PULLMAN, Wash. — The speakers for Washington State University’s 106th annual spring commencement May 11 at WSU’s Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum have been selected.
Per Pinstrup-Andersen, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C.; Maria Cantwell, U.S. senator for Washington state; and Robert C. Bates, WSU provost, have committed to each speak at one of three separate ceremonies on the Pullman campus.
Pinstrup-Andersen will address an 8 a.m. ceremony for the College of Agriculture and Home Economics, College of Engineering and Architecture, College of Pharmacy, College of Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine.
Pinstrup-Andersen received the 2001 World Food Prize for his contributions to improve agricultural research, food policy and the lives of the poor. For three decades, he has conducted vital research on nutrition policy and economics of technological change. His life’s work has been devoted to helping those most afflicted by poverty and severe malnutrition gain access to food.
He began his professional career as an agricultural economist in Colombia, South America. He has been associated with the International Fertilizer Development Center in Alabama, the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University at Copenhagen and Cornell University in New York State. He has served as a member of the faculty and director of the Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program.
Cantwell has served as a U.S. senator since 2001. She also served in the Washington state legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives. During her term in the House, she supported landmark legislation including the Family and Medical Leave Act and a deficit reduction plan. She is well-regarded by those in technology for fighting against archaic export restrictions on software encryption products.
Before serving as senator, Cantwell joined the software start-up Progressive Networks in 1995, now a leader in Internet media technology known as RealNetworks. She will address the 11:30 a.m. ceremony for the College of Liberal Arts.
Bates joined WSU as provost in January. Before that he led Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s largest college. He was instrumental in fostering cross-disciplinary instruction and research teams in the college and across the university that also extended to outreach, including service-learning and international program development. He also was a strong supporter of diversity, developing a revised faculty-hiring plan that addressed the college’s diversity issues. Bates is a WSU alumnus, earning a master’s degree in bacteriology and public health in 1969. He will address the ceremony for the College of Business and Economics, College of Education and College of Nursing set for 3 p.m.
WSU’s campuses at Tri-Cities, Spokane and Vancouver will also hold separate commencement ceremonies. WSU Spokane and the Intercollegiate College of Nursing / WSU College of Nursing will hold a ceremony at 2 p.m., May 10, at the Spokane Opera House. WSU Tri Cities will hold its ceremony at 6 p.m., May 17, at the Tri-City Coliseum, 7100 W. Quinault Ave., Kennewick. WSU Vancouver will have its ceremony at 1 p.m., May 18, WSU Vancouver Campus Plaza.