An e-newsletter for friends and alumni of Highline College.

Table of Contents

Retiring Faculty Celebration
Unified Soccer Takes Gold
All T-Birds Succeed
New VP at Highline
Foundation Gala Recap
Alumni Reception in Tokyo

Calendar of Events

What’s happening? Below is a partial list of upcoming events. Check here for the full schedule.

May 24: Alumni Reception in Tokyo

June 3: Retiring Faculty Celebration

June 11: Commencement Ceremony

June 12: T-Bird Classic Golf Tournament

Commencement Is Coming

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Another amazing year is coming to a close at Highline and graduation day is almost upon us. This year students will once again graduate with a degree from Highline College for the first time since 1968, when “community” was added to the college’s name after spring commencement. The 2015 Commencement Ceremony will be held on Thursday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the ShoWare Center. Highline’s student body president Laura Yanez will serve as the Master of Ceremonies, and Xavier Henderson, former member of the Highline wrestling team and scholarship recipient, will be the featured student speaker. Highline’s 2015 Distinguished Alumnus will also be announced and recognized during the ceremony.

Alumni Relations is seeking volunteers to assist with the Commencement Ceremony and set-up from 4:15–6:45 p.m. Please contact Madison Gridley to sign up or for more details.

Swing in for Fun and Prizes

Hit a hole-in-one for Highline Athletics. Grab your clubs for a day of fun, prizes and dinner at the annual golf tournament. The 2015 T-Bird Golf Classic will be held at Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club in Federal Way, featuring a traditional four-person scramble with a blind draw on two holes. Complete rules will be available at the tournament.

2015 T-Bird Classic
Friday, June 12
9:30 a.m.: check-in
11:00 a.m.: shotgun start

Learn more in the registration brochure. Registration is quick and easy online. Questions? Email John Dunn. Your participation supports our T-Bird athletes.

Highline Leader Earns Award for COE

Dr. Meg Ryan was one of ten Centers of Excellence (COE) directors in Washington state to earn the Idahlynn Karre Exemplary Leadership award. Ryan heads up the Center of Excellence for Global Trade and Supply Chain Management, which is housed at Highline College. Presented at the Chair Academy’s April International Leadership conference, the award is given to postsecondary education leaders or leadership teams that have enhanced educational opportunities on their campuses. Learn more about the award here

Free Coach for Your Career

Take advantage of an easy-to-use career tool offered free by Highline. Career Coach is designed to help you find a good career by providing the most current local data on wages, employment and job postings. Use the tool to explore your ideal career by matching your skills and talents. You can even use it to build a professional resume. Get started today with Career Coach.

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In Memorium

Longtime Highline employee Richard C. Fisher passed away in April 2015. Fisher served as the college’s Director of Campus Security from April 1998 through June 2006. A celebration of his life was held early in May in Renton. We extend our deep condolences to his family, friends and co-workers.  

About This Newsletter

Highline Connections will be published electronically four times a year in February, May, August and November for friends and alumni of Highline. Do you have questions or comments? Email Madison Gridley:

Highline College was founded in 1961 as the first community college in King County. With approximately 16,500 annual students and 350,000 alumni, it is one of the state’s largest institutions of higher education.

DISCLAIMER: Highline College provides equal opportunity in education and employment and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, creed, religion, or status as a veteran of war. Prohibited sex discrimination includes sexual harassment (unwelcome sexual conduct of various types).

Celebrate Highline’s Retiring Faculty  

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Wednesday, June 3
5–7 p.m.
Building 2

Join us in celebrating the retirement of four incredible Highline faculty members: Marie Esch-Radtke, Susan Landgraf, John Lindsay and Ron Sabado. Enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres at this special event to honor their years of service to the Highline community.

We will honor the impact they have had on campus with a slideshow, congratulatory remarks and much more during this festive occasion. If you can join us, R.S.V.P. by May 27 to Madison Gridley at

Would you like to contribute to a memory book or slideshow for one or all? Email a congratulatory note or photo to or send a hard copy:

Highline College
attn: Madison Gridley
P.O. Box 98000, MS 99-248
Des Moines, WA 98198-9800

 New Unified Soccer Team Takes Gold

Highline College’s new Unified Soccer team competed against 15 other Washington teams in the first college invitational held on April 18 at Seattle University. Highline’s players won it all, earning gold medals and bragging rights. 

