeting adjourned at 1:30pm by President Jack Belmont