Noted Seattle lawyer starts scholarship to help Native American and Latinx students at Heritage University pursue law degrees


Noted Seattle lawyer starts scholarship to help Native American and Latinx students at Heritage University pursue law degrees.

Toppenish, Wash. – Arthur Dean Swanson, a Seattle-based lawyer, well respected in the state of Washington and throughout the United States, recently started a scholarship program at Heritage University to help Native American and Latinx students who plan to earn a law degree after graduation.

In the summer of 2022, a partnership between Washington’s three law schools, Seattle University School of Law, University of Washington School of Law, and Gonzaga University School of Law, and Heritage provided a 13-week course designed to make a law degree more accessible to Native American and Latinx students in central Washington. Titled the “Law School Admission Council Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars Program,” or LSAC PLUS Program and funded by the Law School Admission Council, it prepares students for the rigors of law school and a legal career. Mr. Swanson read about the LSAC PLUS Program in The Seattle Times and was inspired to start the scholarship with a $100,000 gift to Heritage. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a rising senior who plans to pursue a Juris Doctorate after graduation.

Mr. Swanson passed away in January, and now, his family is honoring his wishes by announcing the Arthur D. Swanson Scholarship at Heritage University. “When Arthur and I first started discussing how he could best support students, he related to me stories of his young life and law school experiences,” said David Wise, Heritage University VP of External Relations. “Those, coupled with his travels as a young man across several Indian reservations, convinced him of the nearly insurmountable odds students living on reservations have of earning a law degree. Students with very little frame of reference for the rigors of law school, let alone the financial resources to begin even exploring the possibility,” said Wise. “His resolve to shorten those odds resulted in the formation of this scholarship. He was so passionate about giving students the opportunity to become lawyers. We had plans for him to guest lecture on campus this coming summer. His passing is a crushing loss for all of us.”

Swanson was born April 19, 1934, in Onida, South Dakota, and his family moved to Long Beach, Washington. Art and his brother Don attended Valley High School in Menlo in Pacific County, Washington. Swanson graduated from Washington State University in 1956 after which he joined the United States Army. In 1963, he graduated from the University of Washington School of Law. He later served as a deputy prosecuting attorney in the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office and as a Judge Pro-Tem in both Superior and District courts before opening his own practice. He was a past president for the Washington State Association for Justice, the Washington Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the Damage Attorneys Roundtable.

During his distinguished career, Swanson was a member of The American College of Trial Lawyers and has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America since 1991. He has been named a Washington Super Lawyer every year since 2003 and by Seattle Metropolitan magazine as one of Seattle’s Best Lawyers.

Mr. Swanson passed away on January 29, 2023, before the launch of the scholarship in his name. The Arthur D. Swanson Scholarship at Heritage University is open to additional contributions by visiting, or by making a gift to the Office of Advancement at Heritage University, 3240 Fort Road, Toppenish, WA, 98948. The Arthur D. Swanson Scholarship will be awarded annually to Native American and/or Latinx senior-level students at the University who intend to pursue a law degree after graduation.

For more information, contact David Wise at or (414) 788-0686.

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Heritage University to host Career Fair on April 13, 2023


Heritage University to host Career Fair on April 13, 2023

Toppenish, Wash. – Yakima Valley job seekers will be able to connect with employers during the Heritage University Career Fair 2023 on Thursday, April 13, 2023. The Career Fair is free and open to the public.

Career Fair 2023 is a collaboration between Worksource Yakima and Heritage University. Representatives from 25 companies will be available to share career opportunities their firms have to offer. They will be recruiting for entry level and professional positions. The event will also help employers learn more about opportunities to host interns and work with academic programs at Heritage.

