Noted scholar and author Catharine R. Stimpson, a graduate of the WWU Campus School, will receive an honorary doctorate from Western Washington University and speak to graduates and their families at one of four commencement ceremonies Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16.
About 1900 undergraduate and 188 master’s students are expected to graduate from Western June 15 and 16. Admission is by ticket only, and each graduate will be allowed five tickets.
Stimpson (see photo at right) is University Professor of English and Dean Emerita of New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Science. The other main speakers for the four ceremonies will be real estate broker Lydia Bennett, urban project manager Ken Johnsen, and Port Angeles School Board member Bill Kindler.
Bennett, a broker for Saratoga Commercial Real Estate in Bellingham and the owner of a commercial real estate advisory and training firm, will speak at the 5 p.m. ceremony Friday, June 15, to graduates of the College of Business and Economics and the Graduate School.
A 1983 WWU graduate in economics, Bennett has worked in commercial real estate her entire professional career, spending time in both the public and private sector. She is also a senior instructor for the CCIM Institute, which prepares real estate professionals for the Certified Commercial Investment Member certification, and serves on the College of Business and Economics Advisory Board and on the board of CBE’s Center for Innovation in Education.
Johnsen, president of Shiels Obletz Johnsen Inc., will speak at the 9 a.m. ceremony Saturday, June 16, which will include graduates from Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Huxley College of the Environment, and the Humanities Division of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Johnsen, who graduated from Western in 1975 with a degree in urban and regional planning, has helped manage the design and construction of many high-profile urban development projects in Seattle, including Safeco Field, Pike Place Market, King Street Station, the waterfront seawall, the Seattle Aquarium expansion and a new building for the Seattle Opera.
Stimpson will be honored at the noon ceremony Saturday, June 16, and will speak to graduates of the College of Fine and Performing Arts, and the Social Sciences Division of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Stimpson is a pioneer in the study of women and gender and was the director of the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” Fellows Program from 1994 to 1997. She has published eight books and more than 150 monographs, essays, and stories. She has also served as chair of the New York State Council for the Humanities and the National Council for Research on Women, as president of the Modern Language Association, and as a board member of PBS. She currently chairs the board of Scholars at Risk, which provides assistance to threatened scholars worldwide. She teaches, among other things, Law and the Imagination at NYU Abu Dhabi.
Kindler, a 1965 chemistry graduate of WWU, will speak at the 3 p.m. ceremony Saturday, June 16, for graduates of the College of Science and Engineering and Woodring College of Education.
Kindler is retired from a 30-year career as a scientist, manager and executive in the paper products industry. Today, he is vice president of the Port Angeles Waterfront Center group, which is working to build a performing arts hall, events venue, marine science museum and tribal cultural center on the Port Angeles waterfront. He’s also a member of the Port Angeles School Board and a former member of the board of directors of NatureBridge. A devoted fly-fisher, Kindler is a recipient of the Letcher Lambuth Angling Craftsman Award, the Washington Fly Fishing Club’s most prestigious honor.
In addition to the keynote speaker, a WWU student will speak at each commencement ceremony.
Kirsten Anderson of Bellingham will speak at the 5 p.m. ceremony on Friday, June 15. Anderson will graduate with a Master of Business Administration degree in interdisciplinary enterprise management. She is a board member and publicity chair of the North Cascades Audubon Society and the co-founder of When Women Lead, which empowers and supports women in leadership within Western’s MBA Program.
The student speaker at the 9 a.m. ceremony on Saturday will be Alia Taqieddin of Bellevue. Taqieddin will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in community health as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in a Fairhaven interdisciplinary concentration. She was a recipient of the Fairhaven College Adventure Learning Grant and spent a year working with refugees in Greece and will work in immigration law with a firm in Anchorage after graduation.
Sarah Petry of Ojai, California, will be the student speaker at the noon ceremony Saturday, June 16. Petry is receiving two degrees: a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology and a Bachelor of Arts in political science. Petry was president of the Demography Club and presented her research on social activism at the Annual Meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association. She also served as a fundraising assistant for Western’s Palliative Care Institute and worked as a gymnastics coach for North Coast Gymnastics Academy. She plans to go to graduate school at Duke University.
Francisca Mejia Campos of North Bend will speak at the 3 p.m. ceremony Saturday, June 16. Mejia Campos is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in human services and was among the group of WWU representatives who went to Washington, D.C., this spring to lobby federal legislators on topics including the preservation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and other protections for undocumented immigrants. After graduation, she will work for the Issaquah School District as a family partnership liaison, working with underrepresented students and non-English speaking parents.
Doors to Carver open an hour before each ceremony, and all guests should be seated 20 minutes before the scheduled start.
Overflow seating will be available adjacent to Carver in Western’s Science Math and Technology Education building, where the ceremony will be shown on large screens. The ceremony will also be streamed live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/wwu-live-events1.
Following the ceremony, graduates will have the opportunity to follow WWU tradition and deposit their Western identification cards in a box that is later cemented into Memory Walk in front of Old Main.
Guest parking is free starting at 2 p.m. on Friday and all day Saturday. Visitors must observe regulations for handicapped and individually reserved spaces. Visitors are also advised to arrive early to avoid traffic congestion and to allow for travel time between the parking lots and Carver.
Shuttle bus service will be available from the 12A parking lot off South College Drive from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 15, and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., or until there is no demand, Saturday, June 16. One of the shuttle buses will be ADA-equipped and will accommodate two wheelchairs. Guests needing accommodations may also park in lot 17G, which will be reserved for accessible parking.
Parking attendants will be available to assist guests with special parking needs.
There will be additional commencement-related ceremonies and gatherings on Western’s campus Saturday, June 16. Fairhaven College will hold an additional graduation celebration at 1 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center Concert Hall. There will also be a celebration for Huxley graduates at 2 p.m. in the PAC Mainstage Theatre.
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