SVC News & Event Center

Author Archives: Arden Ainley

About Arden Ainley

The Skagit Valley College Public Information Office takes the lead in the planning and production of external communications for SVC, helping to coordinate the official voice of the college. These activities include institutional print and electronic publications, promotional materials, ad campaigns, social media, as well as interactions with the news media. Our core projects include enrollment marketing promotional and informational pieces for the the College district for Academic Pathways, Professional/Technical Programs, Basic Education for Adults, and Enrollment Services.

Arden Ainley

SVC Marketing and Communications wins national award

What an AMAZING YEAR it has been … so far!! Huge kudos to the SVC Marketing and Communications team! They are excited to share two of their many outstanding accomplishments this year!

James Walters

First of all, please join us in congratulating  James Walters, Director of Marketing and Communications at SVC, who has been selected as the director of the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations District 7. James began his two-year appointment at NCMPR’s national conference in Las Vegas, a role previously held by Aimee Metcalf, College Relations Assistant Director at Central Oregon Community College. Before becoming NCMPR District 7 Director, James served on the District 7 Executive Council as the Medallion Awards Coordinator.

A resident of Bellingham, Washington, James has over 23 years of experience in marketing and 19 years in higher education. His current duties at SVC involve overseeing the College’s web presence, brand standards and guiding the design team.

James graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He later earned a master’s degree in business administration from City University of Seattle, graduating with high honors.

James’ role as NCMPR District 7 Director includes planning and leading the fall 2018 conference for member colleges, which will include speakers and presentations about marketing and communications in the community college setting. “Go Beyond In Boise” will take place in Boise, Idaho in October. SVC will also join other District 7 community and technical colleges and compete in the fall Medallion Awards.

SVC Marketing and Communications and SVC Foundation represented by Don Cairns, Peter Goodrich, Marcus Badgley, Kelly Reep, James Walters, and Anne Clark

Also, at this year’s NCMPR national conference, the SVC team received national recognition, earning a Gold Paragon for the SVC Foundation’s Employee Giving email. It was submitted in the Digital/Electronic Media category. NCMPR’s Paragons are the only regional competition that honors excellence exclusively among public relations and marketing professionals at two-year colleges.






NCMPR has more than 1,550 members representing more than 650 community and technical colleges from across the United States, Canada, and other countries.

Skagit Valley College partners to host this year’s Back to School Blessing; Meet the Cardinal mascot!

The start of the school year will be brighter for approximately 1,800 people (and 1,200 students), thanks to the Christian Community of Skagit County and their sponsorship of the Back to School Blessing on Saturday, August 11th at Skagit Valley College’s Gary Tollefson Plaza, which will again serve as the host location. The event will take place from 8:00 am until supplies run out.

Families and their children will receive a free pancake breakfast, gently used school clothing, haircuts, and other community services as a coordinated effort with the Christian faith-based community of Skagit County.

“Skagit Valley College is making a difference throughout our community by opening the doors to higher education for everyone who seeks a better future,” said SVC President Dr. Tom Keegan. “I am proud that we have created a diverse learning environment where all are valued. As we welcome a new generation of learners to our campus, we want them to know that the dream of a college education is within their reach.”

In serving as the location host, SVC bilingual staff will join the activities planned for the children, including games, balloons, music, and fun with the Cardinal mascot. Enrollment Services staff will be available to help family members who are interested in enrolling for fall quarter classes.

Skagit Valley College holds 91st Annual Commencement at the Mount Vernon Campus

Celebrating Student Success:
Skagit Valley College held its 91st Annual Commencement on June 15th in the Dave DuVall Pavilion on the Mount Vernon Campus.

Carolyn Dorothy




Carolyn Dorothy (Camano Island) Allied Health instructor, received the 2018 Teacher of the Year Award. This annual award is voted on and bestowed by the SVC student body and recognizes a faculty member for outstanding teaching in the classroom. In the nominations by students, Carolyn was recognized for being very responsive to her students and dedicated to their academic success.






Flor Zamorano




SVC President Dr. Tom Keegan presented the Associated Students of Skagit Valley College Gavel Award to ASSVC Mount Vernon President Flor Zamorano (Mount Vernon). Flor is a graduate of Mount Vernon High School and was involved in many campus activities during her studies at SVC. She was a founding member of the DREAMers Club, served on college committees, and was involved in many student clubs. In addition, she was a finalist for the Charles H. Lewis Memorial Award. Flor will pursue a degree in Political Science, followed by a Masters in Teaching.





About the Class of 2018: There were 1,756 degrees, certificates, and diplomas awarded district-wide:

  • 787 Academic Degrees
  • 813 Professional/Technical Degrees and Certificates
  • 129 high school diplomas, including 50 from the High School 21+ program
  • 10 Baccalaureate of Applied Science in Environmental Conservation degrees
  • 90 Running Start students
  • 71 International students graduated from 10 countries: China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Additional facts about the Class of 2018:

  • 26 students received the President’s Medal
  • The age of SVC graduates this year ranged from 16 – 68

Skagit Valley College Receives Grant from Lumina Foundation’s Fund for Racial Justice and Equity

From a pool of 312 nationwide applicants, Skagit Valley College was one of 19 colleges and universities selected to receive funding from Lumina Foundation’s Fund for Racial Justice and Equity, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The fund was created last year in response to racially motivated violence in Charlottesville on the campus of the University of Virginia. SVC will receive a grant of $25,000 in support of its efforts to improve the campus climate for students of color.

