PULLMAN – More than 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students are expected to participate in Washington State University’s 113th spring commencement, Saturday, May 9, at Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum.
Three ceremonies will be held.

Bob Watt

At 8 a.m. graduates from the College of Communication and the College of Liberal Arts will receive their degrees.  Bob Watt, vice chair and chair-elect of the Seattle Foundation board, chair of the White Center Making Connections Partners Group and vice chair of Thrive by Five, will be the featured speaker.

Watt retired as vice president of state and local government relations and global corporate citizenship for the Boeing Company in December 2007. Prior to coming to Boeing he was president and chief executive officer of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
Currently, Watt is a board member of several organizations, including the Casey Family Programs, Business Partnership for Early Learning, Aerospace Futures Alliance, Children’s’ Hospital Foundation, and the Institute for Learning and Brain Science. He has served as a member of the Washington Learns Steering Committee and as co-chair of the Washington State Early Learning Council.
He also served as deputy mayor of the City of Seattle under Mayor Norm Rice. As president of Family Services of Seattle/King County, he spent more than 12 years at Youth Eastside Services, the last five as its executive director. Additionally, he was a cofounder and board chair of the Children’s Alliance. He also served as board chair of Alliance for Education, Group Health Foundation, and SEAFAIR.
His work helping build stronger communities has been recognized with a number of awards including the Edward E. Carlson Outstanding Alumni Award from Leadership Tomorrow in recognition of his active leadership contributing to the well-being of the Puget Sound Region; the Ruby Red Slipper award from HomeSight, for his work in building stronger communities; the Lifetime of Idealism Award from CityYear for his contributions to regional communities; the Edwin T. Pratt award from the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle; and the Crystal Eagle award from the Tabor 100 group for a lifetime of achievement in helping the Seattle Region thrive.
Watt received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Portland State University and earned a teacher’s certificate in special education from Western Washington University.

Ted Baseler

At the 11:30 a.m. ceremony, Ted Baseler, president and chief executive officer of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, will address graduates in the College of Business and College of Education.

Baseler began his career at Ste. Michelle in 1984 as director of marketing and was offered increasing levels of responsibility, eventually being named president and chief executive officer in 2001. Prior to working at the winery, he had a successful career as a creative marketer of consumer packaged goods at several advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, Chiat Day, and Cole & Weber. He was named one of the top marketing professionals in the country by Advertising Age.
He has served as the chairman of the Washington Wine Commission, chairman of the Napa-based Wine Market Council, and director of the Washington Wine Institute. He has also served on the Washington Business Roundtable and the boards of Children’s Hospital and Patrons of Northwest Arts.
A strong advocate for WSU, Baseler was named to the WSU Board of Regents in 2006 after serving on the WSU Foundation Board of Trustees for the previous 10 years. He has been recognized with the Alumni Achievement Award and the WSU Foundation Outstanding Service Award. He led the efforts to develop a world-class enology and viticulture program at WSU, working with the state legislature for funding. Additionally, he has been the driving force behind Chateau Ste. Michelle events that have raised more than $2 million for diversity scholarships. In the early 1990s, his company endowed a distinguished professorship in viticulture.
Born in Oregon and raised in Washington, Baseler graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University and a master’s degree from Northwestern University.

Gary Steele

Gary Steele, chief executive officer of Proofpoint Inc., will speak at the 3 p.m. ceremony for graduated from the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences; the College of Engineering and Architecture; the College of Nursing; the College of Pharmacy; the College of Sciences; and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Steele, who received a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1984 from Washington State University, maintains his ties with WSU by serving on the Frank Entrepreneurship Program advisory board. He recently arranged for a donation of the Proofpoint spam software to WSU. Proofpoint, a California-based company, provides e-mail security and data loss prevention.
Before joining Proofpoint, he served as the chief executive officer of Portera, an applications company delivering solutions for the professional services industry. Under his leadership, the company raised more than $100 million and grew from its initial concept to $20 million in revenue. Prior to Portera, Steele served as the vice president and general manager of the middleware and data warehousing product group at Sybase Inc. His experience also includes business development, marketing, and engineering roles at Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard.
WSU President Elson S. Floyd will preside at all three ceremonies. Commencement ceremonies are open to the public; no tickets are required.
For those unable to attend the event, the commencement ceremonies will also be videostreamed at www.experience.wsu.edu.
The College of Veterinary Medicine DVM Ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 10, in Beasley Coliseum.
Various colleges, departments and programs will be holding receptions for their graduates in conjunction with Saturday’s commencement ceremonies. A listing of those and other commencement-related events is available at www.commencement.wsu.edu.