Whatcom Community College

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Whatcom Community College
TypeCommunity college
PresidentKathi Hiyane-Brown
Academic staff
20:1 student-faculty ratio, 78 full-time faculty, 244 part-time faculty
Administrative staff
479 employees
Students11,457 annually, 6,647 quarterly, 4,110 FTEs
Location, ,
Campus72 acres
ColorsBurgundy and blue
MascotOrca whale
Whatcom CC Logo.jpg

Whatcom Community College (WCC), known as Whatcom, is a community college located in Bellingham, Washington, United States, in Whatcom County. Established in 1967, Whatcom has been accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities since 1976.[1]


Whatcom Community College is an accredited two-year college serving over 11,000 students annually. Whatcom offers transfer degrees, professional and technical training programs, basic education, job skills, online courses and Community & Continuing Education classes.[2]

Associate degrees[edit]

79% of Whatcom's students are pursuing their academic transfer:[2][3]

  • Associate in arts and sciences (transfer)
  • Associate in science (transfer)
  • Associate in liberal studies (non-transfer degree)

Professional technical degrees and certifications[edit]

  • Accounting and finance
  • Business administration
  • Hospitality & tourism business management
  • Office administration
  • Visual communications
  • Early childhood education
  • Massage practitioner
  • Medical assisting
  • Nursing
  • Nursing assistant
  • Physical therapist assistant
  • Criminal justice
  • Paralegal studies
  • Technology
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Cybersecurity*
  • 21% of Whatcom's students are pursuing professional technical degrees or certifications[2]

Student demographics[edit]


  • 56% female; 44% male
  • 68% between the ages of 16–24
  • 76% from Whatcom County (of students 20 and younger)
  • 53% attending full-time (12 credits or more)
  • 21% students of color (of degree/certificate seeking students)
  • 42% first-generation (of degree/certificate seeking students)[2]

Student profiles[edit]

  • 6,832 credit seeking students annually
  • 1,110 Running Start students annually (569 FTE)
  • 300+ international students from 30 countries
  • 239 veterans annually
  • 4,056 Community & Continuing Education students annually[2]



The Community College Act of 1967 establishes 22 community college districts, each governed by five trustees. Whatcom is District 21. Gov. Dan Evans appoints first Board of Trustees: Sam Kelly, Elizabeth Bay, Lawrence Belka, Duane Reed and Catharine Stimpson. The first board meeting is held May 29 at the Leopold Hotel, Bellingham.


March: Former Ferndale Schools Superintendent Everett Sanders is first employee; his title is coordinator. The first full-time faculty member is hired the next month. Floyd Sandell teaches Farm Management, a program transferred from the Bellingham School District. The College's first office is on Third Street in Ferndale.

May: The Board of Trustees rules that "Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured" (ambulance driving) will be the college's first class, offered tuition free.

June: The college is named Whatcom Community College. Other names considered are Kulshan, Mt. Baker and Nooksack. Sanders says, "Since capital funds are not available, it seems District 21 will operate without a campus … We can serve people, not buildings."

September: Tuition for first quarter of courses is set at $6 per credit.


April: Richard A. Arntson receives the first A.A. degree from WCC.

July: Dr. Robert Hamill becomes the first president of WCC.

September: College leases two acres on Northwest Road adjacent to the Whatcom County Library. Modular buildings are used for administrative offices and the Learning Resources Center.


June: College leases an abandoned Thriftway grocery store as the Marine Drive Instructional Center.

December: Lynden Instructional Center opens in a remodeled Safeway store at Sixth and Grover streets. The center offers farm management and art for seniors.


WCC earns accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Ferndale Instructional Center opens on Third Street. Blaine Instructional Center opens on Peace Portal Drive. Dr. William J. Laidlaw is appointed president.


The Midtown Center opens in downtown Bellingham. First commencement ceremony honoring graduates of 1972-1979.


The Pottery Studio is leased from Bellingham Parks and Recreation at Boulevard Park. Programs now include Early Childhood Education, Alternative Learning Experiences and Cooperative Education. These courses are offered at 1919 Broadway in Bellingham.


President Laidlaw recommends the Board authorize administration to take steps to acquire core facility as outlined in the Master Plan. Later that year, The Trillium Corporation donates 5.93 acres of real property for construction in the Cordata area of north Bellingham.


Legislature approves capital dollars for design of Whatcom core facility. Dr. Harold G. Heiner selected as third president.


