Excellence Award winners named at Bellevue College

Illustration of a light bulb over an open book

The Bellevue College Foundation recently announced the winners of the 2019-20 BC Faculty & Staff Excellence Awards. Created in 1984 by the BC Foundation, the awards honor outstanding employees who embody excellence and selflessness in helping their students and colleagues achieve success.

Nominations come from students, faculty and staff, and each winner receives a $2,500 prize. In all, 168 employees have received the award since its inception 36 years ago. While many excellent and deserving members of the campus community were nominated, the BC Foundation Board’s Scholarship & Programs committee faced the difficult challenge of choosing the winners in four different categories: Classified Staff, Exempt Staff, Full-Time Faculty and Part-Time Faculty.

This year’s award recipients include: Tony Akhlaghi – Full-Time Faculty, Mathematics; Bonnie Berry – Exempt, Effectiveness & Strategic Planning; Larry Boykin – Classified, Library Media Center; and Elizabeth Thomas – Part-Time Faculty, Neurodiagnostic Technology.

Tony AkhlaghiA student who nominated Professor Akhlaghi said, “He exemplifies the core theme of BC (Student Success) because he recognizes and rewards the hard work of students. He shows understanding and empathy that students come from a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds, and does not turn from the students who need help. He understands that what he teaches is not every person’s strong suit, and teaches accordingly; his amazing lesson plans, and flexibility regarding the course is reflective of that.” Akhlaghi has been a faculty member at BC for 29 years.

Larry BoykinLarry Boykin, a Media Technician and BC graduate, has worked at the college in Media Services for 31 years. A co-worker wrote, “Larry works hard to make an inclusive environment at work, not just for co-workers but for the faculty, staff, and student who use the Library. He strives to make sure students have the media supplies they need to be able to succeed in their classes.” Boykin contributes to the college culture through his membership in the Diversity Caucus and has volunteered many hours helping create educational displays, including one on Dr. Martin Luther King.

Bonnie BarryBonnie Berry has been the Director of Grant Development for nearly 11 years. A co-worker wrote, “Bonnie has been working tirelessly to bring together a coalition of BC, faculty, staff, and administrators to develop a campus-wide strategy to achieve our goals of student success under the Achieving the Dream platform. She has done amazing work in a relatively short period of time, with grace, humility and focus.”

A student who wrote a nomination for Liz Thomas, who has taught at BC for seven years, said, “She is always willing to answer any questions that students have and is excited to engage people in learning. She is patient and very knowledgeable on what she teaches. She wants her students to succeed in everything they do at BC and beyond.”

Directed by a board of community volunteers, the Foundation, established in 1978, is a nonprofit organization that receives and manages individual and corporate gifts on behalf of Bellevue College. Last year, the Foundation raised more than $2.7 million in new gifts to support quality educational opportunities for the college’s students, including scholarships, program enhancements and equipment purchases.

Last Updated August 28, 2020