Bellevue College is home to some of the most amazing people in the world. The campus is filled with artists, activists, and academics of all disciplines. While many are interesting people and important to the campus, few are as influential as Dr. Sayumi Irey.
Dr. Irey originally worked in the library, but she quickly worked her way up to become the vice president of the Office of Equity and Plurality. She has helped countless women and people of color fight back against a system that constantly pushes them down. Dr. Irey helped Kim Pollock create the Office of Cultural and Ethnic Studies. She founded the Bellevue College Social Justice Institute, which is an organization that strives to help foster leadership participation and educational equity in disenfranchised professionals here at BC. Through this program Dr. Irey facilitated a more accepting campus that encourages people of color to enter leadership positions. Ever since Dr. Irey joined the BC staff in 1999 she has been a mentor to anyone and everyone who has needed one. Amal Abdlurahman, a member of the BC Social Justice Institute, described Dr. Irey as, “a great mentor, she is a powerful woman of color.” She continued, “I have learned so much from her, she brings a wealth of experience with her leadership skills. She is the kind of woman I want to be.”
Her going away party was locating in a D building lecture room. It was packed wall to wall with her friends and colleagues. There was not a single dry eye in the room. People went up to the front of the room to share their memories of Dr. Irey. The speeches went on for two hours, as one staff member after another went up to share how Dr. Irey had impacted them. At the end, Dr. Irey went up and gave an emotional speech about her experience here at BC and thanked everyone for coming. It seemed like Dr. Irey had managed to make every single life she came in contact with a little better.
Dr. Irey has left a fantastic mark on Bellevue College, but unfortunately her time here has come to an end. Dr. Irey is leaving Bellevue College and will take over as the Vice President of Instruction at South Seattle Community College. “The reason why we are here is because we care about the students, so Bellevue college is going to be fine without me,” said Dr. Irey