PULLMAN — Frank Blethen, publisher and chief executive officer of The Seattle Times, will be the WSU Fall 2008 Commencement speaker.
The event will begin 10 a.m. Dec.13 in the Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. WSU President Elson S. Floyd will preside over the ceremony.
Blethen is a fourth-generation member of the family that founded The Seattle Times in 1896. He has been The Seattle Times’ publisher and CEO since 1985, having joined the family business full-time in 1968. He also was publisher of The Seattle Times-owned Walla Walla Union-Bulletin for two years.
A Seattle native, Blethen is a graduate of Arizona State University.
Blethen, who spoke at WSU’s 100th commencement ceremony in 1996, is connected to WSU through his two sons, Ryan, a 1999 WSU alumnus, and James, a former WSU student. He also was named Adopted Cougar in 1990 and received several awards from WSU over the years, including the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Outstanding Service Award and the Weldon B. Gibson Award.
He has served at the Murrow Communication Advisory Board since 1999 and with the Equity & Diversity Fundraising Strategy Group since 2005 and has also volunteered at the WSU Foundation Board of Trustees and the Campaign WSU Steering Committee.
Blethen is deeply committed to diversity, equal opportunity and inclusion. In addition to his and his wife’s support for Cougars of Color, they established two endowments during Campaign WSU: The Seattle Times/Blethen Family Minority Scholarship Endowment, which provides scholarship support to multi-cultural students studying in WSU’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication; and the Seattle Times/Blethen Family Student Access Fund, which provides support for students with physical, learning or other differences that create barriers to their full participation in the WSU educational experience.
He is a strong advocate for independent journalism, family-owned businesses, and a leader in the national grass-roots movement in opposition to newspaper and media ownership consolidation.
Almost 870 students– about 790 undergraduate students and 60 graduate students – are expected to participate in the WSU ceremony in Pullman from a total of 1,788 student that have applied to graduate with a December date, said Teri Hansen, WSU commencement coordinator.
Shuttle bus service between the parking lot of Lewis Alumni Centre and the Beasley Coliseum will be available 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for those attending the commencement ceremony.