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Founder of Edmonds CC's horticulture program to retire after 40 years

Edmonds College instructor Walt Bubelis will retire after 40 years of service. Bubelis, 68, of Seattle began teaching at the college in 1967 as the college’s first horticulture instructor. During his tenure, he taught courses, advised students, hired new faculty, led the department, and created new programs and classes. A reception in Bubelis’ honor will be held 4-7 p.m. on Fri., June 4, in the lobby of Brier Hall. More than 100 horticulture alumni plan to attend.

Alumnus John Christianson, owner of Christianson’s Nursery and Greenhouse in Mount Vernon for 20 years, will speak at the reception. Christianson enrolled at Edmonds College in 1979 after Bubelis gave a presentation to his horticulture class at Nathan Hale High School. He went on to earn a Nursery Management degree.

“(Walt) was the inspiration for me to enter the program and taught all the core classes that were key to being a horticulture professional,” Christianson said. “Those classes were vital to my professional success. It was fortuitous that I met Walt Bubelis. He was supportive of me throughout the program.”

Under Bubelis’ leadership, Edmonds College’s horticulture program has earned the respect of professionals in the industry throughout the Pacific Northwest. Graduates of the college’s program have gone on to develop award-winning businesses and become leaders in the field. Alumni have also served as leaders of major horticulture professional organizations in the area.

Among his accomplishments, Bubelis was instrumental in securing and maintaining the quality greenhouse on campus to enhance horticulture classes. The greenhouse serves as a science lab and produces plants for the college grounds and community plant sales. Bubelis received the Echelbarger-Sherman Excellence in Teaching award in 2002-2003 from the Edmonds College Foundation.

Well-known as an expert in his field, Bubelis has published numerous articles in horticulture journals. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Wabash College in Indiana in 1964 and his Master’s Degree in Botany in 1968 from the University of Washington.

In retirement, Bubelis has plans to remodel his house and garden and travel to Greece and Turkey this fall with Dona, his wife of 44 years.

“I do want to take various classes in painting and woodworking, attend more cultural events, read, hike, cook — and even slip back to Edmonds College to teach some short classes once in awhile,” Bubelis said.

In May, the Edmonds College Board of Trustees formally recognized Bubelis for his service and strong contribution to the academic excellence of the college.

A Horticulture scholarship will be established in Bubelis’ name through the Edmonds College Foundation. To contribute, call 425.640.1274 or email foundation@edmonds.edu.

To learn more about the horticulture program, call 425.640.1739, email horticulture@edmonds.edu, or go to www.edmonds.edu/hort.


Edmonds College’s Horticulture program:

• was established in 1967;

• employs three full-time instructors and 15 part-time instructors;

• offers more than 70 courses throughout the year in day, evening, and online formats, incorporating guest lectures and hands-on field experience;

• awards two-year degrees in Landscape Installation, Landscape Maintenance, Nursery Specialization, Landscape Design, Restoration Horticulture and one-year certificates in Ornamental Horticulture and Nursery Crop Growing;

• places more than 90 percent of its graduates in the field; and

• serves more than 300 students, ages 17 to 68, with an average age of 41

Find out more

Horticulture at Edmonds College