The Evergreen State College’s Red Square in Olympia turned into a sea of green mortarboards and gowns Friday for the Class of 2014’s commencement.
The program featured keynote speaker Winona LaDuke, a Native American activist and two-time vice presidential candidate for the Green Party.
“She did a lot of forward looking, and going back to the grassroots,” said Dawnadair Lewis, 54, of Olympia, who received her Master of Public Administration with an emphasis on Tribal Governance.
The faculty speaker was Sam Schrager, who has been at the college since 1988.
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“Graduates, you each leave here today ready to serve the public good in your own way,” he told the students.
“Get in touch with us, when the time is right,” Schrager added. “...We won’t forget you.”
According to vice president for academic affairs and provost Michael Zimmerman, Evergreen’s Class of 2014 included:
• 58 students in the Master of Public Administration program.
• 27 students in the Master in Teaching program.
• 32 in the Master of Environmental Studies.
• 1,187 students ranging from ages 19-67 in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science programs. Twenty-seven percent of the undergrads were students of color, Zimmerman said.
Several students from Evergreen’s Tacoma campus participated in the event, including Andrea Thompson-Benton, who received a Master in Teaching degree.
“It’s been 25 years since there was a master’s degree at the Tacoma campus, so this has a special meaning,” she said. “It’s exciting. It is an emotional experience.”
Wisly Raymond, 33, of Federal Way also attended the Tacoma campus. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in criminology and sociology.
He said he plans to return to Haiti to teach for a while before attending graduate school.
“Evergreen was just a breath of fresh air,” Raymond said. “I loved it.”