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UCC President Announces Retirement

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Connor Jones

Dr. Debra Thatcher cut the ribbon at Tapʰòytʰaʼ Hall's opening in March 2018. Thatcher was instrumental in working with the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians to name UCC's newest building.

ROSEBURG, Oregon – Umpqua Community College (UCC) President Debra Thatcher has announced her retirement effective July 1, 2021. Thatcher has led the College since July 2016.

“I have been humbled and honored to serve as president of UCC for the past four years,” Thatcher said. “We have an outstanding faculty and staff who, in collaboration with so many community partners, have truly transformed students’ lives, helping them achieve educational goals that lead to family wage careers, engaged citizenship, and new hope for the future.”

Under Thatcher’s leadership, the College re-established an academic program in Forestry; started a Cybersecurity program; expanded the community’s in-demand Nursing program; created health related programs for high school students; added multiple athletic programs (cross-country, track and field, baseball, wrestling, and obstacle course racing) to provide stay-and-play opportunities for local student athletes; initiated new enrollment management and student support functions; implemented a new strategic plan; opened the Bonnie J. Ford Health, Nursing, and Science Center; completed construction of Tapʰòytʰaʼ Hall (so named through a collaborative effort with the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, a significant College and community supporter); and began construction on a 10/1 memorial (scheduled for completion later this fall).

“UCC has benefited immeasurably from Dr. Thatcher's strong and collaborative leadership,” Steve Loosley, chair of the UCC Board of Education, said. “Her focus on student success, while keeping education affordable and accessible for all students, will benefit current and future generations. We're grateful for her service and will miss her.”

“I am proud of the manner in which the College, with support from a strong Board of Education, has worked to become a stronger, more efficient, future-oriented campus, and I believe the College will continue to serve Douglas County well,” Thatcher said.

Prior to her appointment as UCC President, Thatcher held the positions of Acting President and Provost of SUNY Cobleskill in New York, Provost and Dean of Faculty at Lees-McRae College in North Carolina, Associate Dean of the College of Professional Studies and Director of the School of Education at Northern Michigan University, and Elementary Education Coordinator and Director of Undergraduate Teacher Education at Salisbury University in Maryland. Thatcher completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming and her master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Thatcher’s early childhood education career included teaching and working in Wyoming, Alaska, Ecuador, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The UCC Board of Education will announce its plans for the UCC presidential search process soon.

About Umpqua Community College

Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.

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