Introducing Itskut and Shakshak

GRANTS PASS — Evergreen Federal Bank unveiled the latest addition to its BearFest family today (Oct. 22, 2021) in honor of Rogue Community College’s 50th anniversary. The studious bear, hunched over a book, is accompanied by an osprey pal — the college mascot — with a common interest: “How to Fish.”  The Confederated Tribe of the Siletz Indians participated in naming the pair. Itskut, the...
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Founding faculty recall RCC’s early days

In 1970, Mary Slayter was already a role model for young women. She spent a decade earning two college degrees while raising three children, eventually securing a full-time teaching job at Grants Pass High School. Mary believed in the power of education. Which is why, when Rogue Community College opened its doors, Mary wanted in. “I enjoyed teaching at Grants Pass High School, but the...
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Remembering RCC’s first president, Henry Pete

Henry Pete recognized an incredible opportunity — for himself, but especially for the community — when he accepted the role of Rogue Community College’s first president in 1971. “It is not often in a person’s career that he has the opportunity to participate from the beginning in building an institution that is going to have the impact on an area that this new college will...
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Portrait of Millie Shawn

Nursing grad finds her path through GED

Rogue Community College (RCC) has been the path to affordable job training and college education for thousands of Southern Oregon residents. As many as 40 percent of them are the first in their families to attend college. The path for these pioneers often starts with earning a high school certification by passing the General Education Development (GED) test. When her three daughters were older, Millie...
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Wiseman had a heart of gold

The Wiseman Center, home to the Redwood Campus library, is named in honor of Lillian Alicia Wiseman, who lived from 1895 to 1983. In 1973, the retired seamstress gave an anonymous gift of $10,000 to Rogue Community College. She’d never even stepped on campus. She just wanted to help future students. This Jan. 12, 1977 article from the Grants Pass Daily Courier tells her inspiring...
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Phil Nelson and Marjorie Holzgang

Volunteer, advocate, student: An RCC founder recalls ‘it’s all for the community’

In 1969, three people sat around a table with an idea—to transform the old Fort Vannoy Job Corps campus into a bustling center of higher education. Community leaders Bill Ford, Marjorie Holzgang and newcomer Phil Nelson—a local attorney, the youngest of the group—are credited today for founding Rogue Community College, a staple of Rogue Valley culture and opportunity. But imagine fifty years ago, when Jackson...
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George Foreman

Did you know George Foreman found his path here?

Did boxing legend George Foreman go to Rogue Community College? Well, not exactly. Yes, it’s true that George Foreman, the two-time world heavyweight boxing champion and Olympic hero, spent time on the RCC Redwood Campus, but that was back when the campus was a Job Corps site in the 1960s. But the Redwood Campus was where he found his path in life, just like RCC...
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Honoring an original: RCC founder Midge Renton reflects on then and now

Midge Renton is a familiar face around town. The retired teacher and elementary school principal is often greeted with smiles from former students in the grocery store or local shops. “Mrs. Renton, do you remember me?” And quite often, she does. Thousands of working adults in Grants Pass were once under the watchful care of beloved Mrs. Renton. And they have much to thank her...
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A college is born: RCC celebrates 50 years

Does every vote really count? Phil Nelson, from his personal experience, gives an emphatic, “Yes!” It was 1968 when Nelson, a Grants Pass local, heard Marjorie Holzgang give a talk at North’s Chuck Wagon. The topic: create a community college. He was sold. Soon after, Bill Ford—who would later be a county commissioner—joined the effort. These three “founders” worked tirelessly to createRogue Community College. “We...
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