UW Tacoma to honor 900 at Commencement

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Russell Chairman Michael Phillips will deliver keynote address

Nearly 900 graduating students will be honored at UW Tacoma's 18th annual Commencement ceremony Friday, June 13, at 10 a.m. in the Tacoma Dome.

Doors open at 9 a.m. for the event, which is free and open to the public. Michael J. Phillips, chairman of Russell Investment Company, will deliver the keynote address. University of Washington President Mark Emmert and UW Tacoma Chancellor Patricia Spakes will officiate at the ceremony.

Among the graduates this year is the first group of students earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree through a unique partnership between UW Tacoma and Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia. The program brings UW Tacoma faculty to Providence St. Peter, allowing nurses at the hospital to complete a portion of the program without leaving Olympia. 17 students will earn this degree on Friday.

Also recognized will be seven students graduating from the university's Advanced Standing Master of Social Work program, which allows students to bypass the first year of the MSW program and earn their degrees in two years instead of three.

The Chancellor's Medal for academic achievement will go to Heather Wait, who is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Social Work degree. A married mother of two, Wait managed an impressive array of volunteer work while at UW Tacoma, working with the Student Social Work Organization to lobby the state legislature to improve higher education opportunities for foster children. Upon completing her degree, she will become a geriatric social worker at Tacoma Lutheran Home.

The student speaker, Arabie Jaloway, overcame her family's prejudice against education to earn a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science Degree. A 2006 recipient of UW Tacoma's Next Step scholarship, Jaloway has been accepted into the Master of Science in Sustainability program at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Richard Knuth, assistant professor in Education, will be recognized as the recipient of UW Tacoma's Distinguished Teaching Award, and Joseph Sharkey, associate professor in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, will be recognized with the Distinguished Research Award.

UW Tacoma opened to 176 students in the fall of 1990. Four students graduated at the end of that year. UW Tacoma now enrolls more than 2,600 students. After the June 13 Commencement, the university will have conferred more than 9,000 degrees and certificates.

June 11, 2008