Contact: Office of University Communications, (360) 650-3350
BELLINGHAM – About 1,975 students will graduate from Western Washington University in three spring Commencement ceremonies that will take place in Carver Gymnasium on June 15.
Main speakers will be Jane Carten (’01 and ’06), president and director of Saturna Capital Corp., Will Braden (’01), a writer and filmmaker, and Shari Campbell (’83), vice president of JayRay.
Approximately 1,825 undergraduate and 150 master’s students are expected to graduate June 15. Admission is by ticket only, and each graduate will be allowed four tickets. Overflow seating also will be available on campus.
Western Washington University will also honor four people for their contributions to Western and to the community. Craig (’77) and Susan Cole (’73) will receive the President’s Award during the 9 a.m. ceremony and Fred Kaiser and Grace Borsari will receive the President’s Award during the 4 p.m. ceremony.
Carten, the speaker at the 9 a.m. ceremony, is the president and director of Saturna Capital, an investment firm in Bellingham. Western’s 2013 Young Alumnus of the Year, Carten is a 2001 graduate of Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies and earned an M.B.A. in 2006. Carten got her start as an entrepreneur in the late ‘90s when she launched and ran an Internet services company while she was still a student. With her husband, Terry, she established the Carten Family Scholarship for Fairhaven students who have dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. Students apply for the scholarship by developing a website to showcase their plans for a business or nonprofit organization.
Braden, the speaker at the 12:30 p.m. ceremony, is the producer of a series of very popular videos on YouTube featuring Henri, a French-speaking cat ridden with existential angst. The short, black-and-white videos, which can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/user/henrilechatnoir, have been viewed millions of times. Braden, a Creative Writing major, produced the first Henri video as a parody to entertain his fellow film school students. But Henri’s success has resulted in a book deal as well as other professional opportunities for Braden.
Campbell, the speaker at the 4 p.m. ceremony, is vice president and part-owner of JayRay, a communications company in Tacoma. Campbell worked in health care settings and for the state of Washington before joining JayRay. She is now vice president of the Western Alumni Association and has been active with the association’s community engagement efforts. She will speak at her daughter’s graduation.
Recipients of the President’s Award, Craig and Susan Cole have a long history of community service in Whatcom County. Craig Cole is a member of the University of Washington Board of Regents and a former member of Western’s Board of Trustees. Susan Cole is vice chair of the Board of Trustees at Whatcom Community College and a member of the boards of the St. Luke’s Foundation and the Interfaith Coalition. The Coles, who met at Western, support philanthropic causes including education, sustainability, health care and social justice.
Fred Kaiser, chairman and CEO of Alpha Technologies, Inc., and Grace Borsari, Chairman and CEO of Altair Advanced Industries, Inc., will also receive the President’s Award. Kaiser and Borsari have been involved with Western for two decades. The Kaiser-Borsari Educational Trust funds several scholarships in Computer Science, Engineering Technology and Advanced Materials Sciences, including those for women and people from diverse backgrounds. Kaiser also helped establish the Kaiser Professorship of International Business at Western.
The 9 a.m. ceremony will include candidates from the College of Business and Economics, the College of Fine and Performing Arts, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies and Huxley College of the Environment. At 12:30 p.m., candidates from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Humanities Division) will graduate along with those from Woodring College of Education. At 4 p.m., the ceremony for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Social Sciences Division) and the College of Sciences and Technology will take place.
For those without tickets, the ceremonies will be broadcast in the Science, Mathematics and Technology Education (SMATE) building on large viewing screens. Off campus, the ceremony will be broadcast live on Whatcom County’s Comcast cable service channel 26 and streamed live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/wwu-live-events1.
In addition to the keynote speaker, a WWU student will speak at each commencement ceremony.
Matt Slattery will speak at the 9 a.m. ceremony. Slattery, of Colorado Springs, Colo., is an Environmental Science major who worked for Western’s Admissions Office, giving campus tours. He is a graduate of Air Academy High School in Colorado Springs.
The 12:30 p.m. speaker will be Alison Cooper, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a Creative Writing concentration. Cooper, from Ferndale, served as the chief editor of Western’s literary magazine, Jeopardy.
Anastasia Carlson, the Outstanding Graduate for the Department of Psychology, will speak at the 4 p.m. ceremony. Carlson was involved in several research projects at Western, including one that examines the psychological, social and environmental factors that can influence cardiovascular health. Originally from Burlington, she is a graduate of Burlington-Edison High School and Skagit Valley College.
Following WWU tradition, graduates will proceed to the path in front of Old Main after the completion of each ceremony, where they will pass through a corridor of faculty and deposit their Western identification cards in a box that is later cemented into Memory Walk.
There will be additional commencement-related ceremonies and gatherings during the afternoon. 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. A reception for Woodring graduates will take place immediately following the second ceremony in the Miller Hall Collaborative Space.
Guest parking is free on Commencement day and available in most lots. Visitors must observe regulations for handicapped and individually reserved spaces. Guests are advised to arrive early to avoid traffic congestion and to allow for travel time between the parking lots and gym. Shuttle bus service will be available from the 12A parking lot off Bill McDonald Parkway near Fairhaven College, but the buses cannot accommodate wheelchairs. The shuttle service begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m. or until there is no demand. Guests in wheelchairs may park in designated lots behind Miller Hall and Arntzen Hall. Parking attendants will be available to assist guests with special parking needs.
For more information or for disability accommodations contact the Registrar’s Office, (360) 650-3701.