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TCC Distinguished Alumni

Epitomizing Excellence

The Tacoma Community College Foundation is excited to seek nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Award again this year after a two-year hiatus. The award honors and celebrates alumni who have distinguished themselves with outstanding professional and personal achievements. Established in 2006, the Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes former students of Tacoma Community College who serve as role models for the next generation of community leaders. The categories for nomination are as follows:

  • Significant Career or Personal Achievement
    Nominees in this category have made significant career or personal achievement accomplishments. Their work and impact have established them as a leader in their respective field and they have been recognized for their exceptional achievement.
  • Significant Service to Tacoma Community College and/or the Community
    Nominees in this category have had an important impact through service to TCC or the local community. Their work and contributions have advanced the mission of TCC: As the community’s college, we create meaningful learning, advance equity, and strengthen student and community success. Nominees have demonstrated an extraordinary record of service to TCC or to the community in general.

Nominate a Distinguished Alumn

If you would like to nominate someone for the Distinguished Alumni award, fill out the nomination form by May. 6. You may also submit any additional materials such as a resume, news articles, brief letters of support from a nominee’s colleagues, and other materials.

image of Mari Leavitt

Mari Leavitt - 2019

Tacoma Community College is honored to recognize Dr. Mari Leavitt as the 2019 TCC Distinguished Alumnus. A Lincoln High School graduate, Leavitt earned her Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree from TCC and was recognized as a TCC Ellen Pinto Outstanding Student of the Year. She went on to earn her B.A. and M. Ed. from Western Washington University and her Ph.D. in Community College Leadership from Oregon State University.

At TCC, Mari Leavitt (then Mari Hyzer) served as Associated Students of Tacoma Community College (ASTCC) President. As a member of student government, she was involved in securing funding for the Building 11 Opgaard Student Center. She prioritized student involvement, encouraging students to participate in ASTCC, vote, volunteer, and contact legislators. She brought legislators to campus to talk to students, organizing a successful tour for local representatives. During her time at TCC, Leavitt developed an appreciation for Washington’s community and technical college system that would strongly influence her life’s work.

Leavitt has remained a steadfast community college advocate throughout her professional career, which includes working for nearly twenty one years in the community college system, including at TCC and Pierce College. Leavitt also worked as Assistant Director of Integrative Prevention & Education/Title IX Administrator at The Evergreen State College. She currently serves as a State Representative for the 28th District, where she continues to advocate for community and technical colleges and students as Vice Chair of the College & Work Force Development Committee.

Leavitt was nominated by a TCC employee who first knew her as the neighbor who encouraged her to go back to school and re-enter the workforce.

“I was a stay at home mom in our community and Mari was a huge encouragement to me when I shared that I wanted to enter back into the workforce and in particular that I wanted to work at TCC,” reads the nomination. “Her love for higher education and her students was infectious and I wanted to be part of that world. She encouraged me to get my Master’s degree and showed me that I could achieve that dream while still being a great mom to my children. She still inspires me with her drive and passion for our community.”

Past Honorees

2016 - Andre Stout

2015 - Ali Criss, Financial Advisor

2015 - Vernelda Savoy, Managing Nurse

2014 - James Curtis, Attorney

2014 - Chris Anderson, CEO 2bridges

2013 - Connie Ladenburg, City Councilor, Congresswoman, Social Worker

2012 - Dave Burmark, High School Counselor

2011 - Dr. Walter Nolte, University President

2010 - Ed Troyer, Law Enforcement

2009 - Jim Walton, City Manager

2008 - Fred Stabbert, Businessman/CEO

2007 - Brian Sonntag, Banker, County Clerk, Auditor

2006 - John Hall, Financial Services CEO