Foundation’s “Meal of the Year” Marks 45th Anniversary

One of the region’s most anticipated and established annual fundraising events, the Central Oregon Community College (COCC) Foundation’s Meal of the Year, is celebrating its 45th anniversary at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the Bend campus. The scholarship fundraiser, held in the Mazama Gym — transformed into a ballroom for the black tie-optional evening — has limited tickets available, priced at $150 each. All funds benefit COCC student scholarships. Visit for more information.

In addition to a four-course gourmet meal prepared by COCC chef-instructor Brian Kerr and students of the college’s Cascade Culinary Institute, the event features a whiskey lounge, live auction, raffle and “wonder wheel” game of chance.

The milestone event will also honor the Miller family of Bend for their longtime support of COCC and the COCC Foundation. The Miller family — whose H.A. Miller started Overturf, Davis, Miller Co. in 1911, which quickly evolved into the Miller Lumber Co. — has a long history of serving Central Oregon, from community leadership to commerce.

When William Miller served as one of three original signers of COCC Foundation’s incorporation in 1955, his parents that year helped establish the Foundation’s scholarship program with a transformative $4,000 donation in honor of their son, Charles E. Miller, who died during the Bataan Death March in World War II. William later served on the Foundation and college boards from 1962 to 1969, and his son, Charley, has served on the COCC board.

Recently, some members of the Miller family gifted a parcel of downtown Madras real estate to the COCC Foundation’s “Growing Together” campaign, with sale proceeds to support the innovative Madras campus expansion.

“The COCC Foundation and our longstanding role in supporting students and the college will be forever intertwined with the Miller family, their generosity and their commitment to Central Oregon,” said Zak Boone, executive director of the Foundation and chief advancement officer. “Many in the community know their name is synonymous with helping shape Central Oregon through building supplies and civic contributions, and we are pleased to use this opportunity to share just how synonymous their name is with education and improving lives.”

Founded in 1955, the COCC Foundation provides funds for scholarships and capital improvements, cultivates relationships with stakeholders to support COCC and its students, and develops programs that foster COCC student success.

In advance of college events, persons needing accommodation or transportation because of a physical or mobility disability should contact Caitlyn Gardner at 541-383-7237. For accommodation because of other disability, such as hearing impairment, contact disability services at 541-383-7583.

Meal of the Year