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WSU Spokane commencement to honor 442 graduates May 5

WSU Spokane will celebrate 16 years of tradition when diplomas are handed out at the Spokane Opera House on May 5. The spring commencement program, which includes graduates of the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing and some programs of Eastern Washington University, begins at 2 p.m.

The ceremony will honor 442 students earning undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in computer engineering, criminal justice, the design disciplines, education, engineering management, exercise science, health policy and administration, human nutrition, nursing, pharmacy, social sciences, speech and hearing sciences, and technology management. Included will be 16 students receiving a post-graduate school psychology certification from WSU and EWU.

For the first time in the Spokane ceremony, the procession of faculty and graduating students will be led by the WSU mace, a traditional symbol of authority. The two-foot, nine-pound scepter – cast in silver and bronze and designed and crafted by Tim Doebler of WSU’s Department of Fine Arts – will be carried by Ken Struckmeyer, faculty senate chair.

Ben Cabildo, founder and executive director of AHANA Business and Professional Association, will serve as the commencement speaker. He has 30 years of experience in founding and directing non-profit organizations that advocate for minorities. Cabildo founded AHANA in 1999 to focus on business and economic development for African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American communities in the region. Governor Christine Gregoire recently appointed him to the board of trustees of Community Colleges of Spokane and as a member of the Washington State Global Competitive Council.

Jessica Herbes, who will receive a bachelor’s degree in nursing from WSU, will serve as student speaker. Herbes grew up on an alfalfa farm in Deer Park. She is a Whitworth consortium student who originally majored in music, but changed her career aspirations after she had the opportunity to go to Africa, where she visited a rural hospital and worked with a nurse. She said that while her college career was filled with many great experiences, one of the most memorable was a time she spent setting up triage clinics for primitive Amazon tribes in Peru.

The graduating class includes 147 students receiving baccalaureate degrees in nursing from the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing and its consortium partners EWU, Gonzaga University, and Whitworth College. All baccalaureate nursing graduates in Spokane receive joint degrees from WSU and from the institution at which they completed their first two years of study. Students receiving a master of nursing degree from WSU total 16 this year.

Statewide, a total of 220 undergraduate and graduate students will earn a nursing degree this spring: 125 with a bachelor of science in nursing, 56 with a BSN for registered nurses, and 39 with a master of science in nursing.

Another nine EWU students who studied in the joint WSU-EWU program, will be granted their master’s degrees in communication disorders from EWU.

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