Robert “Bob” Knight, president of Clark College, has been named Clark County’s 2016 First Citizen.
The honor will be awarded Wednesday, Nov. 2, during a reception at WareHouse ’23.
Knight is described as “one of the most active community volunteers in our region,” by former Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard.
A few of the organizations that have benefited from his service include the local chapter of the American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington, the Columbia River Economic Development Council, Fort Vancouver National Trust, Greater Portland, Washington State University Vancouver and Workforce Southwest Washington.
“No task has ever been too small or insignificant for his attention — despite his rank or position,” said Twyla Barnes, retired Education Service District 112 superintendent and 2014 First Citizen. “We all continue to benefit from his ability to think strategically, while also ‘rolling up his sleeves’ to get a job done. We’re fortunate Bob Knight calls Vancouver home.”
Knight’s service began before he landed in Clark County, and reaches beyond the region. For 21 years, he served in various ranks and across two continents with the U.S. Army.
Numerous letters of support cited his military career as an example of his leadership, especially during his role as commander of the Vancouver Barracks when the base was targeted for closure. Knight convened community members in a process that Rick Takach characterized as being, “critical to the jewel that is the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.”
The nomination also focused on Knight’s career at Clark College, where he is said to have “brought stability to a position he did not seek.”
Knight, who originally joined the college as vice president of administrative services in 2004 and was named acting president in 2006, has overseen several major achievements including construction of Clark College at Columbia Tech Center and a 70,000 square-foot building devoted to science, technology, engineering and math; the opening of the college’s Veterans Resource Center; and one of the largest enrollment spurts of any community college in Washington State.
“Student success is one of President Knight’s primary interests, and is demonstrated by his willingness to go the extra mile and ensure that each student has the support necessary to succeed,” said Inva Begolli, doctoral student. “His resolve and efforts for the students and the community have inspired me to become a better person; not only for myself, but for others as well.”
Tickets to the reception are $35 per person, and are available for purchase at the door or in advance by visiting www.columbian.com/firstcitizen.