Black Tie-Optional Benefit at COCC to Boost Scholarships


(Rod and Lori Ray | Photo Courtesy of COCC)

A leap year theme is helping the Central Oregon Community College (COCC) Foundation send a message of uplifting students through scholarships, the purpose of its annual Meal of the Year fundraiser, at 5:30pm on Saturday, February 29, in the college’s Mazama Gym. Tickets to the black tie-optional event are $150 per person or $1,500 for a table of ten. For reservations and details, see or call 541-318-3783.

“This is our cornerstone event of the year,” said Zak Boone, COCC’s chief advancement officer and executive director of the Foundation, of the gala that includes live and silent auctions. “Last year, our Meal of the Year attendees raised nearly $337,000 in scholarship dollars for students in need.”

The event will honor Bend residents Rod and Lori Ray for their longtime support of COCC and its Foundation. Rod is the former president and CEO of Bend Research, Inc. (now a division of Lonza Group), which helped forge a path for the High Desert tech sector beginning in 1975. Currently, he works as a consultant and serves as a board member for a number of pharmaceutical and technological companies. Lori, a former Bend Research vice president, serves as a board member for the High Desert Museum and is a past board member of the Bend Science Station.

“COCC is a key part of the soul of Central Oregon,” said Rod Ray. “For decades, the college has enriched the lives of students and the communities of Central Oregon with a wide spectrum of outstanding educational opportunities. It has been a central part of our family for over 50 years, and we are truly honored by this recognition.”

“Rod and Lori have advanced our region in many ways,” added Boone. “Through science and community involvement — and through years of supporting education — they’ve brought so much to Central Oregon.” The Rays’ contributions include the funding of chemistry and nursing scholarships at the college.

For more information, contact Zak Boone at 541-383-7212 or

Other News: Resiliency, Justice at The Heart of Three COCC Talks

Central Oregon Community College’s (COCC) 2020 Season of Nonviolence includes three free events at the Bend (February 12 and 13) and Madras (February 20) campuses. The national Season of Nonviolence honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mahātmā Gandhi and others who believed in nonviolent efforts to advocate for human rights.

Activist and former Black Panther Ericka Huggins will discuss “Spiritual Activism and Social Justice” at 6pm on Wednesday, February 12, at the Coats Campus Center on the Bend campus. Huggins will share her personal experiences of finding life-affirming balance as an activist and mother while on trial for her life. Huggins is a human rights activist, lecturer, poet, educator and former political prisoner. *This event is full; email for waitlist request.

The next day, Huggins will lead a session, “Creating a Toolkit for Resiliency,” from 9-10:30am on Thursday, February 13, at the Coats Campus Center on the Bend campus. Huggins will discuss race, gender and identity challenges in school and work environments, and focus on healthy responses to these challenges. Reserve a seat at

“Sentenced for a Season, Punished for Life: How Long Should People Pay for Past Crimes?” is the title of a conversation facilitated by Pamela Slaughter at 6pm on Thursday, February 20, at the COCC Madras campus, 1170 E. Ashwood Road. This is a discussion centered on the societal implications of felony convictions and the barriers they present. Reserve a seat at This program is made possible with support from Oregon Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Oregon Cultural Trust.For more information on these events, contact Charlotte Gilbride, coordinator for the COCC Foundation’s Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar Program, at 541-383-7257 or These events are co-organized by The Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar Program and COCC’s Diversity and Inclusion office.

In advance of college events, persons needing accommodation or transportation because of a physical or mobility disability, contact Joe Viola at 541-383-7775. For accommodation because of other disability such as hearing impairment, contact Disability Services at 541-383-7583.


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