Commencement 2008

The university’s 116th commencement, a day of families and wise words under a buttermilk sky, wrote C.R. Roberts in the Tacoma News Tribune, and a day recognizing the following:

Degrees awarded: 627 bachelor’s, 99 graduate

Honorary degrees to:

  • Commencement speaker Gifford Pinchot III, co-founder of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, which emphasizes environmentally and socially responsible practices for business leaders
  • Gordon Klatt, the Tacoma doctor who founded the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life
  • Irshad Manji, author of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith

Fellowships for postgraduate study abroad: Fulbrights to Brenden Goetz, Kelsey McKee, Leah Smith, and Russell Wacker.Watsons to Emilie DeWulf and Rachel Gross.

Honor societies: 43 graduates inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, 35 graduates initiated into Mortar Board, 33 into Phi Kappa Phi.

Where are they going?
65 percent of the class directly to jobs;
17 percent to graduate school (statistics indicate that ultimately about 50 percent will earn postgraduate degrees);
5 percent intend to travel before moving on to the next phase of their lives;
4 percent will enter volunteer service;
6 percent undecided or other.

Top employers/volunteers organizations: Peace Corps, Teach for America, Boeing, Capgemini Consulting, Hitachi Consulting, West Monroe Partners, Outward Bound, AmeriCorps

Study trends: Asian studies and the classics are hip. The number of students taking at least one Asian studies course has been on the rise in recent years. With the graduates of 2008 that figure is nearly half the class, preliminary figures show. Seven members of the class majored in classics, a record for that discipline. Top-three majors in the class: business and leadership, biology, and psychology. 41 percent of class studied abroad.

Class speakers: Convocation speaker Eric Schneider, a summa cum laude history major, presented “The Journey Beyond Puget Sound: Mythical Heroes and Heroines and the New World.” Eric will study late medieval and early modern history at Oxford University next year. Commencement speaker Rachel Gross, a magna cum laude history and Spanish double major and a Coolidge Otis Chapman Honors Scholar, presented “The Search for Dharma.”