Marci Parker began her education at Lane nearly 17 years ago. She had just moved back to Springfield after fleeing a domestic violence situation, and was attempting to find a place within the education community. She discovered the Women In Transition program after applying to Lane.

“The idea of school was new to me, and it really helped me with my self esteem and self empowerment,” said Parker.

On Nov. 16, Lane Community College’s main campus will host the Women in Transition 30th Anniversary Celebration in the Center Building, Room 202, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

WIT serves as a safe re-entry point for women, 18 and older, attending college for the first time. During a radio interview with The Mckenzie River Broadcasting Community, Lead Instructor Cara Dimarco detailed the importance of a program that helps women acclimate to academic life.

“We found that when women come together in community and connection, they actually get stronger, and that what makes women stronger is actually different than what makes men stronger,” Dimarco said.

Women of all ages have taken courses, with the oldest participant to date being 78 years old.

Over the years, the program has taken many shapes and forms. It started out in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s as a one week re-entry program at the downtown center known as the Displaced Homemakers Program. After that it was known as Transitions to Success, which offered a term-long program dedicated to skills-training and career-building exercises.

Since the late ‘80s it has been referred to as the Women in Transition program and offers a wide range of resources including credit classes, as well as academic and personal advising.

The anniversary event will feature testimonials from graduates, and speeches from former and current instructors, as well as a special vocal performance from WIT graduate Lisa Marie.

LCC president Mary Spilde plans to speak at the event about the challenges new students face and the importance of re-entry programs.

“Part of our mission is accessibility for new and returning students and I’m proud that lane has a program that has helped more than 6,000 women find their path through education,” Spilde said.