Klamath Falls, Ore. – Oregon Tech, Southern Oregon University, Klamath Community College, and Rogue Community College are combining forces.
“We are agreeing to work together more than ever before.” Notes KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez.
The heads of OIT, SOU, KCC, and RCC signed an agreement Thursday morning to establish the ‘Southern Oregon Higher Education Consortium’.
The concept was first promoted by Oregon Tech President Dr. Nagi Naganathan. “First of all, I think this is a time where competing partners have to learn to collaborate for a common purpose.”
Klamath Community College President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez believes the partnership will strengthen all four schools. “We will work together to attract business and industry – we’ll work together on joint programs, joint applications, joint grants – because it makes us a bigger powerhouse.”
“I think if we can see what common good we are trying to do, collectively, I believe we can achieve more.” Adds Dr. Naganathan. “It is about exercising the power of partnership.”
Dr. Gutierrez believes the partnership could help the schools to stay on the leading edge of technology. “What program was O.I.T. thinking of starting – but it was just too expensive? How can we work together?”
“I think this memorandum freely allows us to exchange what we have to offer, and bring about the larger societal good.” Says Dr. Naganathan.
During a recent visit to Klamath Falls, U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson questioned Naganathan and Gutierrez about improving access to education by active duty personnel.
Both presidents say the memorandum can help to accomplish that goal.
“Absolutely.” States Dr. Gutierrez. “We, all of us – and I believe I can speak on this subject for all four institutions – we’re about serving our men and women in uniform. We have to do that, it’s the right thing to do.”
Dr. Naganathan agrees. “If all of us can get together, we can create more relevant programming to help our veterans, and also people in active duty right now.”
There are more than 24,000 students enrolled at the four colleges.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.