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College graduations in Eastern Washington, North Idaho: What to know

UPDATED: Mon., May 9, 2022

Graduates stand Thursday during the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ commencement at The Fox.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
Graduates stand Thursday during the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ commencement at The Fox. (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

Graduating pharmacy and nursing students from Washington State University’s Spokane campus were celebrated Thursday with a ceremony at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.

The ceremonies mark the return of commencement season to the Inland Northwest, as WSU, Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, the University of Idaho and North Idaho College all have ceremonies lined up this month.

And while all are celebrating the Class of 2022, several are offering the chance of an in-person graduation ceremony for students who missed out on walking the stage due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Eastern Washington University and the Community Colleges of Spokane are hosting their commencement ceremonies in June.

Here’s what’s on the docket for this year’s ceremonies:

Washington State University

Undergraduate: 3,678 (all campuses)

Graduate: More than 1,050 (all campuses)

WSU Pullman’s Class of 2022 is around 2,875 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree students. That includes 131 doctor of Veterinary medicine graduates from the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The university is hosting multiple commencement ceremonies at Beasley Coliseum on Saturday.

Meanwhile, 405 students in health fields at WSU Spokane are being celebrated this week.

The Spokane campus and College of Nursing are to hold a commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Graduates are allowed to walk or take part in this 2022 in-person ceremony if they desire, said WSU Spokane spokeswoman Heather Marie Byrd.

At WSU Vancouver, students are calling on others nationwide to use the ceremony as a platform urging President Joe Biden to cancel student debt.

Of the 563 students graduating at 1 p.m. Saturday from the Vancouver campus, a number of students and faculty are expected to have “Cancel Student Debt” messages on their caps and price tags on their gowns to illustrate their debt burden, said graduating senior and organizer Ellah Allman.

“As graduating seniors, we believe this action aligns with WSU’s stated mission to educate students to ‘assume leadership, responsibility, and service to society’ and to ‘apply knowledge through local and global engagement that will improve quality of life and enhance the economy of the state, nation, and world,’” Allman said in a release, citing WSU’s mission statement.

Gonzaga University

Undergraduate: 1,235

Graduate: 786

Gonzaga has several commencement ceremonies scheduled for this weekend.

Students with Gonzaga’s School of Law will celebrate their graduation at 9 a.m. Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Gloria Nevarez, attorney and West Coast Conference commissioner, will serve as commencement speaker, while Class of ’77 alumna Christine Gregoire, former Washington governor and attorney general, will receive the university’s Law Medal.

Commencement for graduate students will follow at noon, with insurance professional and philanthropist Terry Payne to serve as featured speaker.

On Sunday, undergrads will walk the stage at 9 a.m. at the Spokane Arena. Angela Jones, an educator who has worked in higher education and Spokane’s K-12 system, will serve as commencement speaker.

Gonzaga will also honor students from the Class of 2020 with a celebration at the Spokane Arena this weekend. The Class of 2021 was honored with outdoor ceremonies last year at Mead School District’s Union Stadium.

“It has always been important to us at Gonzaga to invite you, your classmates, and guests to one day return and have the opportunity to see one another again and celebrate the granting of your degree in person,” Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh wrote in the invite to students.

Whitworth University

Undergraduate students: 640

Graduate students: 170

Whitworth will celebrate the Class of 2022 with commencement ceremonies at the Pine Bowl, the school’s football stadium.

The graduate ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. on May 21. Whitworth President Scott McQuilkin will give the commencement address.

Undergrads are scheduled to walk across the stage at 2 p.m. May 22 with a commencement address from math instructor Anne Trefry, who was voted by students in the Class of 2022 as one of the most influential professors.

Eastern Washington University

EWU is hosting a commencement ceremony for semester students studying communication sciences and disorders, dental hygiene, health science, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy at 10 a.m. Friday at the Spokane Convention Center.

EWU will celebrate Class of 2022 students taking quarter calendar programs with commencement ceremonies next month at the Spokane Arena.

Students in the colleges of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, Health Science & Public Health, and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics will walk at 9 a.m. June 18, followed by College of Professional Programs students at 2 p.m.

Community Colleges of Spokane

Commencement ceremonies for the Community Colleges of Spokane are scheduled for June 17 at the Spokane Arena.

Spokane Falls Community College’s ceremony will take place at 3 p.m., while Spokane Community College will follow at 7 p.m.

In addition, SCC and SFCC will also invite graduates from 2020 and 2021, who had virtual graduations due to the pandemic, to walk the stage this June.

University of Idaho

Undergraduate students: 975

Graduate students: 318

University of Idaho students at the Moscow campus are scheduled to walk the stage during two ceremonies May 14 at the Kibbie Dome. A full schedule is available at UI’s commencement ceremony webpage.

Former Seattle Times Executive Editor Don Shelton, a 1976 UI graduate, will deliver the commencement address in Moscow.

Commencement for students at UI’s Boise campus will take place at 7:30 p.m. May 17 at the Boise Center, while UI will celebrate graduating Idaho Falls students at 7 p.m. May 18 at the Idaho Falls Center. Luis Cortes Romero, managing partner in Novo Legal Group’s Washington office, will deliver the commencement address in Boise. The Idaho Falls address will be handled by Scott Cramer, director of the Cybercore Integration Center at Idaho National Laboratory.

North Idaho College

Students with North Idaho College’s Class of 2022 will be celebrated with a ceremony at 10 a.m. May 13 at the Christianson Gymnasium. A total of 825 students are set to graduate this year, along with 104 dual-credit high schoolers who will also graduate with an associate’s degree from North Idaho College. Lita Burns, the college’s former vice president of instruction, will serve as the commencement speaker.

Editor’s note: This article was changed on May 9, 2022 to correct the times listed for Whitworth University’s commencement ceremonies.

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