First Lane president passes

Leaves behind legacy of community college improvements

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Torch Archive
Parnell, who periodically wrote columns for the The Torch, stated about the campus, “It (Lane) offers opportunity for a student who has not been able to focus his educational sights on a definite goal to discover which field best suits his needs.” He passed on April 20 at 88 years of age.

Dr. Dale Parnell, Lane Community College’s first president from 1965 – 1968, died on April 20. He was 88.

Staff and faculty learned of Parnell’s passing in an email from current Lane president Mary Spilde on Monday, May 22.

“Dale was a visionary and through his work left an amazing legacy to community colleges. His legacy lives on at Lane in countless ways,” Spilde said in her email.

After his tenure as Lane’s president, Parnell became the Superintendent of Education for the State of Oregon in 1968, as appointed by the governor at the time, according to Lane’s website. He served as superintendent until 1974.

In 1981 Parnell began his work at the American Association of Community Colleges where he was the president for 10 years.

Though he wrote several books, Dr. Parnell’s most well-known book was “The Neglected Majority,” which introduced the “2+2” concept — two years of high school and two years leading to postsecondary education.

According to KLCC, Parnell is survived by three sons, two daughters, 17 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

Torch Archive
President Dale Parnell, presiding as the master of ceremonies, speaks at the first Lane Community College graduation in the auditorium of North Eugene High School on June 5, 1966.