More students at Bellevue College will be able to afford a college education thanks to the generosity of over 700 guests who attended the college’s 13th Annual “Become Exceptional” Luncheon yesterday at the Meydenbauer Center in downtown Bellevue. The money they donated– nearly $280,000, with the average gift increasing 50 percent over last year – will enable the Bellevue College Foundation to continue providing academic and need-based scholarships, as well as develop programs that support quality education and learning opportunities for all BC students.

“On behalf of everyone at the college and the Foundation, we sincerely thank all those who gave so generously, making this year’s luncheon a huge success. The support we received will have a tangible and beneficial impact by helping many deserving students complete their education, giving them a shot at better-paying jobs and a better quality of life for themselves and their families,” said Bill Kent, an executive with Mortenson Construction and president of the Foundation’s board.

A roster of 30 businesses, led by primary corporate sponsor Columbia Athletic Clubs, underwrote the luncheon’s entire cost, allowing every dollar given by guests to support Bellevue College students.

Ronan Farrow, special advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues and director of the State Department’s Global Youth Issues office, and son of director Woody Allen and actress Mia Farrow, gave the keynote address. Additionally, several Bellevue College students in difficult financial circumstances spoke about how scholarships, made possible by generous donors, enabled them to stay in school and flourish in their classes.

Directed by a board of 30 community volunteers, the Bellevue College Foundation is a non-profit organization that receives and manages individual and corporate support on behalf of Bellevue College. It awards more than $100,000 annually in merit- and need-based scholarships and, since its inception in 1978, has raised more than $20 million to support scholarships and program enhancements at the college.

About Bellevue College: Chosen by 38,000 students last year, Bellevue College (BC) is one of the largest educational institutions in Washington State. BC offers associate degree programs covering the first two years of a college education as well as four-year bachelor’s degrees, certificates and continuing education programs in more than 90 professional and technical fields, such as information technology, telecommunications, business, education, health and public safety.

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