WWU Summer Quarter Commencement Set for Aug. 18
|Heidi Grant Murphy|
BELLINGHAM – Heidi Grant Murphy, Western Washington University alumna and renowned opera singer, will receive Western’s honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts and sing the national anthem at Western’s summer commencement Saturday, Aug. 18, at 10 a.m. in Carver Gym.
Deborah Atwood, executive director of AGree: Transforming Food and Agriculture Policy, will give the commencement address. Atwood is an alumna of Huxley College of the Environment and Western’s Campus School.
Graduating senior Amanjeet Sahota, a Political Science major from Bellingham, will give the student commencement address.
Approximately 450 undergraduates and about 75 master’s candidates will receive degrees this quarter. Summer commencement includes all majors, and only one ceremony will take place.
No tickets are required for admission into the gymnasium. Seating will be based on a first come, first served basis. Guests who wish to watch the live televised ceremony can do so in the Science, Math and Technology Education (SMATE) building. The ceremony will also be streamed live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/wwu-live-events1.
The ceremony will include the presentation of an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree to Heidi Grant Murphy. Murphy was planning to be a high school music teacher and volleyball coach in her hometown of Bellingham before she came to Western, where her professors suggested she major in Vocal Performance. While in graduate school she was a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was offered a spot in the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. After 20 years at the Met as well as experiences with other opera companies such as the Netherlands Opera, Frankfurt Opera and Opera National de Paris, Murphy has revisited her goal to be a teacher. She is now an adjunct professor of practice at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
The ceremony’s main speaker, Deborah Atwood, can also call Bellingham her hometown. She is the daughter of the late State Sen. R. Frank Atwood Jr., who was a strong advocate for Western. At the Washington, D.C.-based AGree, Atwood leads a multidisciplinary effort to develop policies relating to global food security, bringing together leaders from throughout the food and agriculture supply chain from the farmers to the consumers. She has more than 30 years of experience in policy and legislative matters in food, agriculture, the environment and research. Before joining AGree, she was an associate for corporate affairs and public policy at Mars, Inc. She also has served in senior positions with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, the National Pork Producers Council and others. Currently she is on the board of ACDI-VOCA a nonprofit organization dedicated to agriculture development particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The student commencement speaker, Amanjeet Sahota, is graduating with a degree in Political Science and will attend Johns Hopkins University’s School of Nursing in the fall. Sahota says her diverse experiences in academics and extracurricular activities will help her become a well-rounded health-care professional. Sahota also participated enthusiastically in extracurricular activities at Western, such as mentoring prospective students, helping Kiwanis International with their fundraising efforts, attending the Munro Seminar and others.
Following commencement, graduates will proceed out of the gym. They will make their way through Red Square to Memory Walk in front of Old Main where they will place memorabilia in a time capsule to be buried under a stone paver with their graduation year on it, not to be opened for 100 years.
Commencement parking is available at no cost in most lots. Visitors must observe regulations for handicapped and individually reserved spaces. A shuttle service to Carver Gym will be available from a tent in lot 12A off Bill McDonald parkway near Fairhaven College, but cannot accommodate wheelchairs. The shuttle service will begin at 8:30 am and end at 12:30 pm. Guests in wheelchairs may park behind Miller Hall and Arntzen Hall. Attendants will be available to assist anyone with special parking needs.
For more information or for disability accommodations contact the Registrar’s Office at (360) 650-3701.