Wizards of the Coast VP to speak at commencement

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 8:19am
Western Today staff

Simon Blackwell, vice president of Technology and Digital Gaming at Wizards of the Coast LLC and an alumnus of Western Washington University, will address graduates and their families at Western’s fall commencement Saturday, Dec. 15, at 10 a.m. in Carver Gym.

Seattle art patrons Virginia Wright and her husband, the late Bagley Wright, will receive the President’s Award for their significant contributions to public art in the Pacific Northwest, particularly to Western Washington University and the nationally renowned Outdoor Sculpture Collection.

Graduating senior Brandi Widenmeyer, an Environmental Conservation major from Bellingham, will give the student commencement address.

Approximately 615 undergraduates and about 45 master’s candidates will receive degrees this quarter. Fall commencement includes all majors, and only one ceremony will take place.

Tickets are required for admission into the gymnasium. Each undergraduate and master’s candidate who has signed up to participate in the ceremony will receive six tickets. Tickets are not required to watch the live televised ceremony in the Science, Math and Technology Education (SMATE) building. The ceremony will also be streamed live online.

The ceremony’s main speaker, Simon Blackwell, is vice president of Technology and Digital Gaming at Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro and the home of Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering and many other role-playing games. Blackwell graduated from Western in 1984 with a degree in Philosophy and in 2010 was named a Distinguished Alumnus from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The student commencement speaker, Brandi Widenmeyer, is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Conservation. Widenmeyer, of Bellingham, also holds an Associate in Technical Arts degree from Skagit Valley College and hopes to incorporate her love of botany into her conservation work.

Following commencement, graduates will have an opportunity to place memorabilia in a time capsule to be buried under a stone paver with their graduation year on it, not to be opened for 100 years.

Commencement parking is available at no cost in most lots. Visitors must observe regulations for handicapped and individually reserved spaces. A shuttle service to Carver Gym will be available from a tent in lot 12A off Bill McDonald parkway near Fairhaven College, but cannot accommodate wheelchairs. The shuttle service will begin at 8:30 am and end at 12:30 pm. Guests in wheelchairs may park behind Miller Hall and Arntzen Hall. Attendants will be available to assist anyone with special parking needs.

For more information or for disability accommodations contact the Registrar’s Office at (360) 650-3701.