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Robert Schaefer Collection

Identifier: WSUV-SpeColl-013

Scope and Contents

The collection contains surrogates from a group of materials created and compiled by Robert (Bob) Schaefer documenting the establishment of the Southwest Washington Joint Center for Education (SWJCE) and Washington State University Vancouver, Washington. Original materials were contained in six three-ringed binders, which were digitized courtesy of Robert (Bob) Schaefer. Over 1,500 pages are included in this collection, including newspaper clippings, correspondence, meeting notes, documents on higher education trends, employment and regional industry forecasts, formal reports and communications to Washington State Legislature and the public, publications from SWJCE and WSU Vancouver and other documents pertaining to each institution's establishment and early operations. The date range of items from this collection are from 1980 to the early 1990s.


  • 1982-2002


Biographical / Historical

Robert (Bob) Schaefer was born in Seattle, Washington on April 19, 1930. He grew up in Vancouver, Washington and attended Vancouver High School and Clark College. Schaefer later enrolled at Willamette University and Willamette Law School, graduating in 1955. Following graduation Schaefer opened a law practice in downtown Vancouver and later served as deputy prosecuting attorney for Clark County. In 1959, he served the first of four terms in the Washington State Legislature. In his final term, he served as Speaker of the House until 1967. One of his notable accomplishments while in the legislature was the establishment of Battle Ground Lake state park and Paradise Point state park. Following his tenure in the House, Schaefer returned to his law practice and was also an active lobbyist for high-tech manufacturing in Clark County. He became a board member of the Columbia River Economic Development Council. In the early 1980s, Schaefer turn his attentions toward efforts to get better higher education opportunities for residents in Southwest Washington. Schaefer found the region severely underserved in the area of upper division level higher education. In a document he authored with Denny Heck (future U.S. Representative) titled “High Technology Training Needs: An Educational Delivery System for Southwest Washington”, Schaefer made the case that an established research institute with upper-division and graduate offerings was of utmost importance to attract and retain the high-tech industry to the region. Following this initial assessment Schaefer helped to establish a consortium of Washington universities, the Southwest Washington Joint Center for Education, in 1983. The Joint Center, as it was known, operated initially at Hudson’s Bay High School and then later moved operations to the Clark College campus at Bauer Hall. Washington State University (WSU) helped to administer the Joint Center’s programs for the next five years. In 1989, when a WSU branch campus at Vancouver was formally authorized under Senate Bill 6095, Joint Center operation were absorbed. Schafer’s initial work in establishing the Joint Center and WSU's presence in Clark County is recognized as the foundation for the four-year university in Southwest Washington. In 2013, Schaefer was recognized as Clark County First Citizen with acknowledgement of his work in establishing higher education in the area.


.834 Linear Feet : Surrogates to this collection are contained in two document boxes.

1.8 Gigabytes : Digital surrogate files for access are stored on compact discs. Preservation files are in cold storage and on the DR (Digital Records) drive.

Language of Materials



The collection consists of documents and clippings created and compiled by Robert (Bob) Schaefer documenting the establishment of the Southwest Washington Joint Center for Education (SWJCE) and the Washington State University Vancouver.


The collection is organized in two document boxes. Each box contains binder numbers, representing the original order of materials by volume. The original order for indevidual sections of the binders were arranged by tab numbers. This arrangement has been preserved in the form of a file folder. Thus, the original binder number followed by a tab number is reflected on each file folder.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials are also available in digital format. This collection is linked to an online digital collection.
Robert Schaefer Collection
Finding aid prepared by Robert Schimelpfenig
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Repository Details

Part of the Washington State University Vancouver, Archives and Special Collections Repository

14204 NE Salmon Creek Ave
Vancouver WA 98686 United States