For the last few months Jill Wakefield has been transitioning out of her role as President of Bellevue College and started preparing the next president for the job. Wakefield has worked at Bellevue College this past year to help the faculty and students achieve the highest quality of education they can.
Wakefield did many things to help Bellevue College advance, but the thing she is most proud of is that she “kept moving forward.” Wakefield was very happy that she not only helped students move on to get various degrees but she helped the college itself advance in many different ways. “Every day, I discovered something interesting at BC. From participating in the 50th anniversary events and visiting your programs and offices to sitting in on meetings or just chatting, I learned so much about your impressive backgrounds and experiences as well as how much you do to support each other,” Wakefield said.
However, as president, Wakefield encountered many challenges. According to Wakefield, the hardest was to figure out the Bellevue College culture. Each college works in a different way, has its own little quirks and issues as well as many unspoken rules that take a while to learn and Wakefield had to learn all of these on her own. With the new president coming in, she has been working closely with him and has been helping to train him and has been showing him all of the ropes and hidden rules. “I have worked with your new president and am impressed with Dr. Weber’s record of success, his experience, and his commitment to our mission and our students. He is thoughtful, a good listener, and respects process as well as accountability,” said Wakefield.
The new president coming in has many years of experience and has been working the past couple of months to make sure his transition into the school goes smoothly. While Wakefield does not believe he will be making any major changes within the first few months, she does think that him coming in with a pair of fresh eyes will give him a new perspective and help to make good decisions.
Bellevue College student Bella Gelfuso said that during the year where Wakefield was in command, she “found teachers who treated us like human beings, and were so kind and accommodating to any situation. I made many friends who were incredible and so excited to learn, and we became invested in so many amazing classes and studies. I absolutely loved my experience there, and I can’t wait for another year.”
Tianna Cooper, another student at Bellevue College, said “my experience at BC has been an incredibly positive one, especially due to the support systems, friendly atmosphere, and encouraging teachers across campus […] the opportunities provided by Bellevue College have given me an overwhelmingly positive experience.”
In her final goodbye email, Wakefield wrote “There were so many memorable moments for me, but the highlight was Commencement. As I shook hands with more than 700 graduates, and saw their excitement and optimism, I felt such gratitude for the opportunity to work with them.”
Wakefield’s official last day was Friday, June 30.