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Coos Bay Longshore union creates scholarship endowment

Henry Hansen, ILWU Local 12, with President John F. and Jackie Kennedy

Henry Hansen, along with other members of ILWU Local 12, successfully advocated for establishment of the college more than 50 years ago, urging the Oregon Legislature to authorize community colleges. Local 12 members collected signatures to bring the issue to a public vote to start the college in Coos Bay. Southwestern was established in 1961. Hansen is pictured here with President John F. and Jackie Kennedy.

The International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 12 has created a permanent scholarship endowment with the Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation.

“Longshoremen have a long history of supporting this community college. We’re happy to keep this legacy alive and ensure our children have the opportunity to pursue a college education generation after generation,” said Gary Alford, vice president of Local 12 in North Bend and a SWOCC alumnus.

The union saw the value in creating a college to ensure young people from middle and lower class families had access to affordable public higher education. Today, the college still provides opportunities for young students to prepare for careers, but also helps established workers improve skills throughout their lives.

“The SWOCC Foundation is pleased to partner with business and trades organizations in providing scholarships and we appreciate the continuing long-term relationship that the college has with Local 12,” said foundation chairman Mark Wall. “These relationships help ensure working-class families in our community have access to an affordable college education and that our Foundation scholarship program continues to grow and support students in their pursuit of a college degree.”


From the Coos Bay World

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