SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington State University Spokane will celebrate its 13th class of graduates, including the first graduates in two new undergraduate programs, when diplomas are handed out Friday, May 9, at WSU’s Spokane commencement ceremony. The program, which includes graduates of the Intercollegiate College of Nursing /WSU College of Nursing, begins at 2 p.m. at the Spokane Opera House.

The first three graduates from WSU Spokane in the computer engineering consortium of WSU and University of Idaho will receive their Bachelor of Science degrees during the ceremony. WSU recently signed an articulation agreement with Spokane Falls Community College, making it easier for students to transfer their first two years of coursework to WSU Spokane for the degree.

Four students will receive their Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration with a focus on real estate, a program added to the Spokane campus two years ago. Three of the students are double majors, also receiving a Bachelor of Science in construction management. WSU offers the only four-year business degree in real estate in Washington. The real estate degree prepares graduates for positions as appraisers, brokers, mortgage officers and real estate specialists in the public sector.

Rom J. Markin, recently named interim chancellor for WSU Spokane, will serve as the commencement speaker. Markin served previously as dean of the WSU College of Business and Economics for 15 years and as WSU’s interim provost in 2000. His interests in teaching and research are in the fields of entrepreneurship, marketing, retailing management and consumer behavior. In addition to numerous academic papers and proceedings, he has authored eight books during his career at WSU.

Markin is credited as being the driving force behind the funding and creation of the college’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in 1995, the same year he ended his 15-year role as dean. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a bachelor’s degree from Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. He taught at Indiana University and Montana State University before joining WSU, where he became a full professor in 1969. He has held the Maughmer Freedom Philosophy Professorship since October 1999, and prior to that held the James D. Huber Memorial Chair of Entrepreneurship.

Darci Rohrbach, a new graduate receiving a Master of Arts degree in interior design from WSU and president of the Associated Students of WSU Spokane, will serve as student speaker. She is also a recipient of the WSU President’s Award.

WSU Spokane will honor 179 students earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture, computer engineering, construction management, criminal justice, exercise science, engineering management, health policy and administration, human nutrition, interior design, landscape architecture, real estate, speech and hearing sciences, teaching, and technology management, including 13 receiving the post-graduate school psychology certification from WSU and Eastern Washington University. The master’s and doctoral degrees being awarded at this ceremony bring the total at WSU Spokane to more than 1,400.

Another 76 students will be receiving the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree. Pharmacy students are entering an excellent job market, with average starting salaries of $72,000 to $75,000 per year in a highly competitive market. Given the national shortage of pharmacists, they’re often offered signing bonuses and more and more often, student loan repayment benefits.

The graduation also honors 97 students receiving bachelor’s and 17 receiving master’s degrees in nursing from the Intercollegiate College of Nursing/WSU College of Nursing and its consortium partners EWU, Gonzaga University and Whitworth College. All nursing graduates receive joint degrees from WSU and from the institution at which they did their first two years of study.

Ten EWU students earning master’s degrees in communication disorders who have studied in the joint WSU-EWU program will also be granted degrees at this commencement ceremony.

Some of the student honors being recognized during the ceremony include:

–Courtney Christensen, MA Speech & Hearing Sciences, outstanding graduate student, speech and hearing sciences.
–Darci Rohrbach, MA Interior Design, WSU President’s Award.
–Jennifer Wilberding, MS Exercise Science, Roger C. Wiley Graduate Student Professional Development Award and the Orville E. and Marion Hudson Johnson Graduate Fellowship in Exercise Science
–Christine Lundberg, Spokane–Outstanding Nursing Undergraduate Award
–Lisa Alexander, Yakima–Outstanding Nursing Undergraduate Award
–Christine Schuck, Spokane—Nursing Clinical Excellence Award
–Stephanie Nitz, Spokane–Army Spirit of Nursing Award
–Kimberly Resliff, Spokane–Outstanding Nursing Graduate Student Award

Faculty awards being recognized during the ceremony include:

–Doug Menzies, AIA, associate professor of architecture—WSU Spokane Faculty Excellence Award
–Becky Miner, MSN, RN, nursing instructor—Intercollegiate College of Nursing/WSU College of Nursing Jan Hollaway Clinical Excellence Award
–Mary Stucky, MSN, RNC, program adviser for RN to BSN/MN—Intercollegiate College of Nursing/WSU College of Nursing Faculty Excellence Award

Notes to photographers and assignment editors:
–If you want to interview students from a specific discipline the day of Commencement or before, please contact Barb Chamberlain, (509) 869-2949, in advance to make arrangement.
–10 a.m.: Commencement brunch. Visual/audio opportunities: Include commissioning of a U.S. Navy officer who is graduating later today in the ceremony (approx. 10:20 a.m.), and presentation of WSU Cougar logo lapel pins to graduating students by WSU alumni (approx 10:25 a.m.).
–1-1:30 p.m.: Students are arriving for robing; may be able to pick up interviews on the fly.
–1:30-4 p.m.: Students are not available for interviews; robing and ceremony in progress
–1:55 p.m.: Faculty wearing full regalia will march from the music room (downstairs from main lobby) up the stairs into the main Opera House; bagpipers will play as faculty walk down the aisles in the Opera House.
–1:55 p.m.: Students begin march into the Opera House across the breezeway, coming from the northwest quadrant of the Ag Trade Center. They will follow faculty into the Opera House.
–Approximately 3:45 p.m.: Cougar mascot Butch comes onto the Opera House stage at the close of the ceremony to lead the recessional off. Butch stands at the door to greet the exiting graduates. Great “high five” shots with students and families.
–4 p.m.: A post-commencement reception will be held at the Riverpoint campus in the lobby of the Health Sciences Building (310 N. Riverpoint Blvd.), with Butch also there for pictures.