Saint Martin’s honors nearly 300 graduates

Staff writerMay 10, 2014 

Nearly 300 newly minted graduates of Saint Martin’s University celebrated their educational journey Saturday with family, friends and plenty of photos.

Proud parents Scott and Michelle Angle said their youngest daughter, Mandy, is the first in the family to finish college.

As the grads marched from the main building toward Marcus Pavilion for the ceremony, Michelle Angle snapped photos of her daughter’s graduation cap, which had the word “Navy” and an anchor painted on it in bright blue and silver.

The political science major and 2010 graduate of Timberline High School plans to pursue a military career — and follow in the footsteps of her father and siblings. Joining the U.S. Navy is something she has wanted to do since the third grade, according to her parents.

“We lived just down the street, so it was awesome for her to go to school here,” said Scott Angle, who spent 26 years in the Army. Mandy’s brother Dustin wore his Navy uniform to Saturday’s ceremony after arriving from San Diego. Her sister Megan serves in the Air Force.

“I like the fact that she decided to further her education first,” Scott Angle said of his daughter’s next career step. “I did something right.”

In her commencement address, Sister Karin Dufault encouraged her audience to take chances when navigating the twists and turns of life. She urged grads to hold on to constructive values, courageously respond to life’s callings, and “nurture the virtue of hope.” To stress the importance of graduation, Dufault cited a Harvard University study that found only 6.7 out of every 100 people in the world hold college degrees.

“That statistic shows just how special your accomplishment today is,” she said.

Class valedictorian Alexander Anderson, 18, graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering. His parents, Olga and Alex, also graduated Saturday after commuting to the private Catholic university in Lacey as a family for the past two years.

In his speech, Anderson praised Saint Martin’s Benedictine principles including faith, reason and service for guiding students’ personal growth.

“Education has granted us a deeper understanding of ourselves as well as our professional strengths and responsibilities,” he said.

Ryan Thedy, 24, graduated Saturday with a master’s degree in business administration — and has already scored a job with the state Auditor’s Office. Thedy also earned his bachelor’s degree in business at Saint Martin’s, and said he would someday like to own a technology business. He praised the university’s small class sizes and attention from instructors, who all knew him on a first-name basis.

The 2008 graduate of Black Hills High School said he was glad to finally finish his schooling and move forward with a career.

“It feels great,” he said, “until the loans come due.”

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869;

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