Local students pursuing careers in computer science could benefit from a $250,000 scholarship endowment recently established at Bellevue College.

Bellevue College

Bellevue College is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Photo courtesy Bellevue College.

Bellevue College’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program was seeded in July 2015 when the Washington State Legislature directed $750,000 in general funds to help create the program. Approvals required for the program came from the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges in May 2016, and the Northwest Commission for Colleges and Universities in September 2016. Bellevue College began to offer classes toward the degree when winter quarter started on Jan. 3.

The degree program aims to address employers’ growing demands for computer science graduates.

The quarter-million-dollar scholarship endowment was made by Berthe and Stanley Habib, and announced during the college’s 50th  anniversary gala on Jan. 7 at The Gold Club at Newcastle. More than 200 people attended the event, which capped a year-long celebration of the college’s milestone anniversary and raised more than $225,000 for the school.

Bellevue College

A new $250,000 endowment will help continue Bellevue College’s commitment to supporting computer science students, something that always has been at the heart of the college. Photo courtesy Bellevue College.

Berthe Habib was one of fewer than 500 students enrolled at Bellevue College when it opened in 1966 (today, the college serves more than 32,000 students every year). She went on to graduate from the University of Washington, then returned to Bellevue College and was hired to lead the mathematics lab. She created the first online math class at the college and was a member of the faculty of math teachers for more than 25 years.

Berthe and her husband, Stanley, a certified public accountant, previously created a scholarship endowment to encourage women to study science, technology, engineering, and math.