As of April 13, 2009, Bellevue Community College officially became Bellevue College in preparation of awarding its first bachelor’s degree.
Why the change? “Because many people associate ‘community college’ with associate degrees only, we want our first baccalaureate graduates to have “Bellevue College” on their diplomas,” said Jean Floten, president of the college.
“This change in no way signals any lessening of our commitment to serve the community, or to maintain our associate degree and certificate programs,” Floten said. “It does, however, reflect a new facet in our ability to serve.”
“We stepped outside our traditional role as a two-year college because of the urgent need for more bachelor’s degree opportunities in radiation and imaging sciences,” said Floten.
Following studies and conversations with local healthcare leaders, the college discovered that there were increasing problems as a direct result of a lack of baccalaureate-level educational programs in the field. After discovering this, Bellevue launched the Bachelor of Applied Science in Radiation and Imaging Sciences program in the fall of 2007.
This does not mean that this is the end of Bellevue College’s expansion. “At some point we hope to be able to offer bachelor’s degrees in additional fields,” said Floten. “The widening gap between the space available in baccalaureate programs, on the one hand, and the needs of state residents and employers on the other, harms our economy and the quality of life in our community.”
On June 18, there were 19 students that were awarded bachelor’s degrees at the commencement ceremonies, where Governor Christine Gregoire was the commencement speaker. Gregoire noted that there was an “important similarity” between today’s graduation and her own. She spoke about the draft notices and bleak job market that she and others encountered after receiving degrees from the University of Washington.
“Like you, we were leaving college and entering a very uncertain world. But as uncertain as the world seems right now, I couldn’t be more optimistic for this class and your future,” said Gregoire. “My optimism rests on the decency and goodness of our people. Amidst all the troubling headlines, we sometimes overlook all the kindness and compassion that surrounds us.”
The 19 graduates were the first students to obtain a bachelor’s degree of applied sciences at Bellevue College.
What does this mean for the name, logo and signs around town?
Floten said that the new name and logo would be phased in over time in order to minimize costs.
“You may still see our old name and logo out there for a while in some places, because we are being fiscally responsible about making the [change],” said Floten.
No Bellevue College plans to stay a part of the state community and technical college system. BC also will continue to fulfill its community college mission, which is “to provide an open door to higher education to all who are eligible.”