Students Singh, Cushman and Brown to be Honored at Commencement

Thursday, May 28, 2009
CONTACT: Elizabeth Fischtziur - (425) 352-3636 -

BOTHELL, Wash. - The University of Washington Bothell will hold its 18th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, June 14, 2:00 p.m. at the Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Bank of America Arena, UW Seattle. During the ceremony, the institution will award an estimated 772 bachelor's and master's degrees and recognize students receiving their Washington State teaching certificates. Additionally, it will honor its Student Commencement Speaker, Gurpreet Singh, President's Medalist, Melissa Cushman, and Chancellor's Medalist, Debbie Brown.

Student Commencement Speaker
The Student Commencement Speaker will be Gurpreet Singh. Gurpreet was chosen as speaker from nominations submitted by students, staff and faculty as an exemplar of both scholarly achievement and demonstrated commitment to the campus community.

Gurpreet is a former Running Start Program participant who will be earning his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration at the age of 20. While a student at UW Bothell, he founded the Indian Student Association and the Golf Club and held active membership in Delta Epsilon Chi (representing UW Bothell at the national competition), the Financial Management Association and the Hispanic Business Student Association, all while assisting with his family's business and maintaining a GPA higher than 3.6.

Post graduation he will attend a UW Exploration Seminar as he travels to Thailand for the summer. His future goals include graduate studies and entrepreneurship.

President's Medal
Melissa Cushman has been selected as President's Medalist. Melissa is graduating Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with an option in Global Studies.

Melissa is a well accomplished student, balancing the demands of schooling, career and active community service. Melissa is Co-director of the Umubano Sister School Program, which partners students in Rwanda with students in the U.S. and has volunteered with numerous organizations including Village Volunteers, Bridges to Understanding, Global Youth Connect and Never Again Rwanda. In 2008, she received the prestigious Sterling and Gene Munro Public Service Fellowship from the UW's Carlson Center for her commitment to community engagement.

Future plans include graduate study at Columbia University's Teacher's College, where she will work towards her MA in International Education Development with a focus in Peace Education. Post-education, Melissa will dedicate her work to sustainable development in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, using education for conflict prevention and peace.

Melissa receives this award for her exemplary academic achievements and contributions.

Chancellor's Medal
This year's Chancellor's Medalist is Debbie Brown who is graduating with her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with an option in Culture, Literature and the Arts. Debbie receives this honor for her academic and personal achievements.

Debbie has become a source of inspiration to many students at UW Bothell. A little over a decade ago Debbie was a victim of domestic violence and homelessness and was battling a debilitating disease. In 2000 she made a New Year's resolution to change her circumstances, achieve an education and fight for social justice, especially for abused women. Today, she has accomplished these goals, graduating as a member of the Tau Sigma honor society with many years of experience working on community issues.  Moreover she is an accomplished writer, serving at the UW Bothell Writing Center and receiving recognition as a co-presenter at the Pacific Northwest Writing Center's 2009 Annual Conference.

Debbie will continue her studies at UW Bothell, working towards her Master of Arts in Cultural Studies with long-term goals of earning a Ph.D., teaching and continuing her writing.

To learn more, visit

About UW Bothell: The University of Washington Bothell was founded in 1990 to serve King and Snohomish counties and north Puget Sound area students seeking bachelor's and master's degrees. UW Bothell offers degree programs in applied computing, business, nursing, education, computing and software systems, interdisciplinary arts and sciences, cultural studies, and policy studies.