Loras College Vice President of Student Development Art Sunleaf has been selected for induction to Bellevue Community School District “Beyond the Blue” class of 2020. The recognition celebrates graduates who have achieved significant accomplishments in their lives and careers after graduating from the local school.
“Being named a recipient of ‘Beyond the Blue’ means that I have used my education, resources, and learned experiences to live a more meaningful life,” Sunleaf said. “When students at Bellevue High School look up and see my picture hanging on the wall, I hope they will realize that high school is just the beginning of a life of learning and adventure.”
“Beyond the Blue” inductees are Bellevue High School graduates who are honored (through nominations) for their contributions and impact in life after graduation through any of the following areas: Community, state, national or world impact; professional careers; military service; humanitarian contributions; leadership positions and actions; intercollegiate accomplishments; lifetime achievements; and contributions to the school district.
“I was very involved in extracurricular activities while in high school, and continued to stay active and involved in my communities in college and as a working adult. Being involved in clubs, organizations and one’s community makes life richer not only for yourself but for those you work with in the process. None of this involvement was done because I was trying to get recognition for it, although it is nice to receive. I’ve just always valued living a life of service and leadership,” Sunleaf explained.
Sunleaf was surprised to learn of the honor. He was nominated by his sister, who received assistance from his wife, Amy, Loras College President Jim Collins (’84) and Sergio Perez (’04), director of intercultural programming. Additionally, some Loras students wrote letters of support.
The “Beyond the Blue” ceremony is typically held in conjunction with the Bellevue High School graduation but will be scheduled later in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Sunleaf, this recognition is proof that the right support system can lead to success.
“I was a mediocre student and often worked harder at getting out of doing an assignment than just digging in and doing it. If you polled my K-12 teachers, not one of them would’ve ever imagined I’d have earned a doctorate and be working as a Vice President at a college, and yet here I am. Anything is possible when you have the right people who believe in you and cheer you on. I hope that in my 30+ years of being in the collegiate world, working with hundreds of people, I’ve done just that. There is no better feeling than helping someone; the value and joy of paying it forward to make the world a better place for us all is what continues to motivate me to do my best every day,” he said.