Enrollment exceeds 1,000 FTE for the first time.


Groundbreaking for new core facility at site of current campus on Kellogg Road in Bellingham. The Laidlaw Center opens in 1987.


Board adopts the Orca whale as the college mascot.


Running Start program starts with 117 high school students enrolled. Today, more than 900 students are enrolled annually in Running Start. The program enables them to receive college credits while still in high school.


Whatcom closes its last satellite buildings. All programs are now offered at the central campus on Kellogg Road in Bellingham.


Dr. Kathi Hiyane-Brown selected as Whatcom's fourth president.


Construction began on the College's new Pavilion and Student Recreation Center June 2014. The project will include more than 24,000 sq. ft. of new construction and 6,700 sq. ft. of renovated space.

The expansion of labs and classrooms for Whatcom's Computer Information Systems program took place summer 2014. It included renovation and remodel of approximately 6,000 sq. ft. of the south wing of Baker Hall. The most significant improvements in the approx. $814,000 project are three enlarged labs, two lecture spaces, a new networking/server room, and a new instructional support/testing area.[4]


WCC's 72-acre campus, located in north Bellingham, is made up of 12 buildings: Auxiliary Services Building, Baker Hall, Cascade Hall, Foundation Building, Health Professions Education Center, Heiner Center, Kelly Hall, Kulshan Hall, Laidlaw Center, Pavilion, Roe Studio, and Syre Student Center.[2][5]


WCC competes in the Northern Region of the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC).[6] WCC has intercollegiate teams in three sports: men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball and men's and women's basketball. Soccer and volleyball seasons begin in September and end in late November. Basketball begins in mid-November and runs through the end of February. All of the Orcas' home games are held in either the Pavilion or the Orca athletic field on campus.[7]


In October 2014, the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designated Whatcom Community College as a national center of academic excellence in information assurance and cyber defense. WCC is among the first community colleges in the nation to earn this distinction.[8]

Whatcom Community College was one of three schools to receive the Progress and Succeed Award from Hobsons, an education software and services company, in July 2014. The award recognized WCC's for using the company's online student advising and support technology, which replaces manual processes and integrates degree planning, advising, and scheduling.[9]

According to the Aspen Institute, WCC is among the nation's top 150 community colleges. The non-profit institute selected the colleges from a pool of more than 1,000 public two-year colleges that have demonstrated exceptional levels of student success. As of 2014, of Washington state's 34 community and technical colleges, Whatcom is one of six to receive this recognition.[10]

Whatcom Community College President Kathi Hiyane-Brown received the 2014 Chief Executive Officer Award from the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges. The award recognized President Hiyane-Brown's dedication to student achievement and her focus on offering innovative academic and professional-technical programs that prepare students to successfully transfer to four-year schools and to excel in their careers.[11]

WCC's auxiliary services building earned LEED Silver certification for its sustainable design elements. The building, which opened in spring 2013, is home to the campus facilities department and the copy, print and mail center.[12][13]


  1. ^ "NWCCU Main Directory". www.nwccu.org.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "About Whatcom - Whatcom Community College". whatcom.edu.
  3. ^ "Degrees & Certificates - Whatcom Community College". whatcom.edu.
  4. ^ "Whatcom celebrates 50 years: 1967 - 2017 - Whatcom Community College". whatcom.edu.
  5. ^ "Tour the Campus - Whatcom Community College". whatcom.edu.
  6. ^ "Northwest Athletic Conference - NWAC". www.nwaacc.org.
  7. ^ "WCC Athletics - Whatcom Community College". www.whatcom.ctc.edu.
  8. ^ Wilson Criscione (October 14, 2014). "Whatcom Community College recognized as national leader in cybersecurity". The Bellingham Herald.
  9. ^ "WCC recognized for technology use". BBJ Today.
  10. ^ "Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence List Announced - The Aspen Institute". 23 January 2014.
  11. ^ "WCC President Hiyane-Brown Named CEO of the Year, Recognized for Leadership, Dedication to Students". WhatcomTalk. June 10, 2014.
  12. ^ "WCC building gets LEED Silver designation". The Bellingham Herald. March 6, 2014.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Kudos: WCC building earns LEED Silver status". BBJ Today. March 7, 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°47′43″N 122°29′38″W / 48.79528°N 122.49389°W / 48.79528; -122.49389