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Bellevue College has selected as its new leader, David Rule, a self-admittedly funky college administrator who trained as a symphonic trumpeter and rides a motorcycle.

On those two virtues alone Rule will fit right in with our lively musical arts scene and affinity for alternative modes of transportation.

His educational background is equally as compelling. Rule comes from a higher-education system with a solid reputation just to the south in Oregon. He has been president of the Portland Community College’s Rock Creek campus for five years.

He is credited with strengthening links between his 26,000-student campus and nearby businesses such as Intel, SolarWorld and Columbia Sportswear.

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Rule appears to be a visionary in the vein of Jean Floten, Bellevue College’s longtime president who left last year to head the Washington state branch of Western Governors University. Bellevue sharpened its focus under Floten, shedding “community” from its name and offering a limited number of bachelor’s degrees.

The school is still a gateway to four-year universities. But Bellevue College stepped up its efforts to prepare students for careers by expanding some programs and aligning them with the needs of businesses and industry. The college’s bachelor’s degrees in health-care technology and management, and radiation and imaging sciences are examples.

Under Rule’s leadership, Bellevue College is expected to offer more bachelor’s degree programs and build a branch campus in Issaquah, which is expected eventually to serve about 10,000 students.

At Rock Creek, Rule expanded the school’s programs in health care, including using some of a construction bond to build a facility for a nursing program. He also built closer ties with biotech companies such as Genentech.

These plans are ambitious and doable. Bellevue is a leader of the transformative power of Washington state’s 34-school community and technical college system.

Welcome, President Rule.

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