The Unified Soccer team is made up of students with and without disabilities, ages 18 to 25. The students with disabilities are part of Highline’s ACHIEVE program. Sponsored by Special Olympics of Washington State, Unified Soccer seeks to integrate all students on campus and to develop relationships beyond the classroom.

The team is coached by Fawzi Belal, who played for the Seattle Sounders and Highline College. He now works for Highline as its Sports Diplomacy and Outreach coordinator.

T-Bird Teams All Enjoy Success 

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Highline’s Wrestling team earned national honors with the 2015 Academic Wrestling Team of the Year award. Highline’s team, with a 3.31 cumulative GPA, is the first to win the award in consecutive years and the only four-time winner of the award (2015, 2014, 2009 and 1998). No other wrestling program has won it more than twice. Read more about the team here.

This year, all of Highline’s teams went to the finals. The Wrestling team competed in the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) and Highline’s other teams competed in the NWAC (Northwest Athletic Conference) with outstanding results:

  • Men’s Basketball: West Region Champions
  • Women’s Basketball: third place in West Region
  • Men’s Soccer: NWAC Champions, West Region Champions
  • Women’s Soccer: West Region Champions
  • Women’s Softball: third place in West Region
  • Women’s Volleyball: second place in West Region

New VP at Highline 

Highline welcomes Michael V. Pham as the college’s new Vice President of Administrative Services.

A resident of Auburn, Pham comes to Highline from Seattle Central College where he also held the position of Vice President of Administrative Services. He has 27 years of experience in higher education, all within Washington’s community college system.

“Michael Pham has a reputation as a highly effective leader and a well-liked colleague,” said Dr. Jack Bermingham, Highline’s president, in his announcement of Pham’s appointment. “His many skills and wealth of experience in the community college system will be an asset to us here at Highline and contribute to our continued success.”

Pham earned his Master of Business Administration from City University and his bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University. His college education began at Seattle Central College, where he earned both an associate of arts degree and an associate of science degree.

Pham replaces Larry T. Yok, who retired in March 2015 after eight years with Highline as Vice President.

Gala: Great Results for a Great Cause 

More than 200 people attended the Highline Foundation’s biggest fundraising event of the year on April 18 at Cedarbrook Lodge. The Foundation Gala was a huge success, raising approximately $125,000 to help Highline students.

Generous bidders took home resort vacations, tickets to sought-after Sounder and Seahawk games, special wine packages, beautiful artwork and much more.

This year’s special raise-the-paddle auction item gave donors the chance to support Highline’s Jumpstart Scholarship program, which helps ESL students transition to college. Through the program, an ESL student attends one quarter of development classes in English and reading free of charge. Jumpstart also pairs the development classes with a support seminar taught by Highline’s ESL faculty. These funds are needed to bridge the gap between when students begin classes and when their financial aid packages begin.

The raise-the-paddle item proved popular with an 85 percent participation rate and brought in $80,250, which included a generous matching gift of $40,000 from Highline alumni Junki and Linda Yoshida.

If you did not have the opportunity to donate, it is never too late to support this worthwhile program. Buy a credit at the level that fits your budget:

  • 1 credit = $107
  • 2 credits = $214
  • 5 credits = $534
  • 8 credits = $855
  • 15 credits* = $1,333

Donate today by visiting the Highline Foundation.

*Full-time attendance for one quarter

Alumni Reception in Tokyo 

Sunday, May 24
Hotel Grand Hill Ichigaya
Tokyo, Japan

Are you one of Highline’s 1,100 graduates living in Japan? Join fellow alumni in Tokyo to celebrate the college’s Japanese graduates. Junki Yoshida, one of the college’s first Japanese students and CEO of the Yoshida Group, will serve as the event’s co-host and keynote speaker.

This will be Highline’s second time hosting an alumni event in Japan. In November 2013, Highline Alumni Relations traveled to Tokyo to host the inaugural event and initiate the development of the Japan Alumni Chapter. The successful event welcomed 70 alumni and friends of the college at the Hotel Grand Hill Ichigaya. International students from Japan make up the highest number of alumni from any country outside of the United States, which made it the ideal place to launch the college’s first international alumni chapter.

This year’s reception will once again be held at the Hotel Grand Hill Ichigaya (located at 4-1 IchigayaHonmuracho, Shinjuku, 162-0845, JAPAN ). The event is free. R.S.V.P. to Madison Gridley with the following information: Name, address, date/years you attended Highline and your preferred T-shirt size.