About 3,023 students to participate in WSU commencement

Deepi,-left,-and-Chander-MehtaPULLMAN, Wash. – About 3,023 students are expected to participate in Washington State University Pullman commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 9, in Beasley Coliseum.

WSU President Elson S. Floyd will confer degrees at all three ceremonies, which are free to the public; tickets are not required.

Ceremonies will be videostreamed for live viewing online at http://www.experience.wsu.edu.   The videostream will be archived for viewing afterward at the same Web address.

Find information about commencement parking, and a link to a parking map, at http://www.parking.wsu.edu/Commencement.html. Follow commencement updates on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WSUGraduation and Twitter at https://twitter.com/WSUCommencement.

Speakers will be:


Geoffrey Gamble, former WSU professor of anthropology and administrator and retired president of Montana State University, 8 a.m., College of Arts & Sciences and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

He is the author of two books and a dozen articles on Native American languages and is completing a dictionary of the Wikchamni language. He has won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as other organizations and has received service awards from the Washington, WSU, Montana and MSU.


Brad Tilden, chief executive officer of Alaska Air Group, 11:30 a.m., College of Education, Carson College of Business and Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.

Air Group’s focus is on providing industry-leading customer service, offering low fares, steadily growing its route network, making Alaska and Horizon the easiest airlines to fly and building a sense of teamwork and alignment among its employees. In 2013, the International Council on Clean Transportation named Alaska the most fuel-efficient airline in the United States.


Mimi Healy, WSU alumna and president and chief executive officer of biotechnology startup Lasergen, Inc., 3 p.m., College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and College of Veterinary Medicine (non-DVM degrees).

Her company is in late-stage development of a system that is anticipated to aid in lowering the cost and increasing the accessibility of personalized medicine, particularly in the areas of reproductive health and oncology. She has been a developmental scientist and has managed product commercialization. She received her M.S. in biology and Ph.D. in microbiology from WSU.

Other WSU graduation ceremonies include:

College of Pharmacy: 2 p.m. Thursday, May 7, Martin Woldson Theater at the FOX in Spokane, Wash. See http://www.pharmacy.wsu.edu/commencement/index.html?utm_source=index&utm_medium=undefined&utm_campaign=undefined&utm_term=undefined&utm_content=undefined.

WSU Spokane: 2 p.m. Friday, May 8, INB Performing Arts Center. See http://spokane.wsu.edu/students2/commencement/

Multicultural Graduation: 6 p.m. Friday, May 8, at the Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Event Center. See https://news.wsu.edu/2015/04/23/may-8-alumnus-to-speak-at-wsu-multicultural-graduation/#.VUENbk10yfA

Lavender Graduation for LGBT and ally students: 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 8, WSU Brelsford Visitor Center. See https://thecenter.wsu.edu/events/

WSU Tri-Cities: 1 p.m. Saturday, May 9, Toyota Center, Kennewick Wash. See http://tricities.wsu.edu/commencement/?utm_source=index&utm_medium=undefined&utm_campaign=undefined&utm_term=undefined&utm_content=undefined

WSU Vancouver: 1 p.m. Saturday, May 9, Amphitheater Northwest, Ridgefield, Wash. See http://studentaffairs.vancouver.wsu.edu/registrars-office/commencement?utm_source=index&utm_medium=undefined&utm_campaign=undefined&utm_term=undefined&utm_content=undefined

College of Veterinary Medicine DVM: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9, Beasley Coliseum.

Alumnus highlight

Deepi, left, and Chander Mehta. She graduated in food and nutrition the same year he completed his undergraduate degree in pharmacy.

A pharmaceutical sciences graduate will receive his doctoral recognition at the 3 p.m. ceremony after waiting 41 years. Chander S. Mehta will participate in the Ph.D. ceremony after missing commencement in 1974 because he had to report immediately for work at Texas Southern University.

Realizing he would be in Pullman during May 9 commencement, he asked to participate. He will be accompanied by his wife, Deepi Mehta, and two sons.

Deepi Mehta is a WSU food and nutrition graduate whose uncle and mother also are WSU alumni. Chander Mehta retired last year from TSU.

“Pullman has been – and is – a very special place in our hearts,” said Deepi Mehta. “Our first son was born there, and we have a lot of fond memories of WSU.”

Contact Chander Mehta at csmehta@gmail.com or Deepi Mehta at deepi@travelexpresshouston.com.

Student highlights

College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences: Rodrigo Bonilla is a first generation college student who is graduating in May with degrees in agriculture food systems, economics and Spanish. He moved to the U.S. from Mexico at an early age and his dream is to work in the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service division. Learn more at http://cahnrs.wsu.edu/blog/2015/03/trip-to-d-c-inspires-cahnrs-student/. Contact Seth Truscott, WSU CAHNRS communications, 509-335-8164, struscott@wsu.edu.

College of Arts & Sciences: Christina Sessoms of Federal Way, Wash., is a McNair Scholar who has been accepted to Purdue for graduate school in American studies. She has served as a college ambassador and WSU orientation counselor. She is active in the Black Student Union and with “Washington Bus,” a nonprofit organization that encourages young adults in voting/political participation. Contact Joanna Steward, WSU College of Arts and Sciences communications, 509-335-3933, jsteward@wsu.edu.

College of Education: Kelly Forsyth is a third-generation Cougar who plans to pursue a master’s degree at WSU. She is a sport management major who engages in sports despite severe asthma that limits her lung capacity. Contact C. Brandon Chapman, WSU College of Education communications, 509-335-6850, b.chapman@wsu.edu.

Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture: Haily Holt is graduating in electrical engineering with a computer engineering emphasis and a minor in mathematics. She is one of a team of students who will travel this summer to San Diego to compete in the national competition for underwater autonomous submarines. She has been working to develop a mini autonomous submarine that can clean boat hulls. After graduation, she will be working at Hewlett-Packard in Vancouver, Wash. Contact: Tina Hilding, Voiland College communications, 509-335-5095, thilding@wsu.edu.

College of Nursing (Spokane): To receive her Ph.D. hood, Yi-Hsiu Liu will travel from Taiwan where she is studying the experiences of widowers. Her focus is multi-method research in human development, which has included a study of the relational health of adolescent girls in chemical dependency treatment. Contact Allison Benjamin, WSU College of Nursing communications, 509-324-7340, text/cell 509-230-3520, alli.benjamin@wsu.edu.

College of Pharmacy (Spokane): Sean Leonard fought cancer as a child and is inspired by that experience to have an impact as a health care professional. He has been a leader in the Kappa Psi professional pharmaceutical club. Contact Lori Maricle, WSU College of Pharmacy communications, 509-368-6679, lmaricle@wsu.edu.

College of Veterinary Medicine: Military veteran Tim Woodiwiss is an older student graduating in biochemistry. He will enter the University of Washington School of Medicine in the fall. Contact Charlie Powell, WSU College of Veterinary Medicine public information officer, cell/text 509-595-2017, cpowell@vetmed.wsu.edu.


Teri Hansen, WSU commencement coordinator, 509-335-2531, teri.hansen@wsu.edu



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