June Fraser Thistle set to retire after more than 20 years at WWU

June Fraser Thistle will retire Feb. 6 after more than 20 years of service to Western.

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, the Western Washington community will say farewell to June Fraser Thistle as she transitions into retirement.

Who is June you may ask? Anyone who has ever met June will have a “June Story” to tell. We connect and bond over these stories as we cherish the memories that we have with June. So many lives have been impacted by June, whether through her contributions to WWU, Bellingham, or just having the pleasure to meet her.

It is hard to miss June when you are in a room with her, and it does not take long for her to make a lasting impression on you. June has dedicated more than 20 years to WWU, having worked in the Student Business Office, Residence Life, and the Student Health Center.

During her time at Western, June has also volunteered countless hours towards important community efforts. She created the Bellingham Sock Monkey Project that builds and donates handmade sock monkeys to children going into foster care, as well as volunteering her time with Skookum Kids and Bellingham Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services.

June also championed the Western Gap Scholarship which provides financial support to students who may need a little extra to cover their institutional balance after financial aid is dispersed. After 15 years of watching students leave WWU because of balances as small as $300, she established this scholarship to help support student retention. In planning her retirement celebration, June asked for no gifts; her only wish is that anyone who wants to honor her to please give back to the community by donating to the Western Gap Scholarship.

June’s accolades include being awarded the Outstanding Classified Staff of the Year in 2011 and being nominated on two other occasions. She has also been awarded the Phillip E. Sharpe Community Engagement Award. Many of us strive to make positive change and leave the people and our community in a better place than we found it, an accomplishment that June has mastered. The Western community and the lives of many are better due to June’s lasting impact.

For so many students, June created a space of belonging that they needed when coming to college. She inspires us to make positive change, to live up to the aspirational values of our institution and the larger community. Whether you know June personally or not, it is likely you have been impacted by her work. We are grateful for everything that June has done. It is impossible to capture how much June means to this community and to fully share the impact that she has had on the lives of so many.

On behalf of the WWU community, we thank you and we wish you all the best in retirement.

To donate to the Western Gap Scholarship please visit the following link and search for the “Western Gap Scholarship” at https://alumniq.wwu.edu/giving/make-a-gift.

“This scholarship was established by June Fraser Thistle and her colleagues and friends because unfortunately they had seen too many students disappear from WWU in the middle of the night. They are a silent group, these students-financial issues have a way of creating silence. They are not typically the students who cause us any worry, they never rise to the surface, they never speak out in protest, they are too busy working several jobs and juggling classes and wishing they could participate in a club or two.”