Western Oregon celebrates 166th Commencement Ceremony

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University held its 166th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, June 17, 2023. 

The ceremony was held on McArthur Field under ideal weather conditions for Monmouth, Oregon. Following three years of alternative Commencement ceremonies, Wolves Stadium was filled with a standing-room-only audience who watched 774 students walk across the stage to receive their degrees.  

For the 2022-23 academic year, which is from the Summer of 2022 through the Spring of 2023, the university expects to confer degrees to a total of 1,035 students. This includes both undergraduate and graduate students. The evening prior, the Master’s degree candidates participated in Western Oregon’s first Graduate Hooding Ceremony. 

The pre-processionals included members of Western Oregon’s music department graduating class, directed by associate professor Dirk Freymuth. The national anthem was performed by music graduate, Zachary Vinyard, and American sign language studies graduate, Tayler Ristau. President Jesse Peters welcomed the graduates and encouraged the audience to cheer “We Are Wolves”. ASWOU President, Kodee Harwood introduced the Outstanding Students Recognition & Award recipients.

These recipients included Blanca Jiménez and Priscila España as the Outstanding Graduating Undergraduate Award winners. The recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student Award winner was Tanner Shadbolt. The final recipient was the Oregon Health & Science University Golden Lamp Award winner, Pamela Morigeau. 

The keynote speaker was Oregon Speaker of the House and Western alumnus ‘03, Dan Rayfield. The presentation of the graduates included Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Rob Winningham with assistance from Dean Mark Girod, College of Education, Dean Kathleen Cassity, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dean Hillary Fouts, Graduate Studies and Research, Dean Chelle Batchelor, Library and Academic Innovation, and Campus Associate Dean Angie Docherty, OHSU School of Nursing – Monmouth.  Board of Trustees, Cecelia Koontz was also in attendance to assist Dr. Peters as they presented the graduate. The recessional was GatorQuest directed by Dirk Freymuth.
Faculty lead the students from the stadium, through a congratulatory gauntlet on the way to the Grove for refreshments and to celebrate with their families, friends, faculty, staff, and WOU administration. This was a special time for our students and their loved ones to spend time with the faculty and staff that they built relationships with during their time at Western Oregon.

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