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With new name, COCC’s Nancy R. Chandler Lecture Series announces fall lineup

COCC file

Central Oregon Community College’s long-established educational series of lectures and presentations for the community, the Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar Program, has formally changed its name to the Nancy R. Chandler Lecture Series.

This fall, the popular COCC Foundation program will host three events: a presentation on the latest science in the fresh vs. frozen food debate (Oct. 11), a talk on climate resilience in Central Oregon (Nov. 2) and an in-depth look at the migrant situation on the U.S.’s southern border (Nov. 15). For information and registration details, visit

“This program has been a community asset since 1985,” said Charlotte Gilbride, coordinator of the Nancy R. Chandler Lecture Series. “We wanted our name to continue to honor Nancy R. Chandler while better aligning with what we do, to include visiting scholars but also other presenters. We’ll continue to bring renowned speakers, lecturers and experts to the region to deliver broad-based programming on a diverse range of educational and topical subjects.”

The late Robert W. Chandler Sr. founded the program to honor his wife, Nancy. With the Chandler’s past roles as editors and owners of Western Communications, the couple often hosted visitors from across the nation and around the world with discussions that covered wide-ranging topics and perspectives. Nancy Chandler took great delight in sharing the knowledge of their visitors with those around her in the community. The idea behind this program is to continue that tradition — to bring nationally and internationally renowned thinkers to Central Oregon to stimulate conversations and encourage thought on a wide range of subjects.

“Both of our parents were intellectually curious and believed in contributing to the community in which they lived,” said Peggy Cushman, one of Robert and Nancy’s daughters. “Not only does the program make a variety of topics available for the public to study and enjoy, it keeps the Chandler name visible in Bend and Central Oregon where they worked and raised our family.”

The Nancy R. Chandler Lecture Series will host three programs this fall, offered in a combination of in-person and virtual formats. The first program, “Fresh vs. Frozen,” on Monday, Oct. 11, will feature Ann Colonna, sensory program director for Oregon State University’s Food Innovation Center. Colonna will talk about the latest science in the fresh vs. frozen debate, covering the latest processes and benefits of flash-frozen seafood and vegetables. Guests will participate in a blind taste test of fresh vs. frozen Oregon seafood prepared by COCC Cascade Culinary Institute students. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. on the patio of the Cascade Culinary Institute in Bend. Tickets are $45 and include the presentation and a blind taste test with wine pairing. Tickets available at

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, the Lecture Series will welcome COCC assistant geology professor Hal Wershow for “Climate Resilience in Central Oregon.” His talk will examine how the climate in Central Oregon has already changed and share projections for what we can expect for the rest of the 21st century. Wershow will also talk about what we can do in our community to diminish the worst impacts and adapt to the inevitable change. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. in Wille Hall on COCC’s Bend campus. Tickets are $8 for the in-person event and $5 for the livestream, available at This is a free event for students.

Lastly, on Monday, Nov. 15, the Lecture Series will feature Futuro Media’s editorial director, Julio Ricardo Varela, for “A Firsthand Account: The Crisis at the Border.” Varela’s many years covering issues and events that directly impact the Latino, Hispanic and Latinx communities have positioned him as one of the leading voices when addressing the migrant situation at the southern border. In his presentation, Varela will tackle the stories from the border that mainstream media tends to ignore, sharing the latest firsthand accounts of those battling one of the country’s most misunderstood and misinformed issues. The 6 p.m. event is virtual; tickets are $10 and available at This is a free event for students.

Please note: COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed at all programs. With the pandemic changing rapidly, all programs are subject to change or postponement; refunds will be issued in the event of a cancellation. For more information on these events, contact Charlotte Gilbride, coordinator for the Nancy R. Chandler Lecture Series, at 541-383-7257 or

“Fresh vs. Frozen” and “Climate Resilience in Central Oregon” are sponsored by the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund and the associated students of COCC. “A Firsthand Account: The Crisis at the Border” is presented by the University of Oregon’s school of journalism and communication.

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