VANCOUVER, Wash. – Washington State University Vancouver will honor 847 graduating students this year. The honorees include graduates from the fall 2022 and spring and summer 2023 terms.
Commencement begins at 1 p.m. May 6 at RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel Rd., Ridgefield, Wash. No tickets are required, and parking is free. The seating area opens at 11:30 a.m.; parking opens at 11 a.m. The ceremony will also be streamed on WSU Vancouver’s YouTube channel: youtube.com/user/wsuvancouver.
Guests as well as graduates will walk through a metal detector at entry. Guns, pocketknives (including Leatherman-style tools) and other weapons are not allowed. Carry-in belongings will be searched. Only small clutches, wristlets or fanny packs no bigger than 4.5x6.5 inches or clear plastic bags no bigger than 12x12x6 inches will be allowed inside.
BACKGROUND ON THE GRADUATES
The 2023 graduates include 40 doctoral candidates in the areas of biology, criminal justice and criminology, education, environmental and natural resource sciences, history, mathematics, nursing practice, political science and psychology.
The 68 master’s candidates will receive degrees in anthropology, biology, business administration, computer science, education, electrical engineering, engineering and technology management, environmental science, mathematics, mechanical engineering, nursing, prevention science, strategic communication and teaching.
The 739 bachelor’s candidates will receive degrees in anthropology, biology, business administration, computer science, data analytics, digital technology and culture, earth and environmental science, education, electrical engineering, English, fine arts, history, hospitality business management, human biology, human development, humanities, mathematics, mechanical engineering, neuroscience, nursing, political science, psychology, public affairs, social sciences, sociology and strategic communication.
CHANCELLOR’S AND STUDENT AWARDS
Five awards will be presented: Chancellor’s Awards for service, equity, research and student achievement; and the Students’ Award for Teaching Excellence.
Mike Iyall will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Service to WSU Vancouver. He is a tribal elder and historian of the Cowlitz Tribe, a member of WSU’s Native American Community Advisory Board and WSU Vancouver’s Equity and Diversity Advisory Board. In 2002, for the Cowlitz Tribe, he signed the Memorandum of Understanding between WSU and local tribes promoting cooperation and acknowledging that the university occupies land formerly inhabited by Native American peoples. He is a trusted advisor to WSU Vancouver’s Chancellor and has served students through a scholarship program and a tuition assistance program.
The Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Equity will honor Thabiti Lewis, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and professor of English. He joined WSU Vancouver in 2007 as an assistant professor and rose rapidly to his current position. Lewis co-chairs the Student Success Council, which seeks to understand student success and improve retention; co-chaired the Enrollment Council, playing a key role in the equity of enrollment efforts; and works with faculty to create a more inclusive learning environment.
The Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence will be given to Deepti Singh, assistant professor in the School of the Environment. An influential scholar in the field of climate science, she has built an internationally recognized research program centered on understanding the causes and consequences of climate change and associated extreme weather events. Singh is one of a select group of climate scientists invited to develop the Fifth U.S. National Climate Assessment, for presentation to Congress and the President. She joined WSU Vancouver in 2018.
Scott Houston will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Student Achievement, which recognizes academic excellence, love of learning and leadership potential. Houston will receive his bachelor’s degree in human development. His own experiences—he spent 15 years on the streets in Longview, Wash.—have given him a unique insight into the field of behavioral health and a strong motivation to succeed. In nominating him for the award, his teachers called him a model student with extraordinary perseverance and a passion for learning.
This year’s recipient of the Students’ Award for Teaching Excellence is Gunjan Gakhar, associate professor of biological sciences. The award for teaching excellence is based on student nominations. The recipient is honored for committing time outside of the classroom to keep students from falling through the cracks and for instilling enthusiasm for the subject matter in students. One student wrote that Gakhar’s “love for microbiology shows in her teaching, and she truly cares for her students.”
ABOUT WSU VANCOUVER
WSU Vancouver is in the homelands of Chinook and Taidnapam peoples and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. As one of six campuses of the Washington State University system, WSU Vancouver offers big-school resources in a small-school environment. The university provides affordable, high-quality baccalaureate- and graduate-level education to benefit the people and communities it serves. As the only four-year research university in Southwest Washington, WSU Vancouver helps drive economic growth through relationships with local businesses and industries, schools and nonprofit organizations.
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Brenda Alling, Office of Marketing and Communications, 360-546-9601, firstname.lastname@example.org