Dennis Murphy, a Western Washington University alumnus who served as dean of the College of Business and Economics for 25 years, addressed Western graduates and their families at the winter Commencement ceremony on Saturday, March 21, in Carver Gymnasium.
The ceremony also included a presentation of the President’s Award to Whatcom County residents Irwin and Frances LeCocq for their service to the community.
Approximately 505 undergraduates and about 45 master’s candidates received degrees this quarter.
Murphy earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics at Western in 1969, and a master’s in Economics the following year. He was dean of Western’s College of Business and Economics from 1982 to 2007 and twice served as Western’s provost, in 1998-99 and from 2007 to 2009. He has retired from administrative work, but Murphy continues to teach several courses a year in Economics and Finance. He also serves on the board of directors of Saturna Capital, on Saturna’s council of economic advisers, and on the board of St. Paul’s Academy. He has been a participant in the US Bank Economic Forum for about 20 years. He is past chairman of the board of Cascade Financial Corp. and Cascade Bank as well as past-president of the United Way of Whatcom County and the Rotary Club of Bellingham.
The President’s Award, Western’s highest community honor, was given to Irwin and Frances LeCocq. Irwin LeCocq is the former president of Peoples Bank and Frances LeCocq was the bank’s community affairs officer. They are also strong supporters of the arts, education and the community’s social safety net. At Western, the LeCocqs have touched the lives of many students through the Peoples Bank / LeCocq Family Scholarships. In the greater community, the LeCocqs also provided crucial support to the Campaign for the Arts, enabling the restoration of the Whatcom Museum and the Mount Baker Theatre.
The ceremony’s student speaker was Marguerite Balch, who received her Bachelor of Arts in Education degree Saturday in Early Childhood Education. Balch, from Lynnwood, is a student teacher in a first-grade class at Garfield Elementary School in Everett.