Pritchard steps down as VP of Student Services

Over the last six and a half years, Tom Pritchard has worked as the Vice President of Student Services. However, with mixed emotions, he resigned from his post on Dec. 31 2012.

Pritchard is taking the entire winter off to get major back surgery which will put him out of commission until the spring, when he is planning on returning to his “first love,” teaching.  Pritchard was unavailable to comment in regards to the resignation, and it isn’t clear which subject he plans to return to. An email that was sent to faculty from Pritchard describes his pain: “The additional pain in my back has made it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to manage my eye and head pains.”

The second reason for the resignation is what Pritchard mentioned as “change.”  Pritchard believes that there is a new beginning at the college.  With a new president offering a different vision for the college, Student Services is preparing a new strategic plan. The new Enterprise Resource Planning platform is also close to coming together. According to Pritchard’s resignation email, “There are fresh challenges facing higher education and the role student services will have in the future. New leadership will help create a cohesive team that will rise to these new challenges.” As Pritchard leaves, he is very confident in the abilities of student services. “I am very confident that the leadership of Student Services and Bellevue College will rise to the future challenges and continue to strengthen the college’s reputation as being one of the best in the nation.”

Pritchard, however, will be sorely missed by BC’s students. Associate Director of Student Programs Nora Lance called Pritchard a “great supporter of student programs” and considered him a great ally for Student Programs. “He was a hands-on person, very well liked by students,” said Lance. “He put students first. I think every student will agree with me that they knew it was always students first with him.”

Kumbi Ajiboye, the previous president of the African Student Association, said, “Tom was awesome. He took personal interest in everybody, which is not that common for vice presidents of schools, since he had such an important job. We were a small club and it felt very nice that he would come support us.”

A campus wide email from Dr. David Rule, our new President, announced that Dr. Ata Karim has accepted the position as Interim Vice President of Student Services as of Jan. 1. Rule’s email was upbeat and positive concerning Dr. Karim and why he was the perfect choice.  “Ata’s experiences, here at Bellevue College and beyond, combined with a passion for helping us take an already excellent Student Services area into the future, made him the ideal individual.”  Rule also states that he’s truly looking forward to working with Karim individually and having him become part of the President’s staff team.

While Student Services is excited to be adopt Karim as its new Vice President, Pritchard’s retirement will still be mourned. “He’s a rare person,” said Ajiboye. “I think the school will be missing a presence without him here.”