Student and Faculty Speakers - Commencement Weekend 2019

Dear Members of the Campus Community:

I am pleased to announce the student and faculty speakers who will celebrate the Puget Sound Class of 2019. Academic Convocation takes place on Saturday, May 18 at 2 p.m. in Schneebeck Concert Hall.  Puget Sound’s 127th Commencement Ceremony will convene on Sunday, May 19 at 2 p.m. in Baker Stadium.

The selection committees have named:

  • Geoff Proehl, professor of theatre arts, as the Academic Convocation faculty speaker
  • Lura Morton ’19 as the Academic Convocation student speaker
  • Megan Sanders ’19 as the Commencement student speaker

Faculty Speaker for Academic Convocation:
Professor of Theatre Arts Geoff Proehl
 (Ph.D., Stanford University) will deliver the Academic Convocation address, “The First Year After . . .”  In addition to his work as a teacher, director, and dramaturg, Professor Proehl has regularly taught first-year residential seminars in the humanities and been actively involved in all phases of student advising.

His book Toward a Dramaturgical Sensibility received the Outstanding Book Award in 2009 from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. With Professor Grace Livingston (African American Studies), he dramaturged and directed premiers of three plays by C. Rosalind Bell – The New Orleans Monologues, 1620 Bank Street, and My Louisiana Project – for Race and Pedagogy Conferences in 2006, 2010, and 2018. In 2016, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas awarded him its highest honor: the Lessing Award for Lifetime Achievement. At the end of this academic year, Professor Proehl will retire from a life in teaching that began in 1973 to travel, garden, and write.

Student Speaker for Academic Convocation:
Academic Convocation Speaker Lura Morton, from Moscow, Idaho, will graduate with a B.A. in Comparative Politics and Government and a minor in Religious Studies. Lura has learned to value the art of listening, especially in difficult conversations, through her work as a writing advisor and Arabic tutor in the Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching; as a four-year varsity Women’s Soccer player, one-year Track and Field sprinter; as a student staff member in the Department of Athletics; as a Big Sister through Big Brothers, Big Sisters for four years as a member of the Puget Sound Honors Program and recipient of the Fred S. Wyatt Faculty Nominated Scholarship; as a researcher of female cross-party coalition building in Morocco’s House of Representatives; as an intern for two summers in Washington, D.C., first, with the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and, second, with the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and as a Research Partner with Freedom Education Project Puget Sound. Lura’s Convocation address is titled, “A Puget Sound Education – The Strength of Engaging in Conversations and the Power of Listening.”

Student Speaker for Commencement:
Commencement Speaker Megan Sanders, from Littleton, Colorado, will graduate with a B.A. in International Political Economy and a B.A. in Politics and Government, a minor in Spanish, and as a Coolidge Otis Chapman Honors Scholar. In her time at UPS, Megan has shared a variety of experiences with her fellow Puget Sound students as a two-year swimmer, a dancer in the Repertory Dance Group, as President of the Panhellenic Council and Pi Beta Phi, as the Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator, and as a New Student Orientation Leader. Her participation on campus—ranging from the Sexual and Gender Violence Committee to the Associated Students of Puget Sound (ASUPS) Governance Committee and her honors and awards, including the receipt of the Lora Bryning Scholarship for Excellence in Writing in 2018—speak to her broad commitment to the university’s communities balanced with the pursuit of academic excellence. Beyond her campus involvement, Megan has been an intern with the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. and Bogota, Colombia. In her commencement address, titled “Curiosity and Humanity: Embracing our ‘Boundless Potential,’” Megan considers the significance and impact of difficult questions. 

Please join with me in congratulating and expressing appreciation to Lura, Megan, and Professor Proehl!


Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. |  President