PULLMAN, Wash. — Speakers have been named for Washington State
University’s Commencement on May 6.
According to WSU President Samuel H. Smith, they are state Attorney General
Christine Gregoire, business leader and philanthropist Ken Alhadeff, and
research executive and astronaut John Fabian. Alhadeff and Fabian are WSU
Gregoire will speak at the 8 a.m. college of liberal arts ceremony; Alhadeff at
the 11:30 a.m. college of business and economics, college of education
ceremony; and Fabian at the 3 p.m. colleges of engineering and architecture,
pharmacy, agriculture and home economics, sciences, nursing and veterinary
medicine ceremony. All ceremonies are in Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum.
For the first time in its 109-year history, the university will hold three
ceremonies because of the growing number of WSU graduates, the popularity
of WSU seniors and graduate students attending graduation, and availability
Smith — taking part in his last commencement before retiring after 15 years
leading WSU — as well as regents and university administrators will join other
college leaders, graduates and their families at each ceremony.
Gregoire is Washington’s 16th attorney general and the first woman elected to
the position in state history. She has devoted her career to furthering the
safety and well-being of children. The National Association of Attorneys
General president, she received national attention in late 1998 when, as the lead
negotiator for states, she announced the largest legal settlement in U.S. history
between state attorneys general and the tobacco industry. Gregoire’s
background includes serving from 1988-92 as the Washington Department of
Ecology director. A University of Washington graduate, she earned her law
degree from Gonzaga University. She began her legal career in the AG’s
Spokane office as an assistant attorney general working on child abuse and
neglect cases. In 1993, she was the WSU President’s Convocation speaker.
Alhadeff, a 1970 WSU general studies graduate and a member of the WSU
Board of Regents since 1996, is chair of Elttaes Enterprises and president &
CEO of MiKen Properties in Seattle, where he lives. Alhadeff has supported
the WSU College of Education’s Future Teachers of Color recruitment and
retention program since it began in 1994. In 1998, he pledged the largest
individual gift for minority teacher education offered in the Pacific Northwest.
His financial support provides scholarship money to students in the program
and underwrites FTOC recruitment events. Alhadeff serves as the Northwest
School for Hearing-Impaired Children president and serves or has served on
the boards of the Seattle Public Schools’ Alliance for Education, the Big
Brothers of King County, and the Bertschi School, as well as a trustee for
Cornish College of the Arts. Alhadeff has also served on the Governor’s
Transition Commission on Social Services, the American Jewish Committee,
the Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the Seattle Symphony.
Fabian is a 1962 mechanical engineering graduate of WSU. A retired U.S. Air
Force officer with air combat experience in Vietnam, he was a space shuttle
astronaut with NASA from 1978-86. He flew on the Challenger in 1983 and on
the Discovery in 1985. His background includes serving as director of space
and deputy chief of staff for plans and operations at U.S. Air Force
headquarters at the Pentagon. Fabian is a former U.S. Air Force Academy
aeronautics faculty member. He served from 1991-98 as president and CEO of
ANSER, a Virginia-based independent, not-for-profit public service research
institution, providing research and analysis support on national and
international issues. He received an aerospace engineering master’s degree
from the Air Force Institute of Technology and an aeronautics and
astronautics doctoral degree from the University of Washington. He grew up
in Pullman and is a Pullman High School graduate. His father was a WSU
faculty member. Fabian now lives in retirement in Port Ludlow. In 1983, he
became the 19th recipient of the university’s highest honor, the Regents’
Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Smith will speak during graduation ceremonies on May 5 in Spokane for WSU
Spokane the WSU College of Nursing/Intercollegiate Center for Nursing
Education, May 12 in Tri-Cities for WSU Tri-Cities and May 13 in Vancouver
for WSU Vancouver.