College presidents, current and former chancellors and trustees, and elected officials were joined by longtime colleagues and friends of Constance W. Rice and the late Kip Tokuda for a special program of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council held to celebrate the inaugural presentation of an award recognizing the importance of partnerships to ensure student success.
Chancellor Jill Wakefield welcomed guests—including Mayor Mike McGinn and his wife Peggy Lynch, Sen. Bob Hasegawa, Rep. Ruth Kagi, and former Seattle Community Colleges Chancellors Peter Ku and Charles Mitchell. She thanked Cleo Corcoran, sponsor of the program, whose husband George was a founder of the Seattle Community College District.
She then led the capacity crowd at the One World Dining Room at Seattle Central in recognizing Dr. Constance W. Rice and the “Partner of the Year” award established in her name. Dr. Rice is a former senior vice chancellor, interim college president and member of the Board of the Seattle Community Colleges, whose leadership included partnerships that benefit education, equity and the health and welfare of under-represented youth. She is currently managing director for Knowledge Management at Casey Family Programs, focusing on issues affecting foster children.
The award honors business or community leaders whose contributions elevate Seattle Community Colleges and their students and who inspire others throughout our region by working in partnerships to achieve mutual success.
Dr. Rice presented the inaugural award posthumously to Kip Tokuda, a community activist and former legislator who worked tirelessly to bring people together to improve the quality of life in our region. Accepting the award on behalf of the family was Dwight Imanaka, a lifelong friend who had just returned from Washington State University’s Father-Daughter Weekend with Mr. Tokuda’s daughter Molly, a Running Start graduate of Seattle Central.
Kip Tokuda was an advocate for education and was called the “go-to” person for the colleges for legislation supporting students and the colleges. He was a lifelong mentor for the under-represented and for young people, and a leader in the Asian Pacific Islander community. Guests included representatives from various organizations he was involved with, including the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington, the University of Washington President’s Minority Community Advisory Committee and the Seattle Community Police Commission.
Before he passed away suddenly on July 13, Mr. Tokuda saw the completion of his recommendation to establish a partnership between the colleges and the City of Seattle to offer a free course that would help diversify the Seattle Police Department (SPD). The first class on Introduction to Community Policing began this quarter at Seattle Central, with plans to offer the class at North Seattle and South Seattle in the future. According to SPD Sgt. Adrian Diaz, instructor for the class, “Kip pushed us to think about how we engage, educate and prepare potential candidates for the police force, in ways we hadn’t before. Personally, his energy and passion for equity and fairness inspired me and after my first conversation with him I felt like I could conquer anything.” SPD Chief Jim Pugel thanked the colleges for the innovative partnership and for supporting the department’s efforts in recruiting within diverse communities.
In addition to the award presentation, the Oct. 16 event included updates by presidents of Seattle Central, North Seattle and South Seattle on current partnerships at their colleges. See photos of the event at this link.