Heart of campus named after late education pioneer

Jason Petorak // The Torch

Lane Community College has renamed the Center Building after its first president and founder, Dr. Dale. P. Parnell.

LCC President, Margaret Hamilton, along with current and former board members, celebrated the renaming dedication Oct.12.

Dr. Parnell was born in 1928. He spent more than 30 years working in higher education. Parnell advocated for a community college in Lane county and his efforts paid off in late 1964 when the plans for a community college district were approved. After the school’s opening, Parnell was voted in as LCC’s first president. He served in that role until 1968.

In 1977, Parnell wrote a book called “The Neglected Majority.” The book focuses on issues relating to student success, and the individual differences of each student.

Parnell also served as president of the American Association of Community Colleges for three years. Founded in 1920, their own main goal is to work closely with state officials to inform and affect state education policy.

Parnell had a heart for education, according to his son Paul Parnell. Even after he retired in 1997 he still continued to teach at the University of South Florida.

“It’s fitting that the family chose the Center Building for the dedication since it is the heart of the college,” President Hamilton said.

Those who attended the ceremony included his children and other family members. His children were grateful for the chance to see that their father was being recognized.

“[Parnell] believed that everyone should get a fair chance,” Paul Parnell said.

Parnell touched and changed so many lives, according to former LCC president Mary Spilde. Spilde, who is currently traveling in Spain, wrote a letter that was read aloud by board member Susie Johnston at the dedication.  

The new name for the Center Building is the Dr. Dale. P. Parnell Center Building for Learning and Student Success.