Charter Oak State College Alumni Spotlight
Hello Charter Oak State College Alum --

We're sending along another interesting profile that focuses on the endeavors and achievements of a fellow Charter Oak graduate.  We hope you enjoy Harry Chichester's story!

Bruce Brown

Harry Chichester

Harry Chichester, ‘07

Charter Oak alum Harry Chichester’s love of the environment is unmatched. And his degree from Charter Oak has enabled him to enjoy a career as an environmental specialist for the Washington Department of Ecology as an Environmental Specialist after a 26-year career in the Coast Guard.

While serving all over the continental United States, Alaska, and the Virgin Islands kept him extremely busy, he also made getting his degree a top priority.

“As a Chief in the Coast Guard, higher education was something I always encouraged the young people that worked for me to pursue,” Harry said. “I knew (a college degree) was something I needed to finish before I retired. I knew that the world outside of the military would respect and appreciate my military service, but they would never understand it. Talk of ranks, rates, awards, and military achievement were foreign to them. What the ‘outside world’ understood was a college degree. It was - and is - a benchmark of achievement.”

Harry chose Charter Oak State College for its personal touch.  “The two primary reasons I chose Charter Oak over other colleges was because of the courses offered and the responsiveness of the staff. Charter Oak was a perfectly sized institution; not so small that course offerings were limited, and not so big that you couldn’t talk to a real human being when you called…it is “right sized,” allowing professors, counselors, and staff to know their students and help them through challenging circumstances. It’s the niche Charter Oak holds over other institutions.”

Harry received his Bachelor of Science degree with an Individualized Studies concentration focusing on Maritime Port Safety and Management in 2007. And today, he has a career he loves, working for the Washington Department of Ecology as an Environmental Specialist. He leads his state’s efforts in developing Geographic Response Plans (GRPs), which are oil spill response plans that minimize damage to natural, cultural, and certain economic resources at risk in the area.

“Like everyone, I’m a user of the environment and depend on the resources it provides for my survival,” said Harry, who enjoys kayaking, traveling, hiking and whitewater rafting with his wife Brenda in his free time. “I’m also passionate about environmental protection. I love my work because it allows me to help the response community prepare for the day something bad happens, so injury to sensitive environmental resources from oil can be minimized."

“Harry was the ideal Charter Oak student who understood the value of education and was dedicated to earning his degree for his career advancement,” said Bob Frederick, Assistant Director of Admissions at Charter Oak. “His success and enthusiasm about the College has now made him a great advocate for others, particularly in the military, to pursue their educational goals.”

(NOTE: If you are interested in sharing your success story with us, please contact Amanda Guay at the College. She can be reached via e-mail: We'd love to hear from you!)

A reminder that membership in the Charter Oak Alumni Association brings with it a variety of benefits. If you are interested in working with the Association’s board and/or committees, contact Nancy Taylor. Her e-mail address is .

The Charter Oak State College Foundation provides important scholarship assistance to students in need. Please support the Foundation’s efforts to the extent of which you’re able through a tax-deductible contribution.
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