Grads, families celebrate 2016 commencement

Decorate cap thanks parents.

The University of Washington Bothell class of 2016 was applauded and cheered by a crowd of family and friends that filled the Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion and overflowed into Husky Stadium.

Nearly 1,300 of the 1,800 members of the University’s 25th graduating class took the walk June 12 as they heard their names called out. Many raised their diploma in celebration as they crossed the stage -- dancing, shouting, pointing to loved ones in the crowd, reveling in the shouts and cheers back from their family and friends.

See video of the 2016 commencement and featured grads.

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce enthusiastically congratulated the class. “You have achieved this and now you know you can achieve anything.”

Photo: UW President Ana Mari Cauce posed with ASUWB President Dominick  Juarez.

UW Bothell Chancellor Wolf Yeigh praised the grads and the University’s role in providing “access to excellence.” And, Associated Students of the University of Washington Bothell (ASUWB) President Dominick Juarez emphasized the importance of networking, especially with those who identify differently and bring different perspectives.

“Harnessing different perspectives brings about new initiatives, innovation, leadership opportunities and positive change,” he said.

Commencement speaker Sherman Alexie was such a deft storyteller he had the audience laughing about his surgery last December to remove a brain tumor the size of a golf ball.
 
He recalled hearing immigrant voices in the operating room for his latest surgery and thinking, “I’m an indigenous man being saved by the latest to arrive!”

Alexie initially referenced the mass shooting earlier in the day in Orlando, Florida, and said it was difficult to be joyous. He concluded by telling the graduates to “make your sense of humor and sense of grief equal.”

“Choose the joy, people, please,” Sherman said. “Find the joy.”

The graduation was a milestone for many parents, as much as their children.

Kevin and Marie Caldwell of Snohomish took a lot of photos of daughter Christie, who earned her bachelor’s in biology.

Christie studied amphibians in the UW Bothell wetlands and once sighted a really big bullfrog well-known to researchers as “Kaiser.”

Kevin Caldwell said Christie is his final daughter to graduate from college. Marie Caldwell said they always told their children, “Education didn’t stop until you got your degree. That was always the plan.”

Another proud parent, Amadanyo Oguara, was actually one of the grads, picking up his second degree. He graduated from the University of Washington in 1995 in political science and returned at Bothell to graduate with a master’s in cultural studies. “I never thought that I could go back to school again,” he said.
 
Oguara had three of his four children to see him graduate – A.J, Amaye and Amanda.

He spoke for many grads when he said. “I showed them I could do it.”