Clark State’s growth continues as school celebrates 60 years

Clark State College is celebrating its 60th anniversary this month by honoring its history with events throughout the year.

The college, which began as a technical school in Springfield to offer post-secondary education and now has locations in three counties, will begin its celebration on Tuesday with its 60th annual Charter Night.

“We are honored to share our history during our celebration, as well as look to the future of our programs and student experience,” President Jo Alice Blondin said. “This year’s Charter Night really represents a milestone in the community support we have received for 60 years, for which we are deeply grateful.”

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Clark State, which seen three name changes, began in 1962 as a place of higher education when the Springfield and Clark County Technical Education program opened to offered technical training for residents of Springfield and surrounding communities.

The charter for the organization of the Clark County Technical Institute then became effective on Feb. 18, 1966. Clark County Technical Institute became the state’s first technical college to be approved by the Ohio Board of Regents, and the name changed to the Clark Technical College on Feb. 17, 1972.

The charter changed to Clark State Community College on June 17, 1988 and began offering Associate of Arts and Science transfer degrees.

The Board of Trustees then voted in 2018 to change the name to Clark State College on Jan. 1, 2021. Blondin, who became the college’s fifth president on July, 1, 2013, said this name change indicated an increase in educational offerings for Clark, Champaign, Logan and Greene counties.

“The name change is an indication of growth in mission and accessibility for our students and the community. The community, in fact, has never been more important to us, and the region will continue to see our unrelenting focus on serving them through programs, services, outreach, and the arts,” Blondin said previously.

The college changed the name “to encompass the advancements in educational opportunities” after the addition of two bachelor’s degrees.

ExploreClark State nursing program granted full approval by state board

“The addition of bachelor’s degrees prompted the name change consideration. The name ‘Clark State College’ does not exclude any part of the community, but it embodies the many diverse options available to students from certificates to transfer degrees and now also baccalaureate programs,” Brad Phillips, chairman of the Clark State College Board of Trustees, said.

The college received approval for its first four-year bachelor’s degree in 2018 for Manufacturing Technology Management and approval for its second bachelor’s degree in 2019 for Web Design and Development.

Clark State received approval in May 2021 from the Ohio Department of Higher Education to offer its third bachelor’s degree in Addiction and Integrated Treatment Studies (AITS), which is eligible for final approval by the Higher Learning Commission.

The college has campuses in Springfield, Beavercreek, Xenia and Bellefontaine. It has one of the lowest tuition’s in the state at $165.33 per credit hour for in-state residents and $302.66 per credit hour for out-of-state residents. It offers a total of 131 different credentials, consisting of bachelor, associates and certificates.

Over the last 60 years, Clark State has received several awards for its achievements in diversity, equity and inclusion, workforce development, community partnerships and outreach, and educational milestones. The economic impact of the college on Clark, Champaign, Greene and Logan counties is in excess of $161 million annually, according to the school.

Charter Night will honor recipients of four awards - Staff Professional Excellence, Faculty Professional Excellence, Adjunct Faculty Professional Excellence, and Diversity & Inclusion. These recipients will be announced at the virtual event on Tuesday that start at 5:30 p.m. on Zoom with faculty, staff, students and guest who were invited.

ExploreClark State to host events to honor Black History Month

The college will also recognize 32 employees who have worked for the college between five and 35 years, including: Susan Bayes - 35 years; Peggy Marshall and Beverly Stevens - 30 years; Robert Adkins, Christa Bostick and Karen Clark - 25 years; Julia Daniels and Petra Deason - 20 years; Callie Cary-Devine, David Farrell, Missty Rhodes, Nikki Smith, Cathy Tagg and Nina Wiley - 15 years; Camille Akey, Lisa Dunn, Tina Jones, Kyle Thullen and Melinda Van Noord - 10 years; Jessica Adams, Taylor Bugglin, Sterling Coleman, Sean Dodge, Brian Guthrie, Todd Huffman, Paige Kiley, Naomi Louis, Kevin Moore, Shani Newton, Chanpathana Siriphokha and James Straley - 5 years.

“Clark State’s theme throughout this academic year has been ‘Reunited,” Blondin said. “Although the pandemic continues to affect how we plan many of our events, we have learned to reunite virtually and in-person to remain productive and connected, while fostering a culture of care for our students and employees.”

State Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, will attend Charter Night and award a congratulatory commendation commissioned in honor of the college’s 60th anniversary.

“Clark State College has provided a pathway for thousands of first generation college students to fulfill the dream of a college degree. With multiple technical credentials already available in the workforce, Clark State is even more crucial to those who did not seek a degree right out of high school,” he said. “Workforce Development is no longer a buzzword used to attract students to community colleges, it is the key to unlocking bright futures and massive economic growth in our great state.”

Koehler also announced earlier this week the release of $274,858 to move the college’s Rhodes Hall, the second oldest and most used classroom building on campus, into its final phase of renovation. This round of funding will focus on renovating the labs and common areas.

ExploreClark State creates program for first responders

Koehler said the county has “been lucky” to maintain higher education institutions, including Clark State.

“I applaud President Blondin and the Clark State team for continuing to invest in our community and providing a stellar education to their students. I’m glad the Controlling Board could release another round of funds to help this wonderful institution expand and improve,” he said.

The four-phase project started with $4.9 million focused on infrastructure repairs; phase two was $1.9 million focused on restroom, classroom and hallway flooring, and painting on the third floor; and phase three’s $617,181 focused on the same repairs on the second floor.

“Clark State is deeply grateful for the support shown by Rep. Koehler in championing our student-centered and workforce-focused projects,” Blondin said.

This Charter Night is the official kick-off of several 60th anniversary celebration events planned throughout the year that will align with the celebration, engagement and education in existing events, including, but not limited to, cake cutting events with chambers within its service areas, a time capsule and an alumni event.

A history committee has been appointed and is working to publish a book marking the college’s growth and achievements that is set to be complete in late spring.

“As we look back to celebrate 60 years of student and community success, we also need to have a vision for the future,” said Dawayne Kirkman, vice president of student affairs, said. “Like a diamond, there are many facets to Clark State’s success. Looking to the next 60 years, our partnerships with our students and community will only grow and strengthen.”


1962: Springfield and Clark County Technical Education program opened

Feb. 18, 1966: Clark County Technical Institute charter becomes effective

Feb. 17, 1972: Name changed to Clark Technical College

June 17, 1988: Charter changed to Clark State Community College

Jan. 1, 2021: Name changed to Clark State College

About the Author