Pullman – Washington State University President V. Lane Rawlins and Mark A. Suwyn (pictured), a WSU alumnus and NewPage Corp. chairman of the board and chief executive officer, will address graduates during the university’s 111th spring commencement on May 5.
Held in WSU’s Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum, Rawlins will address graduates during 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. ceremonies. Suwyn will speak to those graduating during the 11:30 a.m. ceremony. Rawlins will confer degrees during all ceremonies.
It will be the final commencement for Rawlins as the university’s ninth president. He took office in June 2000 and will serve through June of this year, when Elson S. Floyd, current University of Missouri president, will succeed him. Rawlins is the first former WSU faculty member to become the university’s president.
A noted economist and academic leader, Rawlins’ association with WSU started more than 30 years ago when he joined the Department of Economics faculty. He served as department chair and then as WSU’s vice provost. He returned to WSU after serving nine years as president of the University of Memphis and before that as academic affairs vice chancellor of the University of Alabama System.
Suwyn heads NewPage Corp., headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. NewPage is a leading U.S. producer of coated papers in North America. As chair/CEO, he led Louisiana-Pacific Corp. from 1996 until his retirement in 2004. Previously, he was an executive with International Paper and E.I. DuPont.
He and his wife, Patricia Rudd Suwyn, are 1967 WSU graduates. He earned an inorganic chemistry doctoral degree and she an elementary education bachelor’s degree. Members of the WSU Foundation Board of Trustees, the Suwyns are former co-chairs of the board.
The 8 a.m. ceremony will recognize graduates from the colleges of Business and Education. Students in the colleges of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences; Engineering and Architecture; Nursing; Pharmacy; Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine will receive their degrees during the 11:30 a.m. ceremony. Those in the College of Liberal Arts will graduate in the 3 p.m. ceremony.
Some 2,300 students – about 2,100 undergraduate students and about 200 graduate students – are expected to participate in the ceremony, said Teri Rales, WSU commencement coordinator.