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Chemeketa says farewell to executive dean

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Susan Murray has been advocate for underprivileged, especially in Woodburn area,

JULIA COMNES - Elias Villegas, dean at Chemeketa Woodburn Center, dances with Susan Murray, executive dean, at a retirement party at the Woodburn Center Friday. Susan Murray, executive dean of academic achievement at Chemeketa Community College, will be retiring at the end of the spring term after 36 years in education.

Murray's achievements were celebrated at an event hosted by the Woodburn campus on Friday.

"Susan has been a champion for the underserved, advocating on various issues to help create equal educational opportunities for all Chemeketa students," Elias Villegas, dean of students at the Chemeketa Woodburn Center, wrote in an email.

Murray started out with Chemeketa in the English department, then working with the early college program, followed by her current role.

"As the founder of the early college, she laid the groundwork for a program that has served thousands of young students from across our service district," Villegas said.

Villegas also couldn't say enough about Murray's impact on low income and at-risk students.

"As the center that serves more Hispanic students than any other institution of higher education in the state (as a percentage), the Woodburn Center has benefited tremendously from her lifetime of service and commitment to first-generation college students," Villegas said. "Susan envisioned a Hispanic community more educated, more empowered, and more civically engaged. She brought her vision to life through decades of action and leadership. Susan has been a true visionary of her time and we will always be grateful for her leadership and service."