Hundreds celebrate winter 2012 commencement
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Timothy Egan, award-winning author and columnist with the New York Times, received Western Washington University’s honorary doctorate degree at winter commencement Saturday, March 17, in Carver Gymnasium.
Egan also gave the commencement address; graduating senior Bethany Fromong of Enumclaw will gave the student address.
The ceremony will included the presentation of the Western Washington University President’s Award, the university’s highest community honor, to the Haggen and King families. The award is presented to those who have given distinguished service to the university and the region.
Approximately 400 undergraduates and about 13 master’s candidates received degrees this quarter. Winter commencement includes all majors, and only one ceremony took place.
Egan, who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, served as The New York Times’ Pacific Northwest correspondent and a national enterprise reporter for 18 years. Egan is a widely respected author who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for his work on the series, “How Race is Lived in America” and the National Book Award for his 2006 work “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl.”
Bethany Fromong, the ceremony’s student commencement speaker, graduated with a degree in Theatre Arts. She played a critical role in theatre productions at Western, in the Bellingham community and beyond. She recently was selected to present her design concept for the play “Terra Nova” at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival held at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo. The daughter of Clark and Tricia Fromong, she grew up in Enumclaw and is a graduate of Enumclaw Senior High School.
The Haggen and King families, recipients of the President’s Award, have a tradition of making their communities a better place by sharing their resources of time, funds and leadership. The Haggens are long-time supporters of Viking Athletics and have endowed many scholarships for scholar athletes. The Kings also established an endowment for Western’s Wade King Student Recreation Center. Members of both families have participated in many community groups and leadership boards including the St. Joseph Hospital Foundation, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Mount Baker Council Boy Scouts of America, the Whatcom YMCA, Bellingham Rotary and a capital campaign to expand St. Joseph Hospital’s Cancer Center.
After commencement, graduates proceeded toward the stage, where they will pass through a corridor of faculty and the President’s party to deposit their Western identification cards or other mementos in a box to be buried beneath a “2012” paver in the walkway in front of Old Main.