Highline Community College in Des Moines has selected Linda Yoshida – nonprofit leader, award-winning author and entrepreneur – its 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award winner for her dedication to philanthropic work.
She will be honored 3 p.m. June 9 during the college’s commencement ceremony at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
“In addition to being a successful business woman and author, she uses her talents to serve her community,” said vice president of Institutional Advancement Lisa Skari, who nominated Yoshida for the award. “Linda has a special place in her heart for Highline, and she has recognized Highline for its part in her success.”
Yoshida discovered her passion for writing while attending Highline and graduated with her Associate of Arts degree with an emphasis in literature and business administration in 1974.
She has won numerous literary awards and was a 2008 finalist for the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest that promotes excellence in the romance genre. Her first novel, “Flaherty’s Crossing,” is being considered for a Hallmark Channel film.
Highline is also significant for Yoshida because she met her future husband, Junki Yoshida, while on the campus. Junki Yoshida was named Highline’s 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award winner.
In the early 1980s, Linda Yoshida helped her husband in the marketing and development of Yoshida’s Gourmet Sauce. The well-known teriyaki-based cooking sauce led to the development of their first company, Yoshida Food Products. Now, the Oregon-based Yoshida Group is a multimillion-dollar conglomerate.
Linda Yoshida has translated her leadership skills from the business world toward making a difference in the community. She recently created the Soulful Giving Foundation, which works toward expanding research, care and treatment to cancer patients and their families.
She has also served as the director of the Yoshida Fine Art Gallery and on numerous nonprofit boards and councils in Oregon.
The Distinguished Alumni Award honors a former Highline student who has made outstanding contributions through community service, noteworthy professional achievement and/or recognized leadership.
Former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, who attended Highline in 1968-69, was the first recipient of the award in 1990. Other past honorees include Ezra Teshome, agent with State Farm Insurance and Time magazine global health hero; Dr. Linda Petter, a local health care advocate; and Deborah King, civility and etiquette expert.
For more information about past honorees, visit www.funds4highline.org.
Highline Community College was founded in 1961 as the first community college in King County. With approximately 18,900 students and 350,000 alumni, it is one of the state’s largest institutions of higher education. The college offers a wide range of academic transfer and professional-technical education programs, with day, evening and weekend classes.