Story and Photo by Ryan Tipper
On May 3, 2013, Whatcom Community College celebrated 45 years of operation. The celebration, located in the Heiner building on Whatcom’s campus, began promptly at 5:30 p.m. with a catered meal and social with the other guests.
The event, which was sold out of its $50 tickets, attracted many different community and college leaders as well as past students and sponsors of Whatcom. Some of those on the night’s guest list included Bob Winters, Anne Bowen and Chuck Robinson. Along with many others, these members of the Foundation Board of Directors made evident of the importance of Whatcom celebrating its 45 years in higher education.
“The idea of Whatcom started just as a concept,” Winters said. “We wanted to create a place that would bring change to the community.”
Another important figure present at the event was the President of Whatcom Community College, Kathi Hiyane-Brown.
“I want to thank you all for attending this important night,” Hiyane-Brown said in her introduction speech. “I am proud to be able to represent Whatcom Community College with the celebrations this evening.”
Her speech was given just moments after the guests of the event were guided from the lobby of Heiner Hall to its theater for a special edition of Village Books’ “Chuckanut Radio Hour.” This radio program, which is featured every Saturday night on KMRE LP 102.3 FM, recorded episode 66 live that night with the guest audience supplying laughter and applause.
Consisting of its usual blend of jokes, skits and music, the radio hour intertwined its show with Whatcom Community College’s rich past in personal ways.
One of the highlights of the show was the showing of a video which took a look back at where Whatcom Community College had come from and where it was now. The focus of the video was on the college’s “I Am Whatcom” campaign and how all of those who positively gain from or affect the school become a part of its community for life.
Some of the original Foundation Board Members were in the audience that evening and were honored for their work and support of Whatcom since its beginning. Starting with almost no existing campus, some of Whatcom’s first classes only cost $6 each.
“Since capital funds are not available, it seems District 21 will operate without a campus… We can serve people, not buildings,” Everett Sanders said in 1970 about the college. He was Whatcom’s first full-time employee.
The event had over 25 student and faculty volunteers that evening to assist with everything related to the celebration such as greeting and welcoming at the main entrance, name tag distribution, and any general questions.