TCC Commencement June 15

Poet Nikki Giovanni will address Tacoma Community College graduates at the college’s annual commencement at 7 p.m. June 15 at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, 948 students earned associate’s degrees, up from 869 graduates last year. Of associate’s degree students, 629 were women and 305 were men. Graduates range in age from 16 to 77.

In addition, 179 students earned certificates, 25 earned high school diplomas and 255 completed GED testing through TCC, including 51 students at the Washington Corrections Center for Women.

TCC will also present its first Distinguished Alumnus Award to John Hall, president and chief executive officer of Rainier Pacific Financial Group Inc. and Rainier Pacific Bank. Frank Garratt, retired TCC faculty member and administrator, will receive an honorary degree.

Commencement speaker Giovanni is a poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator. She has written more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, illustrated children’s books and three collections of essays. She has received 21 honorary doctorates and a host of other awards, including “Woman of the Year” awards from three different magazines, as well as Governors’ Awards in the Arts from both Tennessee and Virginia. Giovanni is a university distinguished professor at Virginia Tech, where she teaches writing and literature.

TCC’s Distinguished Alumni Award honors outstanding alumni of the college for community accomplishments or career success. Hall graduated from TCC with honors in 1981, earning his Associate in Arts and Sciences degree. He went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Puget Sound.

TCC’s honorary degree recognizes community members who have made significant contributions to the college. Garratt retired from TCC in 1998 after teaching English for 20 years and serving 13 years in administrative roles. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois.

Garratt’s community involvement has been extensive: vice president, Tacoma Youth Symphony Board; president, Tacoma Narrows Rotary; president and board member, Puget Sound Fly Fishers; and board member, Tacoma Learning Center and Tacoma Area Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities (TACID). Currently, he is vice president of the Two Waters Arts Alliance Board; serves on the board for the Center for Independence; and is active with the Great Peninsula Conservancy. He is also a member of the TCC Foundation Board, where he assists with the Tacoma Wine Classic and is a campaign volunteer for the Invest in Your Future capital and endowment campaign. Garratt was vice chair for the campaign’s board division, and, most recently, chair of the advanced/major gifts division.

He has received the TCC Faculty Excellence Award; the Earl Norman Leadership Award from the Washington Association of Community College Administrators; the Rotarian of the Year Award from Tacoma Narrows Rotary; and the Al Allard Award from the Puget Sound Fly Fishers.