Organizations attending Career Fair 2023 include:

AgWest Farm Credit
Astria Health
Catholic Charities
Community Health of Central WA
Comprehensive Healthcare
DSHS – Developmental Disabilities Administration Community Residential Support
Inspire Development Centers
Kent School District
Multicare Yakima Memorial
People For People
Prestige Care
Tree Top
Toppenish School District
Triumph Treatment Services
Wapato Police Department
Wapato School District
Washington State Patrol
Yakima Chief Hops
Yakima County Department of Corrections
Yakima Neighborhood Health Services
Yakima Police Department
Yakima School District
Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic

Attendees can also learn more about graduate-level programs offered by other institutions, including Eastern Washington University, University of Washington, and Seattle University among others.

The Student Affairs department at Heritage is sponsoring a free professional headshot booth, where all attendees can receive an instant professional photo.

Career Fair 2023 will be held Thursday, April 13, 2023, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Smith Family Hall, which is in the Arts and Science Center on Heritage University’s main campus in Toppenish. For more information, contact Ariana Villafan, TRIO Director/Career Fair Coordinator at (509) 865-8518 or

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Heritage University to open new Tri-Cities location in Kennewick, Wash.


Heritage University to open new Tri-Cities location in Kennewick, Wash.

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University President Andrew Sund, Ph.D., has announced that the university will open a new location in downtown Kennewick, Wash. and begin offering freshman classes to students. The new site will admit its first freshman cohort at the new location for the fall 2023 academic year. The fall semester begins on August 21, 2023.

For the past twenty years, Heritage University has operated a regional site in the Tri-Cities on the Columbia Basin College campus in Pasco, Wash. This site offers transfer students an opportunity to complete their bachelor’s degrees in education, social work, criminal justice, psychology, and accounting. The new location in Kennewick will expand instruction in those fields to also serve freshmen and sophomore students. Additionally, the university will add a bachelor’s degree in business administration at the new location. Students attending Heritage University Tri-Cities will also have access to the nearly 40-degree programs offered by the university, including the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Biology, Computer Sciences, Environmental Sciences, and Mathematics taught at its campus in Toppenish, Wash. “Students will have the opportunity to transfer seamlessly between the Tri-Cities and Toppenish, and some classes may be offered in a hybrid format where classes are delivered both in-class and online between both locations. The linkage between Toppenish and Tri-Cities will present a tremendous range of possibilities for students to study in their field of interest,” said Dr. Sund.

President Sund says the university’s decision to offer instruction to incoming first-year students in the Tri-Cities is a natural extension of the institution’s mission to make college accessible to anyone with the talent and drive to pursue a degree regardless of economics, culture, or geography. “We see this expansion in the Tri-Cities as a chance to enhance our collaboration with other higher education institutions, which has been a long-standing tradition in higher education. Our partnership with Columbia Basin College has been mutually beneficial for 20 years and will continue. I believe that our relationship will only get stronger over time,” said Dr. Sund. “We can work together to serve the people in the Tri-Cities who come from many backgrounds. Providing more choices for students is always better in higher education. Our goal is to increase the total number of students who graduate from college. Together we can increase the total college-going student population to benefit the entire community.”

Martin Valadez, the director of Heritage University’s regional site in the Tri-Cities, said this expansion will make it easier for students to achieve their dreams of pursuing a college degree. “Many Tri-Cities students are raising their families as they work several jobs, and we know they will benefit from having this additional opportunity to earn a four-year degree close to home.”

The new Heritage University Tri-Cities site is headquartered at the former Tri-City Herald building at 333 W. Canal Drive in Kennewick. Heritage will occupy parts of the building’s second floor with classrooms, offices, a reception lobby, study spaces and a break area. Administrators chose this site for its central location with easy access from all points in the Tri-Cities and proximity to services in downtown Kennewick. Heritage University Interim Provost Melissa Hill, Ph.D., said. “We are excited to play a larger role in the landscape of higher education in the Tri-Cities and be a part of revitalizing downtown Kennewick.”

For more information, contact Martin Valadez at or (509) 430-1081 or Davidson Mance at or (509) 969-6084.

