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Give online! New scholarship: Gifts made by Dec. 31 matched

Gifts made to the Jack and Elaine Oharah Endowed Scholarship by Dec. 31 will be quadrupled. Both an anonymous donor and a federal grant will match gifts to build the endowment. So a $100 gift, in effect, contributes $400 to the scholarship. The Associated Students of Edmonds College gave $6,500 to support the fund.

“The community’s generosity will help provide the financial support necessary to fuel student aspirations for generations to come, and is a most fitting tribute to Jack’s work,” said Chris Marx, executive director of the Edmonds College Foundation.

Oharah, who has led Edmonds College for nearly 15 years, announced his retirement in spring 2010. The new president, Jean Hernandez, begins work in January 2011. Oharah, 66, became president of Edmonds College in 1996. Previously, he had been vice president of instruction for Butler County Community College in Kansas.

In retirement, Oharah plans to return to Kansas. The theme of his retirement party is “There’s no place like home…” Oharah has built his dream home on a farm in Kansas and will join his wife, Elaine, to spend time with his three children and 10 grandchildren, most of whom also live in Kansas.

When Oharah joined Edmonds College, it served about 11,000 students annually. It now serves 20,000. The college campus has grown as well. The college has added five buildings including Snoqualmie Hall, shared with Central Washington University, and renovated key buildings including Mountlake Terrace Hall, the first building constructed on campus in 1970. The college now has dedicated space for childcare, a college theater, and student housing.

“I’m very proud of this college and the people in it,” Oharah said.

Over the years, state support for the college’s operations has dwindled. To maintain high quality, in the face of increasing enrollment and declining state-support, Oharah encouraged an entrepreneurial culture at the college.

He increased the college’s grants writing capacity. The college now employs two grant writers and has received 14 National Science Foundation grants. Funding for the college from grants and contracts totaled more than $35 million in 2008-09.

Oharah has taken a leadership role among the community college presidents, serving as the Presidents’ Advisor to the Association of Community College Trustees and on the Executive Committee and Operating Budget Committee of the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges.

Oharah has also been active in local boards as a member of the Snohomish County Economic Development Council, the Snohomish County Workforce Development Council, and the Edmonds Public Facilities District. He earned his doctorate in higher education and community college administration in 1980 at the University of Iowa.

To make a contribution to the Jack and Elaine Oharah Endowed Scholarship online, go to /foundation/ and make a secure credit card gift by clicking the “Give Online” button. Note “Jack Oharah scholarship” in the comments field. Make checks out to the Edmonds College Foundation, note “Jack Oharah scholarship” in the comments, and mail them to the Foundation at 20000 68th Ave. W, Lynnwood, WA 98036.

For more information, call the Edmonds College Foundation at 425.640.1274 or email foundation@edmonds.edu.

Established in 1982, Edmonds College Foundation supports access, success, and excellence for students, faculty, and staff at Edmonds College.

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