Heidi Emerson portrait holding an award
Mar 20, 2019

Heidi Emerson Named FVCC’s 2019 Distinguished Alumna

Flathead Valley Community College honored Heidi Emerson with the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award on March 20 at the FVCC Alumni & Friends Luncheon. The award is given annually to an individual whose career achievements, service to others and passion for FVCC rise above the rest. Emerson’s brother Jesse Mahugh, FVCC’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni winner, presented her with the award.

A 1992 graduate of FVCC, Emerson went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Foreign Languages from Lee University and a Master of Arts in Spanish and Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University. Since 2008, Emerson has taught Spanish classes at Glacier High School, where she also serves as the Development Chair of International Language.

Emerson has organized and led several study-abroad trips for local high school students and has helped coordinate the US Brazil-Connect Program, an international exchange program between FVCC and high schools in Brazil. She is an advocate for the Running Start Program, where high school juniors and seniors can earn free college credits at FVCC. She routinely invites FVCC’s Director of Global Programs to speak with her students about multi-cultural educational opportunities.

Emerson is on the forefront of implementing a new, nationally-recognized method for teaching foreign languages and has introduced the method to other language teachers in the district.

“Heidi never, ever settles for the norm,” Glacier High School teacher Stephanie Hill said in a letter recommending Emerson for the award. “She constantly pushes herself, not because of the accolades but simply because it is what is best for her students.”

For more information on FVCC’s Alumni & Friends program, call Ben Deremiah at the FVCC Foundation at (406)756-3632 or visit