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Heritage University to invest $250,000 in scholarships to prepare the next generation of K-12 principals in the Yakima Valley



Heritage University to invest $250,000 in scholarships to prepare the next generation of K-12 principals in the Yakima Valley

Toppenish, WA – Heritage University is investing $250,000 in the next generation of experienced educators who aspire to leadership roles in K-12 school systems. The “Heritage University Educational Leaders Scholarship” will provide $5,000 to qualified educators who enroll in the university’s Principal Certification Program.

The demand for qualified school administrators has never been higher. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, many principals in the United States are expected to retire in the coming years, leaving a significant gap in leadership positions. Ken Bergevin, Ed.D., the Chair of Educational Administration at Heritage University, said the university wants to help school districts hire the professionals needed to lead their schools. “We know that demand for qualified principals in small towns is acute,” said Dr. Bergevin. “Through Heritage University, these educators can become certified as a principal in as few as ten months with a program designed to meet their career goals.”

Bergevin said Heritage’s innovative, blended delivery model ensures that candidates receive the benefit of a live cohort model with minimal travel required. “The only way to build and practice critical collaborative relationships is to learn from a diverse statewide cohort,” said Bergevin. “Our instructors include superintendents, assistant superintendents, and principals with years of experience in the field. Our program is designed to provide ongoing, individualized support for students and their mentors.”

“Our Principal Certification Program provides participants with the necessary knowledge, skills, and practical experience to become successful school leaders,” said Heritage University President Andrew Sund, Ph.D. “And with our investment in scholarship support, we are committed to ensuring that the program is accessible to all who want to pursue this path.”

The $250,000 scholarship investment from Heritage University will be distributed over the next several years to support students who are pursuing a Principal Certification. Educators admitted into the Heritage program will automatically receive the scholarship. “While open to all educational leaders, this scholarship opportunity represents the Heritage University mission to support leaders who come from our diverse communities,” said Bergevin.

Participants who successfully complete the program will be eligible for Washington State Principal Certification. Applications for the Principal Certification Program are now being accepted. Interested candidates can learn more about the program and apply online by visiting the Heritage University website or by contacting the College of Education at (509) 865-8650. This new cohort will begin their studies in August 2023.

For more information, contact Ken Bergevin at (661) 472-5819 or or Davidson Mance at (509) 969-6084 or

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Heritage University receives $350,000 grant award from Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity


Heritage University receives $350,000 grant award from Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University today announced it is among 71 awardees that received a grant from Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity, which mobilizes financial resources for organizations focused on non-clinical interventions that affect a person’s health. Commonly known as the social determinants of health, these factors include an individual’s physical, social, cultural, and economic environment.

The grants, which total $22.7 million and will be disbursed over two years, were awarded with funding from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the AbbVie Foundation, and Eli Lilly and Co. to support underserved communities across the United States.

Heritage University received $350,000 from the Fund for Health Equity for its work to increase the number of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color) students who achieve a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in the Yakima Valley.

“We are pleased to bolster the indispensable work of Heritage University and other grassroots organizations striving to reduce disparities and increase equity in vulnerable populations across the United States,” said Dr. Byron Scott, MD, MBA, Co-Chair of the Fund for Health Equity and Board Director of Direct Relief and Chair of its Medical Advisory Council. “It is a privilege to promote and support these organizations that are deeply connected to the communities they serve, know best what their patients and communities need, and the most effective means of providing it.”

Andrew Sund, Ph.D., President of Heritage University, expressed gratitude to Direct Relief for the funds to ensure Heritage’s efforts to contribute to a diversified nursing workforce. “A nursing workforce that closely represents the diverse makeup of the community it serves is able to provide culturally-sensitive healthcare that promotes recovery from trauma or illness to its patients,” said Dr. Sund.

The organizations in the latest round of funding were chosen for their efforts to enhance workforce diversification, reduce health disparities, and expand innovative models of care. A full list of winners can be found here.

The awardees were selected by the Fund for Health Equity’s Advisory Council, which includes the following members:

Co-Chair Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, 18th U.S. Surgeon General of the United States, Founder Bayou Clinic, Inc.

