Bruce Abernethy of Bend will serve as COCC board chair for the 2022-23 year.
At its July meeting, the Central Oregon Community College (COCC) board of directors elected member Bruce Abernethy of Bend to serve as chair for the 2022-23 year. Representing Zone 6 of the college’s district — north Bend and northwest Deschutes county — Abernethy will hold the leadership post through June of 2023, the culmination of his third four-year term.
The role of COCC’s board chair is to ensure the integrity of the board’s processes and sometimes represent the board to outside parties. At the same meeting, the board appointed Joe Krenowicz, representing Jefferson County, as vice chair.
A Bend resident since 1992, Abernethy is a grant writer for the Bend-La Pine School District. In addition to being a former Bend mayor and a 12-year city council member, he is a past board member of the Bend Park & Recreation District. Abernethy is also a longtime advocate for affordable housing in Central Oregon, serving as chairperson for the Homeless Leadership Coalition. He serves on the board of the Oregon Environmental Council and is a past board member of the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.
“I have always felt that education is the great equalizer,” said Abernethy. “It’s something that allows people of all backgrounds first to dream and then to actually pursue those dreams. I have absolutely loved serving on the board of COCC because of the different roles the college plays for so many in this community — as a starting point for those who want to transfer to a four-year university, for those who need an associate degree or a certificate to be part of our dynamic workforce, and for those who value the diversity of our community education offerings.”
“Bruce is a diligent board member and dedicated community leader, someone who brings a vast amount of civic experience and knowledge — as well as a true passion for education — to our mission,” said Dr. Laurie Chesley, COCC’s president. “We are grateful for his guidance.”
Abernethy holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Swarthmore College.