Former Grays Harbor College President has died due to COVID-19

Grays Harbor College announced on Sunday that former President Dr. Jewell C. Manspeaker had died, and they announced that the death was associated with COVID-19.

Manspeaker served as college president from 1989 until retiring in 2004. 

Prior to joining GHC, Manspeaker served in the Navy as an officer, and worked in community colleges in Oregon and Washington.

Members of the Grays Harbor College community remember him for his lasting impact through his 16-year tenure. 

“Dr. Manspeaker was an exceptional individual – a devoted leader who was passionate about our community and creating access to higher education,” said GHC Interim President, Dr. Ed Brewster. “To this day, his work has had a profound impact on countless lives.”

Under Manspeaker’s leadership, GHC renewed its facilities master plan which provided long-term strategic planning for campus buildings.

This work led to the renovations of the Riverview Education Center in Raymond and the John Spellman Library on the main campus in Aberdeen. 

Manspeaker’s legacy also led to the construction of the Jewell C. Manspeaker building which was completed in 2007 after his retirement. 

“This building provided a much-needed sense of arrival and identity that connected the upper and lower campuses, and visually connected the entire campus to the community.”

There were many instructional developments during Manspeaker’s tenure, including the development of the Worker Retraining programs to respond to the sudden downturn in the timber industry and the well-known World Class Scholars Program.

“The World Class Scholars program had a profound impact on my future,” said GHC Foundation Executive Director, Lisa J. Smith. Smith personally completed the World Class Scholars program in 2002 and is now charged with fundraising for the program.

“I’m grateful for the work Dr. Manspeaker did to establish the World Class Scholars Program and I look forward to continued collaboration with GHC to further the impact of the program he created.”

The Grays Harbor College Foundation has established a fund in memory of Dr. Jewell Manspeaker.

Memorial gifts can be made online at or via mail to the GHC Foundation, 1620 Edward P. Smith Dr, Aberdeen, WA 98520.