YAKIMA - The Yakima Valley Community College Alumni Association is honoring Dave Lester as this year's Distinguished Alumnus.
Lester is a reporter at the Yakima Herald-Republic, covering topics that include local government, agriculture, business and criminal justice.
He graduated from Sunnyside High School and in 1965 enrolled at YVCC.
Commuting daily from Sunnyside, for the first year and later moving to Yakima he had been attending YVCC's Yakima Campus for two years when he received his draft notice.
Lester was inducted into the United States Army in 1968 and spent nearly the next two years deployed in Germany during the Vietnam War.
Returning to Yakima, he again enrolled at YVCC, and earned an associate in arts degree in communication.
He then transferred to WSU and graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications.
"I simply would not be where I am without YVCC. Even in the late 1960s and early 1970s when tuition costs were much lower, I lacked the financial capability to attend a four-year institution," said Lester.
In September 1976 he began working at the Yakima Herald-Republic's Sunnyside office, and later transferred to Yakima.
"David Lester is one of the finest reporters I've ever had the privilege to work with," stated Bob Crider, Yakima Herald-Republic editor. "Elected and appointed officials rely on Dave for his straightforward and accurate reporting. Dave is a consummate professional whom our readers have trusted for more than 35 years," he concluded.
Lester has received numerous awards throughout his career, including several C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards. Named after the newspaper's longtime publisher, the awards are sponsored by the Seattle Times and honor distinguished reporting.
Lester was honored most recently with a first-place award in 2006. He also received two first-place awards in 2000 and a second-place award in 1987.
In addition, he has received several awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. Lester received individual first-place awards in 2000 and 1998.
He also received awards for his collaborative work with other reporters resulting in a third-place award in 2008 and a first-place award in 2003.
In 2011 Lester was honored by the Yakima Herald-Republic as the Employee of the Year.
Lester will receive his award during YVCC's 83rd commencement ceremony on June 7 at 7 p.m. on Parker Field on the YVCC Yakima campus.