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With uncommon faith, vision and determination, the citizens of Rangely and Western Rio Blanco, acting through their local school district and in alliance with Mesa College, put into motion this most improbable of accomplishments — Rangely College,” says Russell George, President of Colorado Northwestern Community College. “Fifty years ago these people stated to the world their passion for the education and well-being of their children.”
George, who is in his second year at the helm of CNCC, continues, “Knowing then of the importance of being the gateway to higher education in northwestern Colorado, these pioneers chose dental hygiene, aviation, energy, and the arts and sciences as being of the utmost importance. And so here we are today, still solid and correct in these choices, and still as determined in these goals and dreams.”
President George will host the Colorado Northwestern Community College 50th Anniversary Re-dedication Celebration at the Rangely Campus on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The celebration will include live music, food, campus tours, a time capsule dedication, a Challenge Course demonstration, games, a “Memory Lane,” and special presentations from keynote speakers.
According to George, “On this Saturday, dozens, if not hundreds, of Rangely College and Colorado Northwestern Community College graduates and certificate holders, will pause to reflect on the role this grand little college has played in their lives, on how valuable it was for them to have spent their time and energies here.
“And so, 50 years later to the day,” he continues, “we will gather together on the Rangely Campus and re-dedicate ourselves to this undertaking and pledge to forge the next 50 years of higher education in Rangely, Craig, Meeker, Hayden, South Routt, and all of this northwestern corner of Colorado into the finest and most progressive interweaving of students, educators, citizens, businesses, taxpayers, and governments that can be found anywhere.
“We will continue to honor, nurture, and dignify the ‘community’ in community college. For this future, our Vision Statement says it all: ‘CNCC will be the college of choice for students seeking place-based education in Colorado. We will take full advantage of the surrounding rivers, deserts, and mountains to enhance our curriculum and provide unique learning opportunities. Our recreational, cultural, and athletic activities will engage students and complement our classroom goals. Innovative teaching, outreach education, and continual assessment will ensure that our students have the skills to further their education, succeed at meaningful careers, and prosper in a complex and increasingly diverse world. Our partnerships with local business, industry and government will serve as the engine for the economic and cultural development of Northwest Colorado.’”
Prior to joining CNCC as president, George served many roles in public and private service. George, who grew up in Rifle, Colo., graduated from Colorado State in 1968 and earned his law degree from Harvard in 1971.
He and his wife, Neal, enlisted as VISTA volunteers from 1974 to 1976 and worked on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. In 1976, they returned to Rifle where George co-founded the law firm of Stuver and George, which specialized in water law.
From 1992 to 2000, George served as state Representative in House District 57, representing Moffat, Rio Blanco, Garfield, and Pitkin counties. He was Speaker of the House in 1999 and 2000.
In 1998 and 1999 George worked with the CNCC administration to carry through the Colorado General Assembly the legislation bringing the college into the Colorado Community College System.
Prior to coming to CNCC in 2011,George had served as Director of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation.
George presently serves as a trustee on the Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees and is the Governor’s appointee on the Colorado Water Conservation Board representing the Colorado River basin.