Former state senator honored with school's first building named for a woman
by: Tribune File Photo Former state Sen. Margaret Carter will be honored this month when PCC names a Cascade Campus building for her.

Portland Community College will honor former state Sen. Margaret Carter when it names the Cascade Campus Technology Education Building for her this month.

The building will be called the Senator Margaret Carter Technology Education Building. It's the first time in PCC's 50-year history that one of its buildings has been named for a woman.

A ceremony rechristening the building is planned from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21. The program in Cascade's Moriarty Auditorium includes guest speakers such as U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader; former Margaret Carter Skill Center student Tamiko Phillips (now attending the University of Nevada at Las Vegas on a scholarship); Oregon Historical Society Director Kerry Tymchuk; and Carter.

'It is our great honor to name one of our buildings for Sen. Carter,' said Cascade Campus President Algie Gatewood. 'She has spent her adult life working and advocating for the people of North and Northeast Portland. I don't think one can find a more committed proponent of education, nor a more dedicated champion for members of traditionally underrepresented communities.'

Opportunity thinking

Carter's personal and professional association with the college dates back some five decades, when she began taking classes at the Cascade Campus to support her baccalaureate studies.

'Portland Community College has been the access and success to the renewal of my life,' Carter said. 'I began my renewing journey with PCC as a student in the fall of 1968. After completing my master's degree, I interned as a student in the spring of 1973. The rest is history.'

Carter's successful stint as a counselor and instructor with the college as well as her growing stature in the community, led the Louisiana native to seek public office. She ran successfully for the Oregon House of Representatives in 1984, becoming the first African-American woman to be elected to the Oregon Legislature. She was elected to the state Senate in 2000, where she eventually served as president pro tempore and co-chairwoman of the Joint Ways and Means Committee.

She is now deputy director for human services programs at the Oregon Department of Human Services.

Carter was delighted that her name will be forever associated with PCC.

'I came to PCC and moved on,' she said. 'My children came to PCC and moved on. My grandchildren came to PCC and moved on. And with 15 great-grandchildren, I am sure that PCC will help generate educational opportunities for a third generation of my family. Kudos to PCC and its 'opportunity thinking.' '

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