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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

SVC Mount Vernon Campus celebrates student achievement at 61st annual Honors Reception

Several hundred students, family members, and friends attended the 61st annual Skagit Valley College (SVC) Mount Vernon Campus Honors Reception May 30 in McIntyre Hall. Between the Mount Vernon and the Whidbey Island Campus ceremonies this year, over $600k in scholarships will be awarded to SVC students.

SVC President Dr. Tom Keegan awarded 18 students with the President’s Medal for outstanding academic achievement.  To qualify, each recipient must be a graduating sophomore, have all A’s or A-’s, and have attended SVC for at least three quarters. President’s Medals were presented to:

  • Kevin Ball, Marysville
  • Elise Birdsong, Arlington
  • Sandra Blake, Elma
  • Nina Chandler, Camano Island
  • Ruben Crew, Arlington
  • Kara Ericksen, Longview
  • Megan Fox, Camano Island
  • Trevor Giddings, Sedro-Woolley
  • Deanna Heggie, Camano Island
  • Alexander Hood, Anacortes
  • Romina Hutson De Novellis, Bellingham
  • Cassandra Kwant, Mount Vernon
  • Nathan Morse, Oak Harbor
  • Ashley Riess, Anacortes
  • Siulok Tang, Mount Vernon
  • Francisco Vera Urrutia, Mount Vernon
  • Yamna Kahn, Burlington
  • Ana Giselle Sanabria Velazquez, Friday Harbor

Dania Jaramillo, Charles H. Lewis Memorial Award Recipient 2018

The prestigious Charles H. Lewis Memorial Award was presented to Dania Jaramillo (Burlington). Dania describes herself in many ways: mother, daughter, sister, wife, first generation undocumented college student, Mexican, and activist. Dania chooses to own her identities as they shape who she is. Dania is a student in SVC’s Maestros Para el Pueblo program and will graduate with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She will transfer to WWU in the Fall. She was awarded the prestigious  Charles H. Lewis Memorial Award. The other Lewis Award finalists were:

  • Katie Piland, Mount Vernon
  • Flor Zamorano-Beltran, Mount Vernon
  • Noemi Rodriguez, Mount Vernon
  • Giovanna Larios, Poulsbo
  • Jordan Shelley, Greenbank
  • Alexander Hood, Anacortes
  • Naoki Motomuro, Mount Vernon
  • Cynthia Ocampo, Mount Vernon
  • Mejak Jones, Anacortes

The 1956 sophomore class of Skagit Valley Junior College established the annual Charles H. Lewis Memorial Award as tribute to Lewis, the first Dean of the College and a revered faculty member at SVC for 28 years.  The award is bestowed to a graduating sophomore who has been in attendance at SVC a minimum of one full school year and who best among their classmates exemplifies the qualities of Charles H. Lewis:

  1. The student must be the possessor of high ethical and moral standards.
  2. The student’s consistent daily effort in fulfilling assignments and consistent attendance in class must be evidenced as indication of the ability to persevere in the attainment of a reputable scholastic standing.
  3. The student must possess those qualities of good citizenship made manifest by a willingness to help and understand others and projection in daily contacts of a warm, personal feeling toward others.
  4. The student must exhibit intellectual curiosity.
  5. The student’s association with other people must demonstrate a genial regard for others.
  6. The student must possess a subtle sense of humor.

Also, the following Departmental Awards were presented:

Academic ESL
Yohei Nii, Mount Vernon

Esmeralda Marquez, Oak Harbor

Allied Health
Nicole Cochran, Mount Vernon

Kenneth Estes, Sedro-Woolley

Sabrina Benien, Mount Vernon

Francisco Vera, Mount Vernon

Behavioral Science
Monika Rueb, Mount Vernon

Ruger Stufflebeam, Mount Vernon

College Career Bridge
Elizabeth Parker, Mount Vernon

Communication Studies
Yamna Khan, Burlington

Communication Studies
Lindzey Jaderlund, Mount Vernon

Computer Science
Roger Dieterich, Mount Vernon

Criminal Justice
Hannah Pendergrass, Sedro-Woolley

Culinary Arts
Dominick Mendrez, Oak Harbor

Diesel Power Technology
Gavin McGinnis, Coupeville

Michael Trotchie, Burlington

Emily Hall, Sedro-Woolley

Thomas Janicki, Mount Vernon

Yamna Khan, Burlington

ELA (English Language Acquisition)
Hue Tien, Mount Vernon

Environmental Conservation/GIS
Milo Heiret, Oak Harbor

Environmental Conservation – BASEC
Jason Flowers, Oak Harbor

Health and Fitness Technician|
May Huang, Anacortes

High School Completion
Elizabeth Parker, Mount Vernon

Rachel Ludlow, Burlington

Human Services – Generalist Track
Lucy Kesterson, Mount Vernon

Human Services – Substance Use Disorder Track
Dennis Phillips, Freeland

Jose Lara, Mount Vernon

Donald Shaffer, Stanwood

Alexander Hood, Anacortes

Austin Faux, Arlington

Multimedia and Interactive Technology
Kurt Thorson, Eastsound

Calib Byers, Oak Harbor

Monika Rueb, Mount Vernon

Physical Education
Lacey Hill, Mount Vernon

Alexander Hood, Anacortes

Social Science
Atziry Torres, Sedro-Woolley

Welding Technologies
Beau Blank, Stanwood

Welding Technologies
Yoden Ortmannwight, Anacortes

World Languages
Giovanna Larios, Poulsbo

SVC Environmental Conservation, Biology, and Craft Brewing Academy programs unveil new lab partnership at Open House

Skagit Valley College Environmental Conservation, Biology, and Craft Brewing Academy programs will unveil their new lab partnership on Friday, June 8 from 3:30 to 5:00 pm in Angst Hall room 246b. The open house is an opportunity for the public to learn how the three programs are collaborating with new learning innovations.

SVC brewing instructors, science faculty, and local craft brewers have been invited to show their new lab space and new equipment, to talk about how the Craft Brewing lab can support the SVC Craft Brewing Academy and local brewers, and to showcase some SVC student research projects.

Those over 21 who visit the open house will receive a ticket to the Soul Fest beer garden that follows the open house, just outside in the Tollefson Plaza.


Live Music • Food Trucks • Local Brews: Skagit Valley College invites the community to Soul Fest

Skagit Valley College invites the community to Soul Fest 2018 on Friday, June 8 from 5-9 pm at the Tollefson Plaza, located on the Mount Vernon Campus. The evening will include good cheer, live bands (featuring Gin Gypsy, Backyard Bison, and Heroes), food trucks, and local brews, including Cardinal Craft Brew. Free entry; beer tickets are $5 each. Proceeds from Soul Fest will benefit SVC Women’s Soccer.