WSU Tri-Cities will honor its 16th graduating class at 6 p.m. Friday, May 13, in commencement ceremonies at the Three Rivers Coliseum in Kennewick. WSU Vancouver commencement is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at the Clark County Ampitheater.

Jeanne Firstenburg, chief operations officer for First Independent Bank will give the keynote address in Vancouver.

At Tri-Cities, a total of 385 students will receive diplomas this year. There are 266 undergraduate and 119 master’s degree candidates eligible to participate in the 2005 commencement.

WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Larry James will preside over the program, which includes an address by Len Peters, director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.

WSU President V. Lane Rawlins will welcome those in attendance at both Vancouver and Tri-Cities.

WSU Vancouver will grant more than 700 degrees this year, including 167 master’s degrees. Nearly 40 percent of the undergraduates have achieved honors distinction. WSU President Vancouver Chancellor Hal Dengerink will present diplomas during the commencement program, with WSU representatives also in attendance.

The ceremony will also include a number of student, faculty and community awards.

The Tri-Cities processional of faculty and graduating students will be led for the first time by the WSU mace, the symbol of institutional authority. The Tri-Cities commencement is the first time the mace is being used at a ceremony off the Pullman campus.

Some 3,000 people are expected to attend Tri-Cities commencement. The Three Rivers Coliseum is located near Columbia Center in Kennewick.

The graduating students earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the state’s land-grant university in a variety of academic disciplines, including biology, business administration, chemical engineering, computer science, elementary education, liberal arts, nursing and social science.

At Tri-Cities, Tom Thompson, past president of the WSU Alumni Association, will deliver the alumni greeting to the new graduates. Cara Giancola and Janel Baker, outgoing president and vice president of the Associated Students of WSU Tri-Cities, will also address the graduating class.