Honoring Dale Parnell’s legacy

Dale Parnell speaking at Lane Community College’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2004. (Photo: LCC)

Lane Community College (LCC), the Oregon higher education institution where Dale Parnell served as founding president before later becoming CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), will name its learning and success center in his honor.

Lane’s Center Building at the heart of LCC’s main campus will be named on Oct. 12 as the Dr. Dale P. Parnell Center for Learning and Student Success. Parnell passed away on April 20, 2017. He was 88.

Parnell helped win the election that established LCC on October 19, 1964, and served as its first president, according to the college. He served as CEO at two community colleges in California before becoming president of AACC in 1981 until 1991. Over that decade, he helped to create many of today’s foundational concepts for community colleges.

It was Parnell’s passion to better prepare high school students for college and technical careers that fueled his 1985 book The Neglected Majority, in which he outlined a plan for educating “ordinary” people who weren’t pursuing a postsecondary education. The book provided a framework for AACC to develop legislative language for a tech prep associate degree program that would build stronger relationships between high schools and community colleges.

Another keystone accomplishment for Parnell at AACC was the association’s work in helping to create a blueprint for the future. In 1988, AACC published “Building Communities: A Vision for a New Century,” a report that culminated 18 months of discussions and campus visits regarding the future of community colleges, addressing issues such as partnerships, curriculum, the classroom as community and the college as community.

Visit the LCC Archives to learn more about Parnell’s career.

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