Notes from the President

Dear Colleagues,

It’s almost summer, and it looks as though our region and State are continuing to move toward normalcy after a long year-and-a-half of dealing with COVID. Preparations are also underway for graduation—don’t forget: the last day for graduating students to register is May 30. Faculty and staff who want to submit a short congratulatory video to BC graduates must upload their video by May 30.


Doug Baldwin to Keynote Commencement.

Former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Virtual Commencement Ceremony on June 25, 2021. Doug is a hero both on and off the field. During his career, he became a Super Bowl Champion and a 2-time Pro Bowler. Since retiring, he has been active in supporting U.S. military veterans as a board member of Valor Worldwide and starting the Family First Community Center Foundation to serve Renton’s Cascade Benson neighborhood. Baldwin also helped establish and currently serves as a board member for the Players Coalition—an NFL player led organization advocating for social justice and racial equality.

New UMOJA Scholars Program.

“Umoja” means Unity in Kiswahili. Thanks to the hard work of Henry Amaya, Ronald Holland, Shavon English, Bryan Brown, and several other employees, Bellevue College has been approved by the National UMOJA Community Organization to adopt and implement an UMOJA Scholars Program, which will support the cultural and education experiences of African American and other students at our school. Those interested in participating in the program should contact Henry Amaya, Director of Multicultural Services (MCS). Our goal is to have the first student cohort this Fall 2021! Bellevue College is the second institution in Washington to launch the program.

Excelencia in Education.

Meeting the needs of our Latinx students is critical to cultivating a more inclusive campus climate that enhances student success. To that end, I’ve recently joined the Presidents for Latino Student Success (P4LSS) through Excelencia in Education, which brings together college presidents committed to making learning environments where Latinx students thrive. Joining this network of leaders focused on Latinx student success connects Bellevue College to a wide array of reports, technical assistance opportunities, and professional development opportunities for our community. Our campus affiliates include Consuelo Grier, Dr. Brenda Ivelisse (Dr. B), Ilder Betancourt-Lopez, and Dr. Zach Morgan. This team will help to coordinate ongoing efforts across ODEI, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Effectiveness & Research to think comprehensively about our efforts to accelerate Latinx student success.

College Operating Budget Includes New Investments in Student Success and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Executive Director of Finance Jim Craswell and I held a Town Hall last week to unveil the 2021-2022 college operating budget, where we shared significant new investments focusing on student support and success; diversity, equity, and inclusion; research and data, marketing, and HR support for employees. You can access a recording and slides from the Town Hall on the President’s Office SharePoint site* as well as some new more detailed information on both the enhancements and reductions.

Vice President of Human Resources Search.

Last week, we announced two finalists for the Vice President of Human Resources (VP HR) position. All members of the BC community are invited to learn more about the candidates on May 26-27 at virtual campus-wide open forums, where BC attendees will be able to submit questions to be asked of the finalists. Cover letters, resumes, and diversity statements are available at the VP HR Candidate SharePoint site*.

Get Involved and Become a Part of Associated Student Government (ASG).

As someone with previous experience working in government, I encourage all students to consider applying for elected and appointed positions in the ASG for the 21-22 school year. You will learn the inner workings of governing, collaboration, legislative action, and gain tremendous leadership experience. For more information and eligibility, visit the ASG Representative application webpage. The deadline to apply is May 26.

Look Out for a Parking Refund.

Many of you may have seen a parking permit refund in your May 10 paycheck. Earlier this year, the College Assembly requested, and President’s Cabinet approved, a refund for the 2020 spring quarter parking permit. Cabinet agreed to refund the difference between the parking permit and the transportation stipend. More than 600 employees were provided a $15 refund which is the difference between the $65 parking permit and the $50 transportation stipend.

Financial Aid is Coming to Undocumented and International Students.

The Biden administration has just announced that all students, regardless of immigration status, now qualify for aid through the CARES Act. These need-based funds provide grants to students for expenses related to the impact of COVID-19, including tuition, course materials, technology, housing, food, health care, and child care. This is new information, so more information will be forthcoming to students. In the meantime, students can ask for assistance by submitting a ticket through Student Central.


Congratulations to BC student Kiseuk (Ki) Ahn, who was recently named a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Cooke Transfer Scholars are selected based on exceptional academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, service, and leadership. Ki was one of 72 students chosen nationally from the more than 1,500 applicants. This highly competitive scholarship will provide Ki with up to $40,000 a year to complete his bachelor’s degree at Stanford University where he will study Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Congratulation to BC student Aayushi Dhebar for being one of 12 students, out of the more than 1000 students who attend the Symposium, recognized with the Undergraduate Research Symposium Population Health Recognition Award for her research on Carbon Dioxide and Temperature Levels of Areas with Varying Tree Density. Aayushi was also selected to present her research to the U.S. Congress Last month at the Council on Undergraduate Research’s Annual Posters on the Hill.

Congratulations to faculty member Dr. Sonya Doucette, who was awarded a $300,000 National Science Foundation Grant for Improving Undergraduate STEM Education earlier this year. The grant will fund a collaboration with North Seattle College for the Climate Justice in Undergraduate STEM: Incorporating Civic Engagement Project (C-JUSTICE), which seeks to broaden the participation of women and systemically non-dominate groups underrepresented in STEM as well as to prepare all STEM students to face some of the greatest challenges in human history: global climate and environmental change as it intersects with socioeconomic and racial inequity.

Final Thoughts

Many of our fellow BC employees are currently working through another round of ctcLink data validation as the College migrates from our legacy system to one with more integrated tools for managing our college business. To those employees, thank you for your tremendous efforts to prepare the College for a smooth transition to ctcLink! We are grateful for your leadership and dedication to this massive endeavor.

If you’d like to receive future Notes from the President in your email, just visit the President’s Office website and enter your contact information and I will email you each issue directly.

Gary Locke

Interim President

*Links to some documents will not be available to individuals external to Bellevue College.

Last Updated June 15, 2021