Courtesy of Bellevue College

The Bellevue College Board of Trustees announced Jan. 14 that they will be extending former governor Gary Locke’s contract as interim president for up to two additional years.

“We are pleased to continue Gov. Locke’s term and grateful he has agreed to serve in this capacity while the college works through what has been an incredibly difficult time for our college, our community, and the country,” said Greg Dietzel, chair of the Bellevue College Board of Trustees, in a press release. “This allows for stability in leadership and gives us time to launch a thoughtful and thorough national search for a permanent president.”

Gary Locke was the first Chinese American to be elected governor in United States history and the first Asian American governor on the mainland. Locke was originally appointed interim Bellevue College President on May 28, 2020.

“We’re thankful for everyone in the college community who participated and shared their opinions and information with us in some way over the past few months as we worked to determine our path forward,” said Richard Leigh, vice-chair of the Bellevue College Board of Trustees, said in the press release.

The college conducted an anonymous survey in Spring 2020, in which over 60 percent of the college participated. In addition, members of the board engaged in over 50 listening sessions with groups in which more critical information was heard, and most recently over 80 additional written comments were provided by the campus community, ensuring the inclusion of myriad voices.

“I am honored to continue on as interim president to focus on tackling the many challenges before us,” said Locke in the release. “Working with faculty, staff, students, and the community, we still have much work to do — from delivering high-quality education despite the pandemic to firmly embedding a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campus.”