Author Heather McGhee POSTPONED

NOTE THIS EVENT WAS POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER. Check back for more information about a new date and time.

This year Clark College’s annual event honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a presentation by and conversation with Heather McGhee, The New York Times bestselling author of The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. 

All faculty, staff, and students are invited: The New York Times bestselling author Heather McGhee will be the keynote speaker during Clark College’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. event from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17 in Gaiser Student Center. The event is presented to the college community by the office of the president and funded by Clark College Foundation. The book is available for purchase at the Clark College Bookstore for $16.50. 

About Heather McGhee

McGhee designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America. During her career in public policy, she has crafted legislation, testified before Congress, and helped shape presidential campaign platforms including the idea of debt-free college. McGhee holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. She chairs the board of Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.  

About the book The Sum of Us:  


Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the 2008 financial crisis to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a common root problem: racism, but not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy, and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crisis that grips us all. Learn more about McGhee’s book here. 

Media reviews

  • “The book that should change how progressives talk about race.” — The New York Times 
  • “Required reading to move the country forward.” — The Chicago Tribune 

The book’s Clark College connection:  

McGhee’s book tells the story of Clark College employee Susan Parrish (writer in Communications and Marketing) on pages 95 and 96.  

Here’s what Susan says: “In The Sum of Us, author Heather McGhee shares my story of “cascading loss and downward mobility” in the aftermath of the Great Recession. In a short period, I got divorced, was laid off from my job, had to sell my house at the lowest point in the housing market, claimed unemployment for the first time in my life and had to reinvent my career—and my entire life.” 

Board of Trustees

Marilee Scarbrough joins the Clark College Board of Trustees.
Marilee Scarbrough joins the Clark College Board of Trustees.

Clark College welcomed a new trustee and said farewell to an outgoing trustee at its June 7 Board of Trustees meeting. 

Board President Paul Speer and Clark President Dr. Karin Edwards welcomed Marilee Scarbrough to its governing board and thanked Trustee Rekah Strong, who has served on the board for a decade. She is the executive director of Educational Opportunities for Children and Families.  

Rekah Strong, left with Dr. Karin Edwards at the Legislative Breakfast in January.

Dr. Edwards said, “Rekah has been a champion for Clark College. She cares deeply about students and their families and promotes education as an equalizer for those who have been marginalized. Her intentional actions and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion have fostered meaningful cultural change during her tenure here.” 

Marilee Scarbrough, an attorney, has been general counsel for the Vancouver School District since 2011. Previously she served as the policy and legal services director for Washington State School Directors’ Association, and attorney for the Washington State House of Representatives’ Higher Education Committee. Scarbrough holds a Juris Doctor from University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Whitman College.  

“I am excited to serve my community in this new role,” said Trustee Scarbrough. “I look forward to working with the Clark College board and administration to inspire learners to excel, transform lives, and strengthen our increasingly diverse community.

The Board of Trustees Commencement Ceremony. Left to right: Cristhian A. Canseco Juarez, Denise Gideon, Marilee Scarbrough, Paul Speer, and Jeanne Bennett.   

2023-24 Board of Trustees 

  • Chair Paul Speer
  • Vice Chair Cristhian A. Canseco Juarez 
  • Jeanne Bennett  
  • Denise Gideon 
  • Marilee Scarbrough 

About Clark College Board of Trustees 

Each of the five members of the college’s Board of Trustees is appointed by the governor of Washington and serves a five-year term. They must live within the college’s service district, which includes Clark, Skamania and western Klickitat counties. 

The board seeks to ensure the quality and relevance of college programs and provides stewardship of public resources. The board is responsible for strategic planning, development and approval of college policies, and approval and oversight of the operating budget. Learn more here

Photo: Clark College/Jenny Shadley

Clark College newly certified by Bee Campus USA  

Have you heard the latest buzz?

Just in time for Earth Day, Clark College was certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program on April 20, joining 165 other college campuses and 179 cities across the country united to make their landscape attractive to pollinators.

“Through a variety of sustainability initiatives, college students, faculty, and staff have championed creating environmentally friendly campuses,” said Clark College President, Dr. Karin Edwards. “I was fortunate to help sow wildflower seeds on campus in early spring. I anticipate that we will be enjoying beautiful native wildflowers—and seeing more bees on campus—in the coming months.” 

Biology Professor Steven Clark is coordinating the college’s Bee Campus initiative and has led the college in laying groundwork, such as planting native wildflowers, to make the campus more attractive to bees and other pollinators.

“Bee Campus helps bees because we provide food and habitat for bees,” Clark said. “But it may help humans more because we learn how to live in harmony with nature.”

Pollinators—including mason bees, bumblebees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, and hummingbirds are essential for the planet. They are responsible for the reproduction of almost 90% of the world’s flowering plant species and 30% of our food.