The grants announced today were in response to what the foundation saw as an urgent need to improve the atmosphere around race on campuses across the country.

“As a philanthropic leader, Lumina shares a deep passion and concern about the nation’s racial climate, especially on college campuses,” said Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “These campuses have shown a willingness to address racial disparities at a systemic level: They recognize that achieving equitable results is about more than promoting diversity – it’s about whether the institution fosters a climate in which every student feels welcome and has the same opportunity to earn a degree or certificate of value, regardless of race or ethnicity.”

In partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Lumina evaluated grant applications submitted in response to a request for proposals. The number of responses indicates a strong desire throughout higher education to improve campus culture through community dialogues, faculty and staff development, and other creative approaches. Lumina received proposals from a wide breadth of institutions, including two-year and four-year, public and private, large and small, and minority-serving.

Skagit Valley College has created a diverse learning environment where all are welcomed andvalued. It’s a place where students of all ages, from many backgrounds and perspectives, and with various skill levels and life experiences, receive the support and care they need to succeed in the classroom and in life. SVC is committed to supporting the educational pipeline to increase college attendance for local high school graduates and supporting the college experience for underrepresented students.

“What makes our College special is that we are deeply committed to equity as our framework for providing access, supporting achievement, and strengthening community,” said SVC President Dr. Thomas Keegan. “With this focus, our faculty and staff are meeting students where they are, and providing education, services, tools, and encouragement that build a sense of community, safety, and belonging. The Lumina grant builds upon the innovative work already in place on our campuses and centers and it positions SVC as a leader in equity throughout our community.”

Funding from the Lumina grant will help SVC host the first annual Racial Justice & Equity Institute for underrepresented students from Mount Vernon and Burlington-Edison School Districts attending SVC in the fall of 2018. This institute will focus on leadership development and college navigational skills. Additionally, these grant funds will support SVC’s Educational Justice Conference. This conference is geared at outreach to middle and high school students, as well as SVC students and creating a cross-generational learning opportunity for all.

About Lumina Foundation — Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Lumina envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. The Foundation’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.

SVC Whidbey Island Campus and South Whidbey Center celebrate student achievement at 61st Annual Honors Reception

With many family members and friends in attendance, Skagit Valley College’s (SVC), Whidbey Island Campus and South Whidbey Center celebrated student achievement at the College’s 61st annual Honors Reception on June 6th at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge. Between the Mount Vernon and the Whidbey Island Campus ceremonies this year, more than $600k in scholarships were awarded to SVC students. Also that evening, many departmental and club awards were presented.

SVC President Dr. Tom Keegan awarded the President’s Medal to five students for their outstanding academic achievement. To qualify, each recipient must be a graduating sophomore, have all A or A- grades, and have attended SVC for at least three quarters. President’s Medals were awarded to: Hayden Armos, Elisabeth Dupont, Christopher Leyva Vera, Charles Nevin, and Anna Zywica.

Christopher Leyva Vera

Christopher Leyva Vera received the Yates Award, the highest award bestowed at the Whidbey Island Campus. Named for the former admiral and commanding officer of NAS Whidbey who was instrumental in working with SVC to secure property for the Whidbey Island Campus, the Yates Award honors a student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, community service, and academic achievement.

Among his many accomplishments at SVC, Christopher was selected to the All-Washington Academic Team. In addition to his academic work, Christopher served student body president of the Whidbey Island Campus, along with positions in other clubs and committees. He is a DACA beneficiary and a first-generation college student. He plans to earn a degree in social work to help marginalized communities.

The other Yates Award nominees this year were Kathryn Caballero and Rebecca Maher.








Matthew Palmer

The faculty at South Whidbey Center presented the South Whidbey Center Academic Excellence Award to Matthew Palmer. He is described as an excellent student, very pleasant, conscientious, and works very hard to make school a priority in his life.













Callum MacDonald with Dr. Tom Keegan

Carol Huber started the South Whidbey Center at Bayview many years ago. She was the first director of the Center and it was because of her hard work that the Center grew and continues to make a difference in the lives of South Whidbey students. When Carol left the center to teach at the Whidbey Island Campus in Oak Harbor, the Carol Huber Award was established in her name. This year’s Carol Huber Award was presented to Callum MacDonald.













Also, the following Departmental and Club Awards were presented:

Asian Pacific Islanders Club: Victoria Valdez
Basic Ed. for Adults/ESL: Jesus Rodriguez
Chemistry: Ben Knoll
Computer Info Systems: Stephanie Johnson
English: Cathryn Asp
Library: Victoria Valdez
Journalism Club: Elizabeth Brewer
Marine Technology: Zachary Simonson
Mathematics: Colton Alexander
Physical Education: Annamarie Crawford
Physics: Juliana Covarrubias & Caroline Paxton
Pre-Nursing: Jennifer Landingin:
Social Science: Christopher Leyva Vera
Student Life: Alexis Lenahan
Student Services: Idalis King
Veterans: Zac Norman