Contact: Wendy Bohlke, Senior Counsel and Assistant Attorney General, (360) 650-2040
BELLINGHAM – Wendy Bohlke, legal counsel for Western Washington University for 30 years, will be retiring from the Office of the Washington State Attorney General, effective July 1.
“For three decades, Wendy Bohlke has provided wise, prudent legal counsel to Western trustees, administrators and many others on campus. Her contributions to the university and to the state of Washington are significant,” said Western President Bruce Shepard. “Wendy is well known for her integrity and commitment to giving back to the community. I thank Wendy for her caring and professional service to the university and wish her the best of good fortune in future endeavors.”
Bohlke, senior counsel and assistant attorney general, serves as legal counsel to Western’s trustees and, through the trustees, President Shepard. She is also responsible for a host of other legal duties on behalf of the university.
She has worked with four Western presidents (and two interim Western presidents), nine WWU provosts, three community college presidents and many trustees, administrators, faculty, staff and students. She has served five Washington state attorney generals – Gorton, Eikenberry, Gregoire, McKenna and Ferguson.
“Every day has offered new challenges and interesting situations,” Bohlke said. “Working with educators and other public servants has been an honor and a privilege. Being part of the best public law office in the country hasn’t hurt either.”
On July 1, 1983, Bohlke was assigned to represent Western, Whatcom Community College and Skagit Valley College out of offices at the University of Washington and Western. Her first day representing Western was spent in Port Angeles at a meeting of the WWU Board of Trustees held at Peninsula College. After nearly a year of commuting, the position was transferred to Bellingham. On May 15, 1984, she and her husband attorney Brian Hansen sailed their 27-foot sailboat to Bellingham, where they and their first son lived aboard for a time in Squalicum Harbor.
Bohlke opened the Bellingham Regional Office for the Office of the Attorney General in September 1984 at WWU, taking on responsibility to also represent DSHS in child dependency matters in Island County. The office grew from Bohlke and her assistant Gloria McDonald to include nine attorneys, 11 staff and a dozen volunteers who worked in the Consumer Resources Center. As section chief until 2006, she supervised the work of the office, which included workers compensation litigation, dependencies in Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan counties, day care and foster care licensing matters, tort cases, child support litigation and Bellingham Technical College.
She has worked on a wide range of legal issues, and has argued cases before the state appellate courts. She received several honors and recognitions, including the Attorney General’s Golden Gavel and Steward of Justice awards.
Bohlke has been active with the Washington and Whatcom County Bar Associations, as well as the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the LAW Fund of Washington, Washington Women’s Lawyers and as a volunteer for Law Advocates for Whatcom County. She is active in a number of civic and community organizations.
After retiring from the Attorney General’s Office, Bohlke said she initially plans to spend time with family and to enjoy her many interests, which include hosting Bellingham Festival of Music musicians, studying Japanese and performing with the Bellingham Ukulele Group ensemble.
The Attorney General’s Office will designate a successor to Bohlke at Western.