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Pat Hakala helps a student in class

2022 Emeritus Faculty Award | Patricia Hakala

Yakima Valley College honored Patricia Hakala with the 2022 Emeritus Faculty Award. First started in 1981, this award recognizes retired and retiring faculty who served at least 10 years of full-time employment at the college.

Hakala served as a YVC faculty member for more than 45 years and was known for advancing the mission and goals of YVC’s Dental Hygiene program. In addition to instruction, she was especially dedicated to excellence in academic advising and student success — providing leadership as the Dental Hygiene Director from 1994 to 2009.

During her tenure, Hakala increased diversity in dental hygiene by crafting an admissions and selection process that achieved the goals of diversity, equity and inclusion. A tireless advocate for students, she was known to work hours past the requirements, including summers. In 1989, she was honored with the Robert M. Leadon Excellence in Teaching by the YVC Foundation.

“I am most honored to have been selected as Faculty Emeritus for Yakima Valley College, and am proud to have been part of the college for many years,” Hakala said. “I have seen and experienced many improvements and expansions of the college facilities, which include the dental hygiene clinic facility. The dental hygiene program has made considerable progress to include a 4-year baccalaureate degree, advanced curriculum and state-of-the-art equipment. I very much appreciate having been part of the excellent Yakima Valley College.”

She retired in 2009 and continued serving as an adjunct instructor and a volunteer at YVC until 2019. Her record of scholarship and service reflects her dedication to her profession, students and the community.

A committee overseen by the President’s Office makes the selection of the Emeritus Faculty from nominations submitted by students, faculty, staff and community members. In additional to be honored during the annual commencement ceremony, the emeritus rank provides use of the library and participation in academic, social and other functions.