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OSU-Cascades event to celebrate Black excellence and success in Oregon


BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- In recognition of Black History Month, Oregon State University–Cascades will host a virtual event on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 24 exploring the personal and professional journeys of four current Black leaders in Oregon.

The event, “Celebrating Black Excellence and Success in Oregon,” will take place from 6-8 p.m. and includes a panel discussion on the successes and challenges the panelists have experienced during their careers. These include the benefits and drawbacks of holding public roles; how they have advocated for Black communities in a state where 2.9% of the population is Black, according to the 2019 Census, and their thoughts on personal leadership styles that can help advance a more equitable society.

The event is co-sponsored by Love Your Neighbor.

The panel will be moderated by Erika McCalpine, executive director for strategic diversity initiatives at OSU-Cascades and director of the campus Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Laboratory. Panelists include:

  • Terrance Harris, director of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center at OSU’s campus in Corvallis. Harris works with partners across the university to provide support and opportunities for Black students. He is co-chair of the OSU President’s Commission on the Status of Black Faculty & Staff Affairs.
  • Marcus LeGrand, a college and career success coach with Central Oregon Community College. LeGrand works to connect students to community resources to help them be successful.  He is also an instructor in social science and business at COCC.  LeGrand serves on the board of directors for The Father’s Group, a Black-led nonprofit organization in Central Oregon that works to support students by creating a more caring and inclusive community.
  • Ovietta Ruffin, manager of central services for the city of Bend and a member of the city manager’s office. Ruffin also leads the city’s mid-level management network. She recently moved to Central Oregon from North Carolina where she served as a senior technology analyst with the city of Durham.

The discussion will address how communities and workplaces can support Black individuals as they develop their leadership and advance their careers. 

The event is free, but registration is required. To register, visit For information contact

Love Your Neighbor offers community forums that foster an open exchange of ideas and stories. Founded in 2020 by McCalpine and Nicole Vulcan of the Source Weekly, the project has covered the experience of people of color in Central Oregon, Oregon’s historical Black exclusion laws, the divisive nature of elections and more. To learn more visit @LoveYourNeighborBendOR on Instagram and Facebook.

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