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Four people who have made a significant difference supporting the mission of the state’s community and technical college system will be honored Thursday during the spring convention of the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges.

The honorees are:

• Frank Blethen, publisher of The Seattle Times, as partner of the year. Blethen and The Times Co. are being honored for a yearlong education effort, the Greater Good Campaign, to address the effects of deep legislative cuts in higher-education funding. The effort is credited with helping to prevent additional cuts to higher education in the 2012 legislative budget.

• Dani Chang, director of student affairs, leadership and involvement at Green River Community College, for the trustees’ equity and student-success award. Chang has worked to bring issues of underserved students to the forefront. She has encouraged people at the college to think and reflect in different ways, in part by coordinating speakers with diverse viewpoints, such as writers Maya Angelou, Cornel West and Sherman Alexie.

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• James Walton, president of Centralia College, for the trustees’ award for leadership. Walton is being honored for reshaping the college climate, elevating student achievement, launching the college’s first applied bachelor’s-degree program and strengthening college relations with the community.

• Debbie Lisser, of Skagit Valley College, for trustee of the year. Lisser is being hailed for sharing the mission of the college and cultivating relationships and partnerships within the community, including work with local economic-development councils, service organizations, foundations and private industry.

The Trustees Association is composed of all the trustees of the 30 two-year college districts in Washington. It provides support and coordination for trustees in the areas of education, communication and advocacy.

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