LCC Distinguished Alumni Award

The Lane Community College Distinguished Alumni Award aims to recognize and celebrate exceptional alumni who embody the college's mission and have made a significant impact in their field or community. Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must have been enrolled in a certificate, diploma, or degree program or a non-credit offering at Lane Community College.
  2. Demonstrated excellence in their professional field or made significant contributions to their community, which aligns with the college's mission.
  3. Exemplary commitment to lifelong learning, personal development, and enrichment.
  4. Outstanding leadership, mentorship, or service in their professional or community context.
  5. Promotes and supports Lane Community College's values of quality, comprehensive, accessible, inclusive, and learning-centered education.

Prior Honorees:

2024: Dr. Rachel Bitecofer, Political Strategist and Author

Widely recognized for her accurate prediction of the “blue wave” in the 2018 midterm elections, Dr. Bitecofer's journey in political science began at Lane Community College, where she enrolled as a 24-year-old single mother. She went on to earn her doctorate at the University of Georgia, and establish herself as leading expert in the field. Dr. Bitecofer's work has been featured by on The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Politico, The New Republic, Real Time with Bill Maher, CNN, and MSNBC. She has also served as a lecturer at Christopher Newport University and as the assistant director of the Wason Center for Public Policy, where she conducted polling and election forecasting. Additionally, she was a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C. Dr. Bitecofer continues to influence political strategy through her work with Strike Pac, a super PAC, and her podcast, The Election Whisperer.

2023: Chef Crystal Platt, Co-Founder & Chef of Lion & Owl restaurant

Beginning with her time working at Marche and studying the culinary arts at Lane, Crystal Platt has been ingrained in Eugene's restaurant scene. Driven by a farm-to-table ethos, Platt and her wife, Kirsten Hansen, started their own restaurant, Lion & Owl, which draws inspiration from global influences and ingredients from local producers. In 2023, Platt was nominated for the prestigious James Beard award.

2022: Honorable James Manning, Jr. & Lawanda Manning, Oregon Senate

State Senator James Manning, Jr., and his late-wife Lawanda Manning were recognized for their community service and advocacy for community colleges. The Mannings have a long history of public service and community involvement. Senator Manning has represented District 7, which includes Eugene, in the legislature since 2016. His legislative priorities include quality education, living wage jobs, and safer neighborhoods and communities for all Oregonians. As a U.S. Army veteran, he also advocates strongly for the health and quality of life for veterans.

Suzanne Bonamici 2021 Alumni award recipient

2021: Honorable Suzanne M. Bonamici, United States Representative

A long-time advocate for equity in education policy and funding, U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) knows firsthand the importance of access to affordable education. She worked her way through Lane Community College and earned bachelor’s and law degrees at the University of Oregon. In Congress, she serves on the Education and Labor Committee, and chairs the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. She helped pass the Every Student Succeeds Act (replaced No Child Left Behind) and continues to advocate for affordable higher education, including two years of free community college.

Patricia Scott 2020 Alumni award recipient

2020: Dr. Patricia M. Scott, President of Southwestern Oregon Community College 

Patricia M. Scott grew up in Wallowa and moved to Eugene to study at Lane. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Oregon, a master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration from Bowling Green University in Ohio, and a doctorate of education from Oregon State University. She joined SWOCC in 1993 and held increasingly responsible positions until becoming SWOCC’s sixth president in 2008. She was named community college administrator of the year by the Oregon Community College Association in 2019 and is one of only two college presidents in the nation to serve on the two-year panel for the National College Athletic Association (NCAA). 

2019: Oregon State Rep. Teresa Alonso León

2019: Honorable Teresa Alonso León, Oregon House of Representatives

Teresa Alonso León was elected to represent House District 22 in November 2016. The daughter of migrant farmworkers and an immigrant to the United States, she grew up in HD 22, attending schools in Gervais and Woodburn. Due to the influence of a dedicated high school counselor, she became the first in her family to attend college, starting at Lane Community College and finishing with a master’s degree in Public Administration from Portland State University. Education was her path to success, and now she is passionate about increasing opportunity and access for Oregon students. León previously worked for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission as the High School equivalency and GED Administrator working to give ensure that every Oregon student has the education that they need to succeed. She also served as a Woodburn City Councilor after being appointed in 2013. León is a tireless advocate for students and hardworking Oregon families.

Colt Gill 2018 Alumni award recipient

2018: Mr. Colt Gill, Oregon Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction 

Colt Gill discovered his passion for education as a cooperative education student at Lane. He transferred to the University of Oregon where he received his bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in education policy and management. Governor Kate Brown appointed Gill as the state’s Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction in October 2017. He is the prior superintendent of Eugene’s Bethel School District and served as the state’s first Education Innovation Officer.