WWU Spring Quarter Commencement Set for June 14 and 15 in Carver

BELLINGHAM – Four prominent Western Washington University alumni will speak to graduates and their families at four commencement ceremonies in Carver Gymnasium Friday June 14, and Saturday June 15. 

Main speakers for the ceremonies are Pictionary creator Rob Angel, documentary filmmaker TJ Martin, former L’Oréal creative director Michael Jorgensen, and Boeing executive Jason Clark. Western will also award a posthumous honorary degree to former student and Medal of Honor recipient James K. Okubo during one of the ceremonies.

About 2,000 undergraduate and 175 master’s students are expected to graduate from Western. Admission is by ticket only, and each graduate will be allowed five tickets.

Angel will speak at the ceremony Friday, June 14, at 4:45 p.m. to graduates of the College of Business and Economics and the Graduate School. A 1981 WWU alumnus in business administration, Angel was a new college graduate working as a waiter in the 1980s when he created Pictionary, the classic word-guessing and drawing board game. By the time Angel had sold all interest in the game to Mattel in 2001, it was the biggest-selling game in the world, with 38 million copies in 60 countries. Today, he’s an investor, philanthropist, mentor to fellow entrepreneurs, and author of the forthcoming book “Game Changer,” about the lessons he’s learned in life and business. He’s also a public speaker, combining heart-felt stories with business advice.

Martin, a 2005 graduate of Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, will be the main speaker at that ceremony on Saturday, June 15 at 8:45 a.m. Martin, who will speak to graduates of Fairhaven, Huxley College of the Environment and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences – Humanities Division, is a filmmaker and documentarian whose work has won Oscar and Emmy awards. “Undefeated,” a documentary Martin co-directed with producing partner Dan Lindsay about an underdog high school football team, won the Academy Award for best Feature Documentary in 2012. Martin and Lindsay later co-directed “LA 92,” a documentary about the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which won the 2017 Primetime Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking. Martin and Lindsay also direct commercials; their “The Truth is Worth it” campaign for the New York Times has won several awards.

The ceremony will also include a presentation of Okubo’s honorary bachelor’s degree. Okubo was a former Western Washington College of Education student who was unable to finish his degree because he and his family was incarcerated during World War II along with about 120,000 West Coast residents of Japanese ancestry. Okubo later enlisted in the U.S. Army and was a medic with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, one of the most decorated units in U.S. military history. He was awarded a Silver Star for saving the lives of fellow soldiers under heavy fire in France in 1944, and received a Medal of Honor in 2000. He passed away in 1967 and his family will accept the degree on his behalf.

Jorgensen will speak to graduates of the College of Fine and Performing Arts and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences – Social Sciences Division, in the 11:45 a.m. ceremony. A 1972 graduate, Jorgensen spent most of his career in New York City at L’Oréal, one of the world’s largest cosmetics companies. As the creative director of L’Oréal Luxe, he developed advertising, branding, promotions and packaging for such well-known cosmetics brands as Lancôme, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Viktor & Rolf and Yves Saint Laurent. He still works as a creative consultant in New York, but now devotes much of his time to photography. One recent photography collection, “Vacancy No Vacancy,” highlights the graphical beauty of midcentury motels and has been exhibited in Montana and New York.

Jason Clark, vice president and general manager of the Boeing 777 Program, will speak at the 2:45 p.m. ceremony for graduates of the College of Science and Engineering and Woodring College of Education. Clark, who graduated from Western in 1993 with a degree in manufacturing engineering technology, leads the Everett-based production of The Boeing Company’s next-generation 777X. Clark oversees the heavily automated production system for the new aircraft and is responsible for leadership, management and strategic direction for production of all 777 planes.

In addition to the keynote speaker, WWU students will speak at each commencement ceremony.

Jasmine Medina-Perez, Ama Monkah and Angelica Sanchez, who all majored in business administration, will speak at the 4:45 p.m. ceremony on Friday, June 15. Medina-Perez and Silva were leaders in the Multicultural Business Scholars Association. Medina Perez, of Bremerton, had a major concentration in international business, participated in the Boeing Case Competition, studied abroad in Uruguay and is an intern at the strategy consulting firm Artemis Connection. Sanchez, of Wapato, had a major concentration in management with a minor in education and social justice. She was the logistics coordinator for TEDxWWU and co-chaired the M.E.Ch.A. Lowrider Show and was named 2019 Associated Students Club Leader of the Year. And Monkah, of Seatac, served as A.S. Vice President for Activities and helped secure a grant to take 17 students to Atlanta to study Black history.  

The student speaker at the 8:45 a.m. ceremony on Saturday will be Dario Castellon, of Burien, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in urban planning and sustainable development, with minors in sustainable design and disaster risk reduction. He worked for WWU Admissions and served on the planning group for the environmental justice minor. He was also a member of the Ethnic Student Center’s Executive Committee for the Multicultural Center.

Corina Florina Erickson, a graduate of Shoreline Community College, will be the student speaker at the 11:45 a.m. ceremony Saturday, June 15. Erickson is graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. While at Western, Erickson served as the vice president of Psi Chi, the international honors society for psychology, worked as a research assistant for Assistant Psychology Professor Brianna Delker and volunteered as a classroom mentor for Compass 2 Campus.  

Carinna Ostrovsky-Snider of Port Townsend will speak at the 2:45 p.m. ceremony Saturday, June 15. Ostrovsky-Snider is graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics with a minor in computer science. She held a wide variety of roles at Western, from custodian, to math tutor, to rugby team captain, to lead student ambassador for the Western Foundation. After graduation, she’ll teach English in Thailand.

Doors to Carver open 30 to 45 minutes before each ceremony, and all guests should be seated 15 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 and available in most lots on Friday, June 14 beginning at 12:30 p.m. and Saturday all day. Visitors must observe regulations for handicapped and individually reserved spaces. Visitors are also advised to arrive 1.5 hours before the start of their ceremony 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 14, and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 15, or until there is no demand, Saturday, June 15. One of the shuttle buses will be ADA-equipped and will accommodate two wheelchairs. Guests who use wheelchairs may also park in lots 17G and 11G, 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 15. 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.

For more information or for disability accommodations contact the Registrar’s Office, commencement@wwu.edu.