2021-2022 Outstanding and Rising Star alumni
A Tradition of Excellence.
We celebrate Clark College alumni who are making a difference on the local and world stage, and at Clark. They are leaders. They make substantial contributions to their communities. They produce outstanding achievements. They are truly inspiring people.
Annette Cleveland ’87 is an advocate of education, small business, affordable health care and senior and veterans affairs. She has 30 years of public and private sector experience. She was born and raised in Vancouver’s 49th Legislative District where she’s in her third term as its senator. In addition to her public service, Cleveland worked for 38 years in advertising, communications, government affairs, community relations and strategic planning. Photo by Sen. Annette Cleveland’s office. Watch Sen. Cleveland’s video
Clark College is where Cosette “CoCo” Leary ’09 discovered her authority of life. “If I hadn’t gone to community college,” she said, “I couldn’t have shown my children that you can outdream your circumstances.” She became a mother at age 15, while she was still living in foster care. Later, she enrolled at Clark, where she built her self-confidence and discovered her power to change her life. Now, thanks in part to her Clark experience, she and her children are thriving. Leary is an author, life coach and motivational speaker. Her inspirational memoir, “From Welfare to the White House” explains how others can transform their own lives. Photo by CoCo Leary. Watch CoCo Leary’s video
Marissa Madrigal ’96 is ahead of her time. She was the youngest person to chair the Multnomah County Commission in its history and the first Latina to do so. Her early journey started at Clark College as a Running Start student. Madrigal began her career in politics in 2004 as a campaign manager for former Clark County commissioner Betty Sue Morris. In 2014, after being the chair of the Multnomah County Commission for a year, she moved on to be Multnomah County’s chief operating officer. Today, Madrigal is the chief operating officer at Metro. Photo by Marissa Madrigal. Watch Marissa Madrigal’s video.
Tom Maresh’s ’60 educational journey took him from the halls of Clark College to a doctorate in geography and eventually to be the dean of a graduate school while traveling across the African continent. “At 17, I enrolled in Clark with no ideas but very curious about many things. When I transferred to Washington State University, it was so seamless, and I was prepared.” After completing his doctorate in 1967, he returned to Oregon State University and joined the faculty. In 1978, he was appointed chair of OSU’s geography department. A later post as the graduate school dean had him overseeing academic graduate programs across the university. He held that position until he retired in 1999. Photo by Tom Maresh. Watch Tom Maresh’s video.
Jasmine Tolbert ’15 is a passionate advocate and volunteer who addresses systemic racism and racial inequities. Still early in her career, she’s already been lauded for her efforts in Clark County including receiving the Gen. George C. Marshall Leadership Award. In 2020, she was elected president of the NAACP after serving as its vice president for three years. While in college, Tolbert volunteered with YWCA Clark County and served on its board of directors. In 2021, she joined YWCA as their human resources director. She proudly works to eliminate racism and empower women in her community roles and career. Photo by Jasmine Tolbert. Watch Jasmine Tolbert’s video
Read about previous Outstanding and Rising Star alumni.