“Everyone has baggage”, said Thomas Pritchard, the Vice President of Student Services at Bellevue College, “so don’t let life happen to you.”
Pritchard is a man with a “checkered” academic background. He first attended Shoreline Community College straight out of high school and then was accepted into the Seattle Police Academy. A few years into his police career while on a hunting trip with his best friend, Pritchard was accidentally shot in the face ultimately resulting in loss of light perception in the right eye.
Unable to drive and see through one eye, the Seattle Police Department retired Pritchard at the age of 30, leaving him in search of a new career pathway. With a positive attitude and determination to succeed, he then decided to enroll in Bellevue College, “You have to work hard, you need to show people that you are different.”
At BC, back when the “school was smaller and it was a more innocent time for community colleges,” he served as the Associated Student Government President. After spending two and half years at BC, he continued his education at the University of Washington School of Economics.
After receiving counseling from BC’s very own Sharon Felton in the 80’s, Pritchard decided to yet again continue his education but this time at at the UW School of Law. Not perfectly happy with his new occupation as a lawyer, “It wasn’t fulfilling, being a lawyer was a grind,” Pritchard returned to BC in 1995 to teach. He discovered that his true passion was teaching: “Working with students is magic. [It is amazing] How faculty touch BC students’ lives.”
Pritchard has served as the chair of the Social Science Division, Interim Director of the National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies and Interim Dean of Student Services. Even as the VP of Student Services, Pritchard finds time to teach a class every year.
His advice to all BC students is to, “Work hard, create options, and forge your future. This is about how YOU use the tools to succeed. If you go out and create opportunities, there will be more options for your future.”
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