BEND, Ore. -

Cylvia Hayes, First Lady of Oregon and a champion of sustainability will provide the commencement address at Oregon State University – Cascades on Sunday, June 15.

OSU-Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson extended the invitation to the First Lady to participate in the university’s 12th annual commencement.  “Cylvia’s leadership in sustainability and her support of Central Oregon’s progress as a growing business community and great place for families to live, work, go to school and play is in keeping with our mission at OSU-Cascades’,”  Johnson said. 

Ms. Hayes’ initiatives as First Lady include poverty and hunger reduction, assisting at-risk youth, healthy oceans and the Oregon Prosperity Initiative.

Originally from Washington, she settled in Bend in 1997 and built a 22-year career in sustainable economic development, clean energy, workforce development, green building, and waste prevention.  She served as a member and co-chair of the Oregon Renewable Energy Working Group, which developed the state Renewable Energy Standard, Renewable Fuels Standard, and other clean energy policies.

Raised on a farm, Cylvia was driving trucks and running chainsaws by the time she was 10 years old and has worked as a horse trainer, apple picker, fryer-chicken catcher, and heavy-equipment operator, among many other things. In her early 30s, she became the first person in her ancestry to earn a graduate degree, an MES in sustainable development.

The commencement ceremony will take place at the Les Schwab Amphitheatre in the Old Mill District on Sunday, June 16 at 12:00 p.m.   For additional information visit


The Central Oregon Community College Board will hold its commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 15, at the Mazama Field on the COCC Bend Campus.

Of the more than 1,000 graduates receiving associate of arts, associate of science, associate of general studies, associate of applied science degrees and certificates of completion, approximately 500 are expected to participate in the ceremony. Five students will be honored by the college for outstanding achievement and the Faculty Achievement Award Winner will be announced. A reception will follow in the courtyard of the Campus Center.

Scott Cooper, the keynote speaker, is the executive director of NeighborImpact, an organization that provides critical services to low- and moderate income families. The organization serves more than 50,000 Central Oregon families annually with needs including food, energy assistance, housing and quality preschool and childcare.

Central to his vision of a stronger Central Oregon, Cooper has been a staunch advocate for access by all residents, regardless of where they live, to higher education. He has been a passionate defender of expanding COCC’s presence in outlying communities of Central Oregon and is a longtime supporter of the COCC Foundation. 

He was part of the effort to bring a university presence to the region and recently served as a member of the Higher Education Advisory Team, which laid the groundwork to expand OSU to a four-year university.

For information, call 541-383-7596.

In advance of college events, persons needing accommodation or transportation because of a physical or mobility disability, contact Joe Viola: 541-383-7775. For accommodation because of other disability such as hearing impairment, contact Anne Walker: 541-383-7743.