Co-Chair Byron Scott, MD, MBA, Board Director of Direct Relief and Chair of its Medical Advisory Council

Martha Dawson, DNP, MSN, RN, FACHE, President and CEO President of the National Black Nurses Association, Associate Professor the University of Alabama at Birmingham

Jane Delgado, Ph.D., MS, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health

Gail Small, JD, Head Chief Woman, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe

Since the start of the Fund in 2021, more than $42.5 million has been provided to support 149 organizations across the U.S.

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Heritage University dedicates new Early Learning Center

The new Heritage University Early Learning Center, December 16, 2022


Heritage University dedicates new Early Learning Center

Toppenish, Wash. – On Friday, December 16, 2022, Heritage University held a building dedication for the new Heritage University Early Learning Center (ELC) at its Toppenish campus. Around 50 people attended the dedication for the new $4.1 million state-of-the-art facility. Arlen Washines, deputy director of the Yakama Nation Department of Human Services and HU board member and Dr. Kathleen Ross, founding president of Heritage University, each offered a blessing of the building.

Construction began in earnest on the new five-classroom ELC in March of this year by Chervenell Construction, and the work was largely completed by November. Graham Baba Architects of Seattle designed the new facility. While Graham Baba co-founder and co-owner Brett Baba is now based in western Washington, he enjoys working on projects in the Yakima Valley, the region he grew up in. “Over the course of my 44 years as an architect, I can’t think of a better feel-good project to be involved with than Heritage University’s Early Learning Center. The ELC provides a way for student-parents who may not otherwise be able to attend Heritage University, to do so. It continues the legacy of the Plath family (through the Manzana Foundation) to give a boost to kids when they are at an age that is so critical; an age Cliff Plath stated to be ‘the most formative’”, said Baba. “Heritage University is known for giving first-generation college students a path to success, and the Manzana Foundation is committed to providing a jump-start for kids at the most opportune time. The teaming of these two institutions is a phenomenal opportunity. We are humbled and honored to be a part of it.”

The majority of funding for the new ELC was provided by the Manzana Foundation and the Plath Family Charitable Trust. The ELC project also received a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce.

The ELC is scheduled to open in January and will serve children between the ages of 12 months and kindergarten, providing pre-kindergarten learning known to be invaluable in later years of scholastic achievement. This new facility will allow the ELC to increase its licensed enrollment from 74 to 90 students. To watch a time-lapse video of the construction, please visit this link on the Heritage University website:

For more information contact Claudette Lindquist at (509) 865-0723 or or Davidson Mance at (509) 969-6084 or

Heritage University VP of Advancement and Marketing David Wise, ELC Office Supervisor Sandra Ruiz and ELC preschooler Anahi at the new ELC dedication ceremony December 16, 2022

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Heritage University honors Native American tribal elders as highlight of Native American Heritage Month celebrations


Heritage University honors Native American tribal elders as highlight of Native American Heritage Month celebrations

Toppenish, Wash. – November is Native American Heritage Month, and Heritage University is celebrating by honoring four Native American elders for their lifetime contributions to the Yakama people and their community. This year’s recipients are Gil Calac, Carrie Schuster, Ted Strong and Tallulah Pinkham.

Chimshowa Gil Calac is a Paiute from Susanville Indian Rancheria in California. As a Bronze Star decorated Vietnam war veteran, he is passionate about helping those whose voices are often unheard. He spent two years working as a case manager for Yakama Nation Behavioral Health Services before moving to Fort Simcoe Job Corp to help at-risk youth. After he retired, Gil turned his attention to advocating for veterans in hospice care. He is a member of the Yakama Warriors, where he led the Washington state effort for establishing March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, and is a member of the Yakama Nation Tribal Advisory Board. Gil maintains a deep reverence for traditional values, which guides him in everything that he does.

