Highline College President Jack Bermingham announces retirement

In a letter to the college’s Board of Trustees, Dr. Jack Bermingham announced his retirement as president of Highline College, effective next week.

The board accepted the letter Thursday during a special meeting held on campus.

For the past several months, Bermingham, 68, has been on leave from the college to recuperate from open-heart surgery, which he underwent in December 2016, according to a press release from the college.

“My recovery has taken longer than anticipated,” Bermingham said Thursday in an email to campus faculty. “Returning to my responsibilities as president of the college would necessarily be gradual, and I am already nearing the end of my career. Under these circumstances and after a great deal of reflection, I am announcing my retirement from Highline College.”

Dr. Jeff Wagnitz, Highline’s vice president for academic affairs, has been acting in Bermingham’s absence and will continue as acting president, the press release said.

Bermingham was only the sixth president in the college’s 55-year history.

He came to Highline in 1994 as academic vice president, a position he would hold until being appointed president in 2006.

His academic career began in 1979 when he received his Ph.D. in history from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He went on to a faculty appointment at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. He came to Washington as a faculty member at Pacific Lutheran University, where he earned tenure and later became dean of social sciences.

Since taking over leadership at Highline, Bermingham has strengthened collaborations with business, industry, K–12 and baccalaureate institutions as well as community-based organizations, resulting in successful partnerships and expanded economic development efforts, according to the college.

He served on several regional and national boards and committees, where he was active in advancing international initiatives and education, believing in the importance of preparing students to live in a multicultural world and a global economy, the press release said.

The college will provide details on opportunities for celebrating Bermingham’s achievements soon.

Jack Birmingham

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