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Meal of the Year

Festive fundraiser at COCC opens doors of opportunity

With an elegant meal and a mission to open doors of educational access, the COCC Foundation is hosting its annual fundraiser, Meal of the Year, at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23, at the college’s Mazama Gym in Bend. The event features live and silent auctions, with an original oil painting by art professor Bill Hoppe featured among the items. Tickets are $150 per person or $1,500 for a table of 10. For reservations and details, see or call 541-318-3783.

“The Foundation offered $1.6 million in scholarship support this academic year,” said Zak Boone, the Foundation’s executive director, who noted that the figure was record-breaking for the organization. “And Meal of the Year is a huge part of our effort toward that end.” The annual black tie-optional fundraiser, with a four-course dinner prepared by COCC’s Cascade Culinary Institute, first started in 1978.

Even before that, Jack McCown, now a retired COCC math professor, was a staunch supporter of scholarships—he and his wife, Barb, a retired Bend-La Pine School District teacher, have contributed to the Foundation scholarship fund since 1976 and are the event’s honorees. “We hope to use this esteemed honor to continue to showcase the amazing place that COCC is,” said Jack McCown, “and encourage others to invest in education in Central Oregon.”

“The McCowns truly exemplify the best of our community and what the Meal of the Year Award is all about,” added Boone. “It’s an unwavering support of education and its transformative effects for students and their families, and support for a range of causes across the region.”

In advance of college events, persons needing accommodation or transportation because of a physical or mobility disability, can contact Joe Viola: 541-383-7775. For accommodation of another disability, such as hearing impairment, contact Disability Services at 541-383-7583.

Image: Event honorees Jack and Barb McCown