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Skagit Valley College announces the 2020 SVC Hall of Fame inductees

Skagit Valley College (SVC) is pleased to announce that six people have been named to the SVC Hall of Fame, an award established in 1989 to honor individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Skagit Valley College or honored it by their achievements. Nominees include alumni, community members, former SVC faculty and staff, and public officials. The 2020 inductees are as follows:

Alumni — Legson Kayira *

This December will mark the 60th anniversary of one young man’s extraordinary journey to reach Skagit Valley College after an incredible two-year, 2,500-mile walk across Africa. Thanks to the commitment of George Hodson, Dean of the College at that time, SVC welcomed Legson Kayira, which resulted in worldwide acclaim. After graduating from SVC, Legson went on to earn a political science degree from the University of Washington and a history degree from Cambridge University. Legson’s achievement continues to inspire people around the world.

Community Member — Vi "taqʷšəblu” Hilbert *

Vi "taqʷšəblu” Hilbert, a beloved member of the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, created a cherished passion to preserve the Lushootseed language and culture for future generations. Through her lifetime of encouraging education, artistic expression, and respect, Vi co-founded Lushootseed Research in 1983, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing cross-cultural knowledge, wisdom and relations, as shared and celebrated by the First Peoples of Puget Sound through research, recording, publishing and the presentation of oral traditions and literature. Vi’s legacy lives on through the Lushootseed Language Preservation Project taking place at SVC. *

Faculty — Dr. Ernest Tutt *

Dr. Ernest Tutt’s career as a tenured SVC Communication Studies instructor—and his life—exemplified SVC’s principles of integrity, respect, open and honest communication, collaboration, and compassion. Ernest never wavered in modeling those principles for us. He had the unique ability to facilitate engagement that led to cross-cultural understanding of complex subjects such as race, religion, politics, and social justice. His legacy continues as an inspiration and a role model to students, colleagues, and community members.

Faculty — Gary Knutzen

After serving Skagit Valley College for 52 years, Gary Knutzen is truly an icon. The leadership he provided to the Athletic department was exemplary and the relationships that he developed with thousands of student athletes and their families reflect SVC’s commitment to excellence inside the classroom, on the athletic field, and throughout the community. Many of those he coached and mentored have gone on to be successful coaches and leaders in athletics.

Public Official — Jerry Dodd

Jerry Dodd began his law enforcement career at age 15 when he served as a Bellingham Police Explorer. From that moment on, Jerry’s dedication to serving and protecting the community included many positions during his 40-year career, including Police Chief for the City of Mount Vernon. Jerry’s dedication and leadership have helped shape public service in the community and his commitment continues to inspire future law enforcement professionals who are beginning their careers.

Staff — David Ryberg

David Ryberg is 20 years into his second career as a highly successful financial advisor. Prior to his career in financial services, David held leadership positions in higher education, including 14 years in Student Services at SVC. With strong beliefs in service to community, hard work, servant leadership, and coaching excellence, he also served as the men’s soccer head coach at SVC. With a deep commitment to student excellence, David led the Cardinals to five Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) championships. David and his 1988 team were inducted into the NWAC Hall of Fame.

The 2020 Hall of Fame Induction Banquet will be held Thursday, March 5 in McIntyre Hall, located on Skagit Valley College’s Mount Vernon Campus. A reception will take place at 5:00 pm and the dinner and ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m.  The SVC Hall of Fame is supported by SVC Foundation and community volunteers. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased online at or by calling 360.416-7727. To view the list of past Hall of Fame inductees, visit

* Will be inducted posthumously.

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