PULLMAN, Wash. — Mikal J. Thomsen, a Washington State University graduate and the son of WSU graduates, told students participating in fall commencement ceremonies Saturday that the diploma they were receiving has never been more valuable.

Thomsen said the academic preparation and achievements of this class, along with the academic progress of the institution, continues to raise the value of a WSU degree.

“Your excellence has made my degree worth more, and as you achieve your successes in life, that degree will increase in value even more.  Your successes will also draw an ever more able student body to campus to take your place. And their successes will, in turn, make your degrees more valuable as well,” said Thomsen, the president of Western Wireless Corp., who received his degree from WSU in 1979.

About 575 graduates participated in the ceremony at the Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. It was the fourth fall commencement ceremony to be held at WSU.

Thomsen talked about the history of WSU in recalling the experiences of his grandfather, his parents, who met as freshmen in Pullman and received degrees in 1953 from what was then Washington State College in 1953, and himself.

Thomsen, who chairs the WSU Foundation Board of Governors, urged the students to build on “the consistent and continuing excellence of WSU alumni in every walk of life has created the accurate expectation that you’re someone special if you have a degree from WSU.”

“Finally, take a moment to feel proud of yourselves.  You have shown tremendous energy, hard work and perseverance to get here today.  Most people who start out on this journey don’t complete it.  You are an amazing group, and you will lead incredible lives.  Take some time to revel in one of the fine moments of those lives,” Thomsen said.

WSU President V. Lane Rawlins presided at the event; ASWSU President Brea Thompson also addressed the graduates.