TACOMA – For the 23rd year, University of Washington Tacoma students will engage in a ritual recognizing years of hard work and dreams. Garbed in caps, gowns and tassels, with family members and friends looking on, each one will step forward through the aisles and across the stage to receive a slim folder. Inside will be the assurance of a diploma conferring a UW degree “on recommendation of the University Faculty at Tacoma” and “given at Tacoma, in the State of Washington.”
The 2013 commencement ceremony is at 10 a.m., Friday, June 14 at the Tacoma Dome. More than 6,000 well-wishers are expected to celebrate the graduation of 1,386 students, a record-setting number.
1,202 degrees are being awarded at the baccalaureate level and 184 at the master level in business, education, healthcare leadership, interdisciplinary studies, nursing, technology, social work and urban studies.
One prediction for the class of 2013: they will likely stick around. 80% of alumni live within 30 miles of the UW Tacoma campus, an unusually high number when compared to similar universities.
Many graduates have already leveraged their new diploma to get a job. For example, more than 85% of graduates from the Institute of Technology who have interned at major companies like Boeing and Weyerhaeuser already have a job offer as they shake the hand of the Chancellor at commencement.
Tom Rochat, receiving a bachelor’s degree in information technology systems, credits UW Tacoma with helping him land his dream job in information security. “Two years ago, I was trying to feed my family on food stamps, and didn’t know if we would have a place to live. My UW Tacoma degree has transformed my life,” said Rochat.
Audrey White and her daughter Monique Hawkins-White are graduating together, Audrey with a degree in social work and Monique with a double-major in politics, philosophy and economics and business administration. Audrey wants to pursue a master’s degree in social work so she can devote herself to social and community service. Monique wants to make her mark through entrepreneurship and politics.
Students this year elected to highlight a student peer as commencement speaker rather than bringing in a dignitary from outside. Dee Ann Sonntag, the student speaker, will be receiving a bachelor’s degree in politics, philosophy and economics, magna cum laude, with a minor in human rights. Like 70% of her peers, she transferred to UW Tacoma after receiving her associate’s degree from a local community college. In the autumn, she plans to attend law school at the University of Idaho, and hopes to return to Tacoma after receiving her JD.
The Chancellor’s Medal, recognizing the graduating senior who has the most distinguished academic record, will be presented this year to Kylie Lanthorn, a magna cum laude graduate who majored in arts, media and culture, and minored in human rights. She is the first recipient of this honor to have entered UW Tacoma as a freshman, a category of student that appeared on campus in 2006 and that has been growing every year since. Kylie has interned at the Museum of Glass and intends to get a Ph.D. in communication.
What: 2013 UW Tacoma Commencement ceremony
When: 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Friday, June 14, 2013
Where: Tacoma Dome, 2727 East D St., Tacoma, Wash.
More details: tacoma.uw.edu/commencement