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

Highline Connections

Winter 2014

Table of Contents

Donor Profile: Vern and Jean Warmbo

Alumni Reception Launches Service Challenge

Konnichiwa, Highline

Breakfast with a Side of Inspiration

Awards and Recognition Roll In

Calendar of Events

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

March 13: Career Connections-How to Get Hired

June 13: T-Bird Classic Golf Tourament

Volunteer Opportunities Calendar:

Feb. 28-Mar. 2: 10th Annual Poverty Bay Wine Festival

Bonus: Each volunteer receives a free admission ticket!

March 15: Regional Science Olympiad

March 22: Seed Starting Party at Sonju Community Garden

See full schedule of opportunities here.

Scholarship Recipients

Thanks to the generosity of community members, businesses, service organizations and Highline employees, $54,575 in scholarships were awarded to Highline students for use during the 2013–14 academic year. View the full list here.

Recent Donors

The Highline Community College Foundation is grateful to its many donors who help improve the quality of education for all students at the college. Many thanks to these donors for their gifts totaling $51,901.94 from October through December of 2013. See the full list of donors here.

Easy Way to Plan Your Gift

Leave a lasting impact on the college with a charitable bequest to Highline Community College Foundation. A bequest is one of the easiest gifts to make. With the help of an adviser, you can include language in your will or trust specifying a gift be made to the Foundation as part of your estate plan. The benefits are many. You’ll receive an estate tax charitable deduction, lessen the burden of taxes on your family and leave a lasting legacy. Learn more here.

Highline Offers Free Online Career Tool

Career Coach is designed to help you find a good career by providing the most current local data on wages, employment and job postings. It’s the perfect tool to explore your ideal career and the education and training necessary to help you reach your goals.

Career Coach is tailored to our region and provides employment trends, job opportunities and earnings potential. It provides related job fields that may also interest you and uncover a career that perfectly matches your skills and talents. A partnership between Highline Community College and Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc., Career Coach will even help you build a professional resume to ensure that you are prepared to begin your job search. Learn more here.

In Memorium

Former Highline faculty member Robert Adams passed away on January 6 at the age of 80. A fixture on the Highline campus for 30 years, Adams taught geology from 1966 to 1996. At his request, no public memorial was scheduled.

About This Newsletter

Highline Community College was founded in 1961 as the first community college in King County. With approximately 18,000 annual students and 350,000 alumni, it is one of the state’s largest institutions of higher education.

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:

DISCLAIMER: Highline Community 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).

Article Image

Donor Profile: Vern and Jean Warmbo 

Article ImageWhat’s on your to-do list for today?

For Vern and Jean Warmbo, the list may look something like this: watch a little basketball, plan their next trip to Scandinavia, donate generously and twist a few balloons into adorable creations.

It’s a comfortable life for a pair well into their retirement years. But there were times early in their life when they couldn’t imagine getting to this point. Learn about this couple’s challenging early years and why they now do what they do. It may leave you wanting to take up balloon bending. Read more...

Service Challenge Launched at Alumni Reception

Article ImageHighline alumna and soul/R&B singer Choklate entertained the nearly 125 Highline alumni, retirees, faculty and staff who attended the annual Alumni Reception on December 12, 2013. The event also featured alums Duncan Taylor, who served as master of ceremonies, and Dr. T.M. Sell, who gave a compelling speech about how simple acts of service can change a community.

The event launched the 2014 Alumni Community Service Challenge, which challenges alumni to serve 2,014 hours of community service, find 14 new mentors and identify four new work-based learning sites this year. More than 25 alumni signed up during the event. Join other Highline alumni in making a difference in our community. To sign up or track the program and its progress, visit

Konnichiwa, Highline 

Article ImageBoasting approximately 1,100 Highline alumni, Japan was the natural choice to launch the college’s first international alumni event. In November 2013, HCC Alumni Relations traveled to Tokyo to host the 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. Highline alumnus Junki Yoshida, one of the college’s first Japanese students and CEO of the Yoshida Group, served as the event’s co-host and keynote speaker. Kaz and Mayumi Toyoshima, who met at Highline and are now married, are organizing the alumni chapter with help from Yoshida, who is serving as chapter adviser and president. International students from Japan make up the highest number of alumni from any country outside of the United States.

Breakfast with a Side of Inspiration 

Article ImageThe fifth annual Foundation fundraising breakfast proved to be a great way to start the day, raising more than $5,500 to immediately help Highline students. During the February 4 event, 75 attendees enjoyed an inspiring breakfast with student speaker Sherise Wilcher and special guest speaker Captain John Creighton, who entertained the crowd with tales of his days as an astronaut. Creighton flew three space missions between 1985 and 1991. After retiring from the Navy and NASA, he became a chief test pilot with The Boeing Company. Students often find they need help paying for expenses during the year, so the money raised during the event will be put to use right away, helping students with the cost of books, bus passes and other expenses.

Awards and Recognition Roll In 

From individual to campus-wide awards, Highline has been reaping widespread recognition. To learn more and read other campus news, visit here.

Highline Earns Spot in Top 50

Highline earned national recognition as one of the top 50 community colleges in the nation from the Washington Monthly, a D.C.-based magazine. The publication’s 2013 rankings of America’s best community colleges are based on two sources of information: the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and U.S. Department of Education’s measurements of student retention and completion.

Faculty Member Wins Prestigious Award

Michael “Mike” Girvin, Highline business faculty since 2002, has been named a 2013 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP). The Microsoft MVP award is presented annually to recognize outstanding technology community leaders from around the world who share their respective expertise of Microsoft products with others. Girvin is internationally recognized for his more than 2,000 free Microsoft Excel how-to videos on YouTube. These video tutorials receive more than 15,000 views daily.

It’s Great to Work at Highline

The Chronicle of Higher Education, a top news source for colleges and universities, named Highline as one of the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For.” Highline was recognized for excellence in diversity and teaching environment. The sixth annual report on “The Academic Workplace” was based on a survey of more than 44,000 employees at 300 colleges and universities. Only 97 institutions received “Great Colleges to Work For” status. Highline was the only two-year school in Washington state to be honored. Highline was also recognized by The Chronicle as a “Great College to Work For” in 2010.
Award for VP

Toni Castro, HCC’s Vice President for Student Services, received the 2013 Region V Outstanding Community College Professional Award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), a professional organization for student affairs administrators in higher education. The award recognizes Castro’s many achievements and efforts, including her passion for student success and her leadership in statewide student services initiatives. Castro has been with HCC for 17 years.
Highline Earns National Honor

Highline was a recipient of the annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Given by INSIGHT into Diversity, the largest and oldest diversity magazine and website in higher education, the 2013 HEED Award was presented to only 56 institutions across the nation. Highline was the only recipient from Washington state and one of the very few from the West Coast.

College Ranks in Top 100 Degree and Certificate Producers

Highline earned national recognition as one of the top 100 associate degree producers in 2013 from Community College Week. Highline was recognized in two categories with a rank of 53 in the Top 100 Associate Degree Producers for Asian American Students and a rank of 29 in the Top 100 One-Year Certificate Producers for African American Students. Community College Week used data provided by the U.S. Dept. of Education for these rankings.

VP Earns Honor

Dr. Lisa Skari, Highline’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement, earned honors as the 2013 District 7 Communicator of the Year by the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR). Skari’s award-winning accomplishments include leadership in creating community awareness of Highline’s programs and offerings. In the most recent survey conducted by Herbert Research in 2012, Highline garnered a 92 percent awareness rating by community members, a strong top-of-mind awareness comparable to that of the University of Washington. Skari has led the Institutional Advancement division since its inception in 2001.