On June 15, Bellevue College brought its annual commencement ceremony back to the main campus, holding two events to accommodate the large crowd in the Courter Family Athletic Pavilion.
The first ceremony at 4 p.m. was for students who earned an associate transfer degree, and the second ceremony at 7:30 p.m. was for students who earned a bachelor’s degree, professional/technical degree and certificate, and non-transfer degrees including general education and high school completion.
Both ceremonies were packed to capacity with families and friends cheering graduates as they walked the red carpet up to the stage to receive their diplomas.
Jim Sinegal, co-founder and former chief executive officer of Costco Wholesale, was the keynote speaker for both ceremonies, offering a unique perspective on how he used his community college education as the launching point to his career as an industry game-changer. He encouraged students to take advantage of mentorship opportunities whenever possible, seek jobs that they enjoy, are meaningful or rewarding, exit jobs quickly that aren’t, and exercise patience on their road to success, because it takes time.
“There’s lots of opportunities for you out there, and I would expect that there will be some among you who will be even more successful than I am,” said Sinegal in a press release.
Sinegal began his career in retail business in 1954. As an 18 year old college student, he went to work for the legendary retail icon Sol Price at the discount store FedMart in San Diego. Sinegal remained working for Price for almost 30 years before striking out on his own to start Costco with his business partner, Jeff Brotman.
Costco today has revenues of more than $126 billion and operates 746 warehouses/stores in 44 states, Puerto Rico and 11 countries. The company employs over 239,000 people worldwide and has earned the reputation as a fair and progressive employer.
Sinegal serves as Trustee for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He is a Senior Executive in Residence at Seattle University’s Albers School and serves in a similar capacity at his alma mater, San Diego State University. Jim also serves as an advisor at the Mendoza School of Business for Notre Dame.
Bellevue College expects to award 3,045 bachelor’s and associate degrees, certificates and diplomas to 2,600 students who are prepared to launch their careers. About 192 of this year’s class will be comprised of graduates who will receive bachelor’s degrees in high-demand fields like computer science, applied accounting, information systems and technology, healthcare informatics and molecular biosciences and about 2,215 will receive associate degrees.
The class will include students as young as 17 and as old as 69, with an average age of approximately 27. Approximately 1,144 students are expected to graduate with distinction (3.5 grade-point average or higher).