Aiiyuttonmii Carrie Chapman Schuster is the matriarch of the Snake River Palouse Tribe and is a Heritage University alumna. She grew up learning tribal history and culture from family matriarchs on The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. She has served as a judge in the Yakama Nation’s courts, as the original news director for the Yakama Nation Review, as an educator working with at-risk middle school kids and preschool children, and as a cultural ambassador connecting the Yakama people with tribal communities globally. At each step, she works to prepare those she serves to find their place in their community, to be rightful stewards over the land and people, and to respect the generational teachings of those who came before.

Taninsh Ted Strong is a 4/4 enrolled Yakama whose life work has helped tribes throughout the United States and indigenous people worldwide strengthen their sovereignty. His lifelong command from elders was, “Fill your heart with compassion and your mind with knowledge.”  In the early 1970s he designed the first computer network linking tribes in Montana, North and South Dakota and Wyoming. Immediately following, he led the restructuring of the Yakama Nation to a centralized administration and financial management system, allowing the tribe to take control of practices formerly run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He advocated and fought for treaty rights, salmon recovery, water rights and environmental management at the state and national levels while serving as the executive director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. President Clinton appointed Taninsh to the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, where he advocated for social equity, economic vitality, and environmental justice. He counts being Chief Judge for the Yakama Nation as the most challenging yet most rewarding experience of his career.

Cawmit Tallulah Pinkham is a full-blooded, enrolled Yakama who has a heart for helping those who struggle with mental illness, addiction and abuse. She spent 23 years advocating for patients at Indian Health Services, where she met with individuals and families to get to know them on a human level so she could help connect them with the programs and services they needed. She encouraged patients to learn the traditional practices of their culture and family as a way to find connection and purpose in their lives. When she saw the generational destruction that comes from domestic violence and child abuse, she worked behind the scenes through Native Women’s Association to support the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The four elders are being recognized during the eighth annual Honoring Our Elders ceremony at Heritage University on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. in Smith Family Hall. This event is by invitation only. Also, their stories are featured in a series of full-page ads, each dedicated to a specific elder, that are running in the Yakama Nation Review throughout November.  Framed copies of these ads are being added to the permanent display of honorees at the university in the Violet Lumley Rau Building.

Heritage is holding many other events in November in observance of Native American Heritage Month as designated by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. These include:

November 2, 2022, 8:30 a.m. – Flag-raising Ceremony

Heritage University will raise the flags of the Yakama Nation, the state of Washington and the United States during a ceremony featuring the Yakama Warriors. The ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will be held at the main campus entrance.

November 30, 2022, All Day – Dr. Virginia Beavert (Tuxámshish) Day at Heritage University

Heritage University recognizes and honors the esteemed Yakama Nation elder and language teacher on her birthday.

Other Native American Heritage Month events at Heritage will include:

Wapaas Basket Weaving (November 8, 14 & 15)
Roc Your Mocs Week (November 13-19)
Frybread Fundraiser (November 21)
Movie Night (November 21)
Yoga Time (November 28 & 29)
De-stress Workshop (November 30)

For more information on these events, contact Maxine Janis at (509) 865-0737 or or Julia Polk at (509) 865-8610 or

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Heritage University to hold El Grito de Independencia celebration


Heritage University to hold El Grito de Independencia celebration

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University will host an El Grito de Independencia celebration on Friday, September 16, 2022 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at its Toppenish campus in recognition of Mexican Independence Day. El Grito de Independencia commemorates the “Cry of Dolores,” a historical event in Mexico that set off the Mexican war of Independence from Spain and will be re-enacted at 7:30 p.m.

The festival will be hosted Manny DJ and feature performances by Group Proyecto 2020 and Raises de Mi Pueblo Folklorico Group. There will be fun for the entire family, including loteria (games), kid crafts, food and beverages, traditional dancers, live music and a resource fair. The El Grito will be performed by the Titular Consul of the Mexican Consulate in Seattle Hector Ivan Goday Priske. The event is free and open to the public.

