Western Washington University invites the community to join the virtual celebration of graduates on Saturday, June 12, in three online ceremonies that feature messages of congratulations from families, faculty, Gov. Jay Inslee and students themselves.
About 1900 undergraduates, 120 master’s candidates and five doctoral candidates will graduate Saturday. Another 700 winter graduates will be honored, along with 350 summer graduates. Students expected to graduate in August have the option of celebrating on Saturday or waiting for December’s commencement celebration.
The ceremonies also mark an important milestone for Western with the graduation of the university’s first doctoral candidates: Five students will receive a Clinical Doctorate of Audiology on Saturday.
Western’s first cohort in the Clinical Doctorate in Audiology, Au.D., degree program began in fall 2017 and have since completed four years of coursework, clinical experience and a year-long externship. The degree prepares graduates to begin careers in audiology or continue with advanced study in a Ph.D. program.
Saturday’s three ceremonies will be viewed online at commencement.wwu.edu. Ceremony One, at 9 a.m. Pacific time, includes students from the College of Business and Economics, Huxley College of the Environment, and the Graduate School. Ceremony Two, at 11 a.m., honors graduates of the College of Fine and Performing Arts, the College of Sciences and Engineering, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, University Interdisciplinary Studies, and Woodring College of Education. Ceremony Three, at 1 p.m., is for graduates of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Each ceremony will last 90 minutes to two hours.
The commencement website, commencement.wwu.edu, also includes a searchable list of graduates’ names and ceremony times, along with personalized slides for each graduate who made a reservation for the ceremony. The slides include the graduate’s name and a photo and message they submitted. Their names will also be read during the ceremony.
The ceremonies will be available for viewing throughout the summer and will be broadcast in English, with closed-captioning, American Sign Language interpretation, and Spanish translation available. Graduates, families and faculty can create virtual watch parties to share the experience online and post messages of congratulations in the video chat feature. Faculty and staff are invited to send messages of congratulations to students ahead of time. The commencement team will share these messages during Saturday's events; please submit all messages before Saturday morning.
The ceremony programs were recorded outside on Western’s Bellingham campus in mid- to late May and include short speeches by President Sabah Randhawa, a student speaker and other dignitaries. The ceremonies also include a “roll call” of graduates from various locations, video clips of doctoral and master’s graduates receiving their hoods from loved ones, and short clips of congratulations from families and faculty.
Each ceremony will have a student speaker: Ceremony One’s speaker will be Serafima Healy of Seattle, who majored in business administration with a concentration in marketing, and completed two minors: entrepreneurship and innovation, and the Honors Program’s interdisciplinary minor. Jade Jordan of Seatac will speak in Ceremony Two and majored in computer science and minored in dance. The Ceremony Three speaker will be Mitchell Marquez, who majored in human services and minored in Spanish.
Graduates also have the opportunity to participate in a 110-year-old campus tradition of leaving a memento beneath the class year stones on Memory Walk in front of Old Main. Following a typical commencement ceremony, students place their Western Cards or other memorabilia in the Memory Walk time capsule. With these virtual ceremonies, students are invited to submit items to the time capsule electronically or mail them to WWU, c/o H. Christianson, 516 High St., Bellingham, WA, 98225-9008. Items may be submitted through August.
Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies will also host its own virtual commencement celebration at fairhaven.wwu.edu/graduation-information.