It takes a village to raise up a community college

Grays Harbor College has received some great kudos lately. I have certainly appreciated reading about GHC in the headlines, which proclaim that our college is ranked number one in the state and number 15 nationally by the nonprofit Washington Monthly magazine. This publication rates community colleges on student survey responses and also on data such as student retention and graduation rates.

Not long before that news was reported, we broke ground for our new $41.5 million Gene Schermer Instructional Building, which will accommodate our sciences and labs, math, engineering, art, nursing and other instructional programs. And a few days ago, we hit the sports page with the victorious opening matches played by our new women’s volleyball team and expect a great year in other sports, as well. We also have another outstanding season in store at the Bishop Center for Performing Arts.

It is not only when I read the headlines or tune in to the news, but every day, I am reminded of how many outstanding human beings it takes to make a college. I am incredibly proud of the creativity, energy and dedication shown by our top-quality faculty, who teach because they are passionate about their topics. I am also proud of the college staff who proficiently operate the many services we provide to students. Likewise, the staff who keep our facilities clean, attractive and fully functional. And the many others who coach, assist, volunteer and in many other ways help our students to be successful.

“Top Community College in the State” is a ranking that does not just happen. It takes a supportive community, as well as an incredible team of faculty, staff, administrators and a dedicated Board of Trustees to guide the policy and work of the college. A new instructional building does not sprout on the hillside without strong support from our Coastal Caucus legislators and others in the community college system, who recognize the need for new educational spaces on our campus. The unwavering support and loyalty of the community we have served for more than eight decades is another component contributing to the college’s success that we do not forget. Contributions to the Grays Harbor College Foundation resulted in the award of more than $500,000 in scholarships to deserving students for the coming year. That represents unbelievable generosity and commitment from those living in this community, and others who no longer live on the Harbor, but support the high quality of education provided by the college.

As we welcome our 83rd class of students on Sept. 23, the message we will give them is — “Welcome to Grays Harbor College, top community college in the state and No. 15 in the nation! Be proud to be a student here and continue on to complete your goals, for GHC serves the best community in the world!”

Thanks, everyone, for your part in putting GHC in the headlines!

Ed Brewster

President, Grays Harbor College