As part of the college’s Bee Campus initiative, it is offering opportunities for student research and service learning. Faculty, staff, and students have worked together to study and create pollinator habitat with native plants.

As a certified Bee Campus, Clark College will offer education to students and community members about the region’s native pollinators, potentially via biology labs, community science research contributions, environmental science service learning, Continuing Ed seminars, and Bee Units offered to nearby elementary schools.

During Clark’s Take Your Child to Work Day event on April 27, he led a group of college employees and their children on a bee walk just outside the front door of the STEM Building. Within minutes the kids were identifying and counting mason bees, bumblebees and more.

Professor Clark will teach two Clark College community education courses focused on bees and their habitat. Bee Walks and Bee Lives begins May 26. Bee Walks and Bee Biology begins June 6. Both courses include classroom time followed by a “bee walk” around campus.

Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA are initiatives of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a Portland-based nonprofit. Bee City USA’s mission is to galvanize communities and college campuses to sustain pollinators by providing healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants that are free of pesticides.

For more information, visit:

A Successful Audit

Earlier this week, the college had its formal exit meeting with the Washington State Auditor’s Office for its annual financial statement audit for fiscal year 2021-22. This is the 8th year in a row that Clark College has achieved no findings in these state audits, demonstrating that financial reporting and internal controls are in compliance with state laws. 

“Thank you to everyone for their part in helping us get through this process successfully,’ said Vice President of Operations, Sabra Sand. “These audits required a tremendous amount of time for our Business Services staff, along with collaboration with other areas across campus including Student Life, Financial Aid, and the Bookstore.” 

Link to a PDF of the audit letter.

2023 All-Washington Academic Team announced

Left to right: The 2023 All-Washington Team Alexandria (Lexi) Kneipp, Bruce Adams, and Ella Merusic

Three Clark College students are among those being recognized for their academic excellence and community service.  

Alexandria (Lexi) Kneipp overcame her social anxiety by stepping up to be a leader, first in high school and now as a Phi Theta Kappa officer. Volunteering has helped her become more connected to the college and her neighborhood community. She enjoys leading and assisting others in navigating difficulties or making someone’s life easier. After she graduates this spring, she will transfer to Western Washington University to pursue a degree in Elementary Education. 

Lexi received another PTK honor by being selected as a Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar. She will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a bronze medallion. She will be recognized at the PTK International Conference and the All-Washington Academic Team ceremony, both in April.  

As one of the top 16 award recipients of the PTK’s All-Washington Academic Team, she will receive a $750 scholarship from Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECC). 

Bruce Adams was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. It significantly impacted him and his ability to do his job as a lab courier. His new career goal became to have a career again. He is determined to earn his degree. As he returned to college, Bruce initially was concerned about online learning, but the resources available for virtual learning eliminated his fears. He will graduate this fall with honors in the Health Information Management program and looks forward to returning to the workforce. 

Ella Merusic was motivated by her parents, who worked hard to overcome difficulties in life for her benefit. They gave her the support she needed to improve her life and future. Ella is looking forward to graduating with honors in Biological and Biomedical Sciences this summer. She plans to transfer to Washington State University to continue her studies to become a software designer/engineer who can better others’ lives through her work. 

The top three recipients will be announced at the Washington State Conference. Each will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Association of College Trustees (ACT). The ceremony will be livestreamed via the SPSCC YouTube channel

Photos: Clark College/Jenny Shadley

Phi Theta Kappa at Clark College Wins Regional Awards Again 

Group of students outside smiling at the camera.
Clark College Phi Theta Kappa students received multiple awards at the PTK Greater Northwest Region Spring Conference in Poulsbo on March 5, 2023. Left to right: Tahnee, Lexi, Eliza, Natalie, David, Alex, Jasdeep, Lizbet, Tucker, Charissa, Kaylee and Meridian.

For the second year in a row, the Clark College’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society for community colleges, was ranked first place in the region and received the Distinguished Chapter Award. Three of its PTK members were nominated to the All-Washington Academic Team, and the chapter took top honors in PTK’s regional Hallmark Awards. 

Clark College also ranked first place in two other categories: 

  • First Place College Project – First Generation College Student Day 
  • First Place Paragon Award for New Advisors – Heather Leasure  

“Being a PTK and Clark College alumni myself, I am excited to receive the Paragon award for new advisors,” said Leasure, Student Communication & Retention Manager and PTK co-advisor. “I look forward to all the wonderful things we will be doing in 2023, including winning distinguished chapter again and more.”  

Awards presented at the conference include the Distinguished Chapter Award for being a 5-star chapter and honored the work of the leadership team: Lexi Kneipp, Kaylee Bathe, Eliza Buttars, Lizbet Jimenez, Meridian Bonser, Jasdeep Atwal, and Leo Sanchez. The awards can be seen in the PTK display case in Hanna Hall.

Photos courtesy of Heather Leasure