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Skagit Valley College President Keegan announces retirement

Oct 14, 2021

Dr. Tom Keegan, SVC President

Dr. Tom Keegan, SVC President

After 43 years of service in the Washington Community and Technical College system, and as the third longest-serving President of Skagit Valley College (SVC), Dr. Tom Keegan has announced his intent to retire effective Aug. 31, 2022.

“I am forever grateful to have been able to come full circle from student to President at the college that set me on an inspiring and life-changing educational journey,” said Keegan.

Since his arrival in March 2012, Dr. Keegan has worked tirelessly to expand access to higher education, transform the college culture, collaborate and innovate to support regional economic development efforts through education, and reach out to and partner with diverse communities.

Highlights of his tenure and leadership include:

  • The College received authority to serve as a baccalaureate-granting institution, and is currently offering applied bachelor degrees in Environmental Conservation and Applied Management.
  • Latino student enrollment increased from 12% in 2012 to 24% in 2021, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities recently recognized SVC as an “Emerging Hispanic Serving Institution.”
  • The SVC Foundation raised over $16 million since 2012, including increasing its endowment from $7.6 million to over $19 million, conducting its first-ever capital campaign, which raised $3 million to support childcare vouchers, emergency grants, and classroom enhancements, and a $3 million campaign to construct the Sue Krienen Early Learning and Childcare Center on the Mount Vernon campus.
  • An aggressive grant-writing effort in support of equity in student success garnered over $20 million in federal, state, and private funds.
  • The College’s comprehensive Student Achievement Strategy resulted in dramatic increases in student success measures and the College being selected as one of 30 colleges nationwide to participate in the inaugural Guided Pathways Project, led by the American Association of American Community Colleges.
  • Through innovative and collaborative instructional programming, the College developed the first two-year Craft Brew program in Washington, and in partnership with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, developed the Dental Health Aide Therapist degree—one of only three in the US.
  • The College developed new degrees in Manufacturing Technology, Applications Development, Information Management and Data Science, Multi-Occupational Trades, Engineering, and Sustainable Agriculture.

“Under Tom’s exceptional leadership, the College has embraced the principles of respect, integrity, open and honest communication, collaboration, and compassion,” said SVC Board of Trustees Chair Flora Perez-Lucatero. “Skagit Valley College is viewed as a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion work, and our College prides itself in serving our diverse populations, and meeting students where they are.”

A proud SVC alum, Keegan earned an Associate in Arts Degree in 1978. During his time as a student, he was co-captain of the 1977 men’s soccer team that went on to win the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) championship and was co-captain of the College’s baseball team. In 1978, he was named SVC Athlete of the Year and was a finalist for the Charles H. Lewis Memorial Award. In 1985, Keegan returned to SVC as a graduate intern and Head Soccer Coach, leading the Cardinals to the NWAC championship.

Dr. Keegan began his career in higher education at Tacoma Community College, where he served in numerous positions. He served as Vice President of Student Services at South Puget Sound Community College, Vice President of Instruction and Student Services at Columbia Basin College, and served as President of Peninsula College for eleven years before being named President of SVC.

The Board of Trustees will begin a national search process which is expected to take several months. The Board expects to name the new SVC President in April 2022.

SVC serves over 6,000 students each quarter at two campuses in Mount Vernon and Oak Harbor and three centers in Anacortes, Burlington, and Friday Harbor.