Salem Rotary Club, the largest of several chapters in the city, invited Dr. Reno Hoff to speak for their February 6 meeting at the Salem Convention Center. During the midday meeting, Dr. Hoff presented a history of Corban with about 180 in attendance.
“Our college relations committee tries to schedule a president from one of Oregon’s colleges each year,” said Ron Kelemen, Salem Rotary President-Elect and Program Chair. “It’s been a long time since we’ve heard anyone from Corban, especially with all the changes going on.”
Dr. Hoff is no stranger to the Salem chapter, having attended there as a guest. When given the opportunity to speak, he presented Corban’s history and plans for the future from a business perspective. Beginning with Corban’s inception in 1935, he told the college’s story through the present. His message acknowledged high as well as low points along the way, but included the College’s strategy to address those issues and develop a growth plan—ultimately the new strategic plan—to build a bridge to the future. He talked about the “pillars” in Corban’s strategic plan: the right core values, the right people, the right environment, the right innovation, the right product mix, the right marketing plan, the right financial base and the right facilities.
About facilities, Dr. Hoff said, “We have, for the most, part transformed the 100-acre campus from the former hospital look to a collegiate atmosphere. The campus is situated on the side of the hill overlooking Salem, with many trees in a park-like setting. I believe it is one of the more beautiful campuses in Oregon. The transformation of the campus has made a large difference in interest by prospective students, alumni, and donors.”
While talking about the right marketing plan, Dr. Hoff referred to one of Corban’s changes—our name change in 2005 from Western Baptist to Corban.
“Corban means ‘a gift dedicated to God,” Dr. Hoff explained. “That is why our by-line is ‘dedicating heart and mind to God.’ It is not the name of a major donor! Since the name change, our enrollment has increased by 25%.”
Concluding with Corban’s commitment to growth, Dr. Hoff said, “We are committed to neither ease nor safety. Reaching may be difficult, perhaps even dangerous, but risk is unavoidable if we are to grow.”
Afterward, Kelemen said he heard very positive comments about Dr. Hoff’s message from Rotary members. Rotogram bulletin editor Rick Gaupo called it “a very nice presentation.”