El Grito de Independencia will have vendor opportunities. For those interested in registering as a vendor, contact Martin Valadez at For more information, contact Davidson Mance at

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Heritage University to hold Eagle Giving Day and 40th Homecoming Events


Heritage University to commemorate 40th anniversary with
Eagle Giving Day and Homecoming Event

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University is marking its 40th year of providing higher education opportunities to Yakima Valley residents with two events. The first is Eagle Giving Day, a day set aside to raise funds for student scholarships. The second is Homecoming 2022, an event to reunite alumni, faculty and staff past and present and current students.

Eagle Giving Day is scheduled for Friday, September 9, 2022. Friends and alumni are encouraged to help Heritage University continue its mission of making a college education accessible to anyone with the talent and drive to pursue a degree. “As we look back at our 40-year history, one thing is clear. It is our generous donors who have made it possible for more than 10,000 students to graduate and go on to meaningful careers,” said Heritage University president Andrew Sund, Ph.D. “Gifts received on ‘Eagle Giving Day’ will ensure that future generations of Eagles have the same level of support by providing funding for scholarships, programs, internships, technology upgrades and more.”

Heritage University alumni have an exceptional reason to give back to their alma mater on Eagle Giving Day. An anonymous alumni donor has agreed to match every $40 gift from alumni up to the first $5,000, which means that $40 gift instantly becomes $80 for student scholarships. Their generosity will help make it possible for students to achieve their dreams like they did. HU alumna Adriana Villafan, who graduated in 2015 with her B.A. degree in business administration with a concentration in Human Resources, and is now the director of the TRIO program at Heritage. Villafan said she plans to participate in Eagle Giving Day. “Scholarships and mentoring are part of the support I received when I was a student at Heritage,” Villafan said. “Heritage helped me get to where I am today, and now that I am in a position to give back, ‘Eagle Giving Day’ is the perfect opportunity for me and other alumni to return the favor.”  

The giving doesn’t need to wait until Eagle Giving Day. Each gift received before September 9 will count towards the day’s final total. For more information on Eagle Giving Day and to make a gift online, please visit

Homecoming 2022 will be held on the Heritage University campus on September 9 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. It is open to Heritage alumni and current students as well as current and former faculty and staff and friends of the university. People are encouraged to RSVP at

For more information, please contact Davidson Mance, media relations coordinator at (509) 969-6084 or

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Eagle Giving Day badge over campus image

Pacific Power Foundation gives $5,000 grant to Heritage University for student scholarships


Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University is pleased to announce it has once again been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Pacific Power Foundation. This is the fourth year in a row Heritage has received the grant, which will be used to fund scholarships for students pursuing degrees in the health sciences and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.

David Wise, VP of Advancement and Marketing for Heritage, was presented with a grant check from John Hodkinson, area distribution manager for Pacific Power on July 13, 2022. “I am grateful for Pacific Power Foundation’s continued support of Heritage University’s mission of providing educational opportunities for students of the Yakima Valley. This generous grant will help the students who have the drive but not the financial means to obtain the education that prepares them for exciting and rewarding careers in health sciences and STEM, two of the fastest-growing industries today,” said Wise.

Pacific Power Regional Business Manager Toni Petty said Pacific Power Foundation supports Heritage University’s mission of making a college education accessible. “We’ve seen how communities across the nation strive to bolster their ranks of technology and healthcare workers. We are happy to support Heritage and its work to prepare students to thrive in these important fields,” said Petty.

For more information, contact Davidson Mance at (509) 865-0731 or

About the Pacific Power Foundation

The Pacific Power Foundation is part of the PacifiCorp Foundation, one of the largest utility-endowed foundations in the United States. The foundation was created in 1988 by PacifiCorp, an electric utility serving 2 million customers in six Western states as Pacific Power (Oregon, Washington, and California) and Rocky Mountain Power (Utah, Wyoming and Idaho). The foundation’s mission, through charitable investments, is to support the growth and vitality of the communities served by Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power. For more information, visit

Heritage University Vice President of Advancement David Wise accepts a check from Pacific Power Area Distribution Manager John Hodkinson at the Heritage University campus in Toppenish, Wash.

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