VANCOUVER, Wash.— Mark A. Suwyn, chairman and chief executive officer of Louisiana-Pacific Corp., will give the keynote address at Washington State University Vancouver’s 15th commencement ceremony at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 15 at The Amphitheater at Clark County. Public access to the amphitheater will begin at 11 a.m.
It will be the first commencement address for Suwyn, who joined LP as chair and CEO in 1996. In his six years with the corporation, Suwyn has led a dramatic turnaround through a series of management initiatives. He joined LP from International Paper Inc., where he served as executive vice president of distribution, specialty products and forest lands. Suwyn earned a doctorate in inorganic chemistry from WSU and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Hope College in Holland, Mich.
WSU Vancouver will grant more than 650 degrees this year, including 130 master’s degrees and one doctoral degree in psychology. Nearly 42 percent of the undergraduates achieved honors distinction. WSU President V. Lane Rawlins and WSU Vancouver Chancellor Hal Dengerink will present diplomas during the commencement program, with WSU representatives also in attendance. Rhonda Stoll, a Master in Teaching graduate this year, will sing the national anthem.
The ceremony will also include a number of student, faculty and community awards.
The Chancellor’s Award for Student Achievement will be presented to Kimiyo Kaneko-Rivera. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science, Kaneko-Rivera demonstrated a love of learning and applied that knowledge productively as the student services multicultural intern and as an Associated Students of WSU Vancouver senator.
The student body will honor Kandy Robertson, College of Liberal Arts instructor and director of the Writing Center, with the Student’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Robertson has received praise for her dedication, kindness and willingness to work with students. She oversees a positive, well-trained staff, capable of proctoring timed write sessions and writing portfolios. In addition to her professional contributions, two years ago Robertson began the Bridges Project, which coordinates the donation of learning supplies for public schools in need of financial assistance.
The Chancellor’s Award for Service to WSU Vancouver will be given to Ed and Mary Firstenburg. The Firstenburg family’s devotion to the WSU Vancouver campus comes from a deep dedication to their community as well as a love of education, said commencement organizers. Their dedication to the community has paved the way for philanthropy in southwest Washington. Through the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, they have given $500,000 to WSU Vancouver to create the Firstenburg Family Fountain, located on the campus plaza.
Michael Morgan, WSU Vancouver faculty member and director of the psychology program, will receive the 2004 Research Excellence Award. Morgan’s research focuses on understanding the function of the periaqueductal gray (PAG) and rostral ventrolmedial medulla (RVM), the spinal mechanisms by which the PAG and RVM inhibit pain and the contribution of each to the pain-inhibitory effects of morphine.