Lawrence era begins at COS

Steve Gerace
College of the Siskiyous superintendent/
president Randy Lawrence speaks during last week’s gathering to welcome him to his new position at the Weed campus.

Thursday’s Welcome event for new College of the Siskiyous superintendent/president Randy Lawrence began with something dear to his heart and career — music.

A day after the longtime music professor, dean, and vice president of instruction at Olympic College in Washington officially began his job at COS, he was greeted by a gathering of more than 100 students, staff and community members at the Weed campus.

Speaking briefly after a performance by the COS vocal jazz ensemble and an introduction by board of trustees president Jim Hardy, Lawrence said he sees COS as “a college that can go places any college can go” and wants it to be “the kind of college that people talk about across the country.”

Lawrence succeeds David Pelham and is the sixth permanent COS superintendent/president.

The COS vocal jazz ensemble, under the direction of Roger Emerson, began the afternoon event with a trio of songs that were tied to the themes of leadership (the Beatles’ “Baby You Can Drive My Car”) and things that are new.

Emerson prefaced the song, “At the End of the Day,” by saying, “Since this is the honeymoon, we thought we’d do a love song.”

Board of trustees president Jim Hardy introduced Lawrence and praised him for his creativity and outgoing personality.

“I’m looking forward to see how he takes us to the next level,” said Hardy, who also thanked the staff and students for “having such a great institution it made (the board’s) job easier to get a good man.”

Lawrence said he directed vocal jazz ensembles for some dozen years and noted he’d even done of some of Emerson’s arrangements along the way.

He said he goes by the name Randy and described himself as “ecstatic” about his new position.

He said he and his wife, Jan (who is also a musician), both “fell in love” with Siskiyou County when they came to visit.

Saying he will be “forever grateful” to interim superintendent/president Peggy Moore for her help in his transition into the job, Lawrence  joked, “I know the dirt on every one of you out there.”

“I’m looking forward to a long and prosperous time at this college,” Lawrence said, concluding his remarks, then greeting many well-wishers.

Hardy said COS trustees spent two days interviewing 30 people at Olympic College and none of them “said a discouraging word” about Lawrence.

Some of those interviewed, Hardy said, were emotional regarding Lawrence’s pending departure after he’d spent 21 years at the Bremerton, Wash., school as a music professor, dean of social sciences and humanities, and vice president of instruction.

The Oct. 2 'Welcome' event for new College of the Siskiyous superintendent/president Randy Lawrence began with three numbers by the vocal jazz ensemble, below, directed by Roger Emerson