Tacoma Community College is honored to recognize Mari Leavitt as the 2019 TCC Distinguished Alumnus.
A Lincoln High School graduate, Leavitt earned her Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree from TCC and was recognized as a TCC Ellen Pinto Outstanding Student of the Year. She went on to earn her B.A. and M. Ed. from Western Washington University and her Ph.D. in Community College Leadership from Oregon State University.
At TCC, Mari Leavitt (then Mari Hyzer) served as Associated Students of Tacoma Community College (ASTCC) President. As a member of student government, she was involved in securing funding for the Building 11 Opgaard Student Center. She prioritized student involvement, encouraging students to participate in ASTCC, vote, volunteer, and contact legislators. She brought legislators to campus to talk to students, organizing a successful tour for local representatives. During her time at TCC Leavitt developed an appreciation for Washington’s community and technical college system that would strongly influence her life’s work.
Leavitt has remained a steadfast community college advocate throughout her professional career, which includes working for nearly twenty-one years in the community college system, including time spent at TCC and Pierce College. Leavitt also worked as Assistant Director of Integrative Prevention & Education/Title IX Administrator at The Evergreen State College. She currently serves as a State Representative for the 28th District, where she continues to advocate for community and technical colleges and students as Vice Chair of the College & Work Force Development Committee.
Leavitt was nominated by a TCC employee who first knew her as the neighbor who encouraged her to go back to school and re-enter the workforce.
“I was a stay at home mom in our community and Mari was a huge encouragement to me when I shared that I wanted to enter back into the workforce and in particular that I wanted to work at TCC,” reads the nomination. “Her love for higher education and her students was infectious and I wanted to be part of that world. She encouraged me to get my master’s degree and showed me that I could achieve that dream while still being a great mom to my children. She still inspires me with her drive and passion for our community.”
Leavitt will be honored at the 10:00 a.m. TCC commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 15, 2019. Commencement will be held on the TCC Tacoma campus in the TCC gymnasium, building 20.