Noted journalist, politicians will address region’s newest college grads

debbie.cafazzo@thenewstribune.comMay 6, 2014 

Two political figures and a globe-trotting journalist who’s also a local college graduate will serve as guest speakers at university commencement ceremonies in Pierce County this spring. All events are open to the public.

The journalist, Rachel Martin, is the host of National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Sunday.” She graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 1996 before launching a career in journalism that took her to Europe, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C. She will address her alma mater’s class of 2014 at the commencement ceremony on the Tacoma campus May 18.

A former NPR national security correspondent and an ABC News White House correspondent, the Idaho native earned a degree in political science at UPS and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University. In addition to reporting from Afghanistan and Iraq, she also covered the mass killings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and the 2005 bombing of the London Underground system.

“Rachel Martin’s work is a breath of fresh air in modern broadcast journalism,” said UPS President Ronald R. Thomas. He added that the university is “proud to call her one of our own.”

The following weekend, retired Congressman Norm Dicks will deliver the main address at Pacific Lutheran University’s commencement ceremony at the Tacoma Dome on May 24.

Dicks, a Democrat from Belfair, spent more than three decades in Congress, from 1977 to 2013, making him Washington state’s longest-serving member in the U.S. House. He now works as senior policy adviser for the Ness Van Feldman law firm, which has offices in Seattle and in the nation’s capital.

“After almost 36 years in Congress, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks closed out a career as one of the most powerful people ever to represent Washington state,” said PLU President Thomas W. Krise.

Krise noted that even after Dicks’ congressional district was remapped and PLU’s Parkland campus was removed from it, he continued to be helpful to the university.

On June 13, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson will be the keynote speaker addressing graduates of the University of Washington Tacoma at the Tacoma Dome.

Ferguson, a fourth-generation Washingtonian, is a former King County Council member. In his first term as the state’s chief legal officer, he directs 500 attorneys and 600 professional staff providing legal services to state agencies, the governor and the Legislature.

Also speaking at the UWT commencement ceremony will be University of Washington President Michael Young and interim UWT Chancellor Kenyon Chan.

In addition to UWT’s main June commencement, many of the university’s academic programs — especially its graduate school programs — host smaller, separate ceremonies.

This year, UWT will graduate its first cohort of students receiving the new master’s in cybersecurity and leadership degree, one of only three such degree programs in the nation, according to the university.

Commencement ceremonies For local universities

University of Puget Sound

2-4:30 p.m. May 18

Baker Stadium on the Tacoma campus

Pacific Lutheran University

2:30 p.m. May 24

Tacoma Dome

University of Washington Tacoma

10 a.m. June 13

Tacoma Dome

All events are open to the public.

Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635 @DebbieCafazzo

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