A building with a storied past has a new tenant — one with its eyes on the future.
Heritage University has opened its Tri-Cities regional site at 333 W. Canal Drive in downtown Kennewick, on the second floor of a building that used to be home to the Tri-City Herald.
The Toppenish-based university celebrated with a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 15 that drew scores of elected officials and other community leaders.
“All those obstacles that prevent people from succeeding in higher education — our mission is to eliminate them so people can complete their degree and fulfill their dreams,” Andrew Sund, Heritage’s president, told the crowd during the event. “We hope our presence here is one that will allow more people to choose the path (of higher education).”
Heritage has a long history in the Tri-Cities community.
It’s had a presence at Columbia Basin College campus in Pasco for years, offering classes to transfer students completing bachelor’s degrees in education, social work, criminal justice, psychology and accounting. Students also can pursue a master’s degree in teaching.
With the new location in Kennewick, Heritage is expanding its local offerings to freshmen and sophomores and adding a bachelor’s in business administration as an option.
Tri-Cities also will have access to the degree programs offered in Toppenish.
The fall semester starts Monday, Aug. 21.
Yamilca Coria Zaragoza, an incoming freshman, plans to study education or perhaps criminology. She’ll be the first in her family to attend and graduate college, she told the crowd during the grand opening.
Having the university as an option in the Tri-Cities made higher education more accessible to her, she said, noting she’s receiving a full-ride scholarship.
“I’ll be able to study and work in my hometown without having to say goodbye to my family and friends,” she said. “I intend to do my best to make my family and Heritage proud.”
Laurie Williams, executive editor of the Tri-City Herald, spent years working at the West Canal Drive building before the paper moved to its new home in the Southridge area of Kennewick in 2020.
“For 75 years, the Herald has been called, ‘The Voice of the Mid-Columbia,’” she told the crowd, shortly before Coria Zaragoza stepped up to share her excitement for the school year, “and now it’s nice to know that the future voices of the Mid-Columbia will be coming out of here.”
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