Grads all score at Safeco Field commencement

Graduation in Safeco Field

Photos by Marc Studer 

The University of Washington Bothell welcomed more than 2,200 new alumni with the Class of 2018’s commencement June 10 at Safeco Field. The total class — 1,954 students receiving their bachelor’s degree and 302 receiving their master’s — is nearly 300 students larger than last year’s class. 

Graduates crossed a stage on the infield of Seattle’s Major League Baseball stadium, while more than 15,000 friends and family members cheered and celebrated in the stands. It was a home run for the University's 27th annual commencement.  

As she watched the graduates walk by on their way to their seats, Kathy Mitchell was happy and sad. “Sad saying goodbye and happy to have been part of them getting to here,” said Mitchell, academic adviser in the School of Educational Studies. She stopped and hugged students she knew. “I met him on his first day,” she said of one. 

Grads in cap and gownOne proud mother in the crowd, trying to pick out her daughter among all the black robes, reflected on the end of the college experience that the ceremony marked.  

“She loved it. She’s going to miss it,” Sandra Sultan said of Hannah Coleman, who graduated with a degree in Computer Science and Software Engineering. 

Janet Jacobsen took the train from Eugene, Oregon, to watch her grandniece, Darby Hartl, pick up her degree in Accounting. 

“She just kept plugging along and studying and working,” said Jacobsen, who added she enjoyed seeing the #uwbgrad18 messages on the stadium screens. “They made me feel connected to all these people I don’t know.” 

As part of commencement, graduate students receiving master’s degrees were recognized at a hooding ceremony and reception June 9 at Mobius Hall on campus. 

Wolf YeighChancellor Wolf Yeigh noted that 858 graduates — 44 percent of the bachelor’s degree recipients this year — are the first in their families to receive a four-year college degree. Eleven percent are international students. Diversity also was represented in ages, ranging from 17 to 67.  

“You worked hard. You made sacrifices. You powered through, and most importantly you finished strong,” Yeigh said. 

“With this diploma you will open countless doors,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said in her remarks. 

In her commencement speech, Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu shared her passion for social justice and public service. She told students the challenges they face are not insurmountable. “You are optimism in the face of hopelessness,” Yu said. “You are opportunity.” 

Paul Hage and Clinton ForiskaSpecial recognition went to two graduates who received distinguished awards. Paul Hage received the President’s Medal, which recognizes the graduating senior with the most distinguished record of academic achievement and success. Hage, an electrical engineering researcher, has been accepted into a Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins University. Clinton Foriska received the Chancellor’s Medal, which is presented to a student of high academic achievement whose commitment to learning drives them to overcome obstacles and also inspires others. Foriska, an Army veteran with a Biology degree, will begin medical school at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences.  

Commencement also recognized outstanding faculty, staff and alumni:  

  • Karam Dana, Distinguished Teaching Award 
  • Pierre Mourad, Distinguished Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award 
  • Jane Van Galen, Distinguished Teaching Award for Innovation with Technology 
  • Entrepreneur Taylor Hoang, Distinguished Alumna Award 

Grads crossing stage with diplomaAt Safeco Field, graduates were announced individually by name and received their diploma cover as the crowd watched the action magnified on the Mariners Vision Board. Each graduate also received a handshake from the chancellor or their respective deans from the School of BusinessSchool of Educational StudiesSchool of Interdisciplinary Arts & SciencesSchool of Nursing & Health Studies; and School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

To close the ceremony, Chancellor Yeigh told the class of 2018 to move their tassels to the left and celebrate being graduates of the University of Washington Bothell.  

“I’m very happy,” said Hebler Saucedo Campos, who is completing work this summer for a degree in Interactive Media Design. Saucedo Campos has been working as an assistant in the office of Student Engagement & Activities. Now seeking a career job, he’s like all the 2018 grads — enthusiastic to “see where we go from here.” 

Grads celebrate amid streamers

See Flickr album with more commencement photos.