UW Tacoma commencement ceremony June 8

More than 900 students, the largest graduating class ever, will be honored at the University of Washington Tacoma’s 17th annual Commencement ceremony Friday, June 8, at 10 a.m. in the Tacoma Dome.

Doors open at 9 a.m. for the event, which is free and open to the public. Best-selling mystery author J.A. Jance, who has written more than 30 novels and created the mystery series starring fictional Seattle detective J.P. Beaumont, will deliver the keynote address. University of Washington President Mark Emmert and UW Tacoma Chancellor Patricia Spakes will officiate at the ceremony.

Halley Hudson, a bachelor of arts in social welfare graduate, will receive the Chancellor’s Medal, an honor given to the graduating senior with the most distinguished academic record at UW Tacoma. Hudson, of Sumner, dedicates much of her time to improving her community. While at UW Tacoma, she lobbied the legislature for affordable housing, better care for foster children and health-care improvements. During her first year at UW Tacoma, Hudson received the news that she would give birth to a child. Although she had the responsibilities of caring for a newborn, she managed to excel in her classes and is graduating with honors.

The student speaker will be Jewelya Ianniciello of Tacoma, who is graduating with a master of social work degree. Ianniciello, the first woman in her family to earn a graduate degree, has dedicated her life to promoting awareness of cultural diversity and serving multicultural youth and families. A graduate of Seattle Central Community College and the Evergreen State College Tacoma campus, Ianniciello believes strongly that family structure is a key component of educational success.

G. Kent Nelson, senior lecturer in the Milgard School of Business, will be recognized as the recipient of the UW Tacoma’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and Anthony D’Costa, professor in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program, will be recognized with the Distinguished Research Award in honor of his work on the industrial development and political economy in India and Asia.

While the vast majority of graduates at this year’s commencement hail from the South Puget Sound region, some have come to Tacoma from as far away as Hong Kong, Korea and Sudan. They will receive bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Business Administration, Computing and Software Systems, Education, Environmental Science, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, Nursing, Social Work and Urban Studies.

UW Tacoma opened to 176 students in the fall of 1990. Four students graduated at the end of that year. UW Tacoma now enrolls more than 2,200 students. After the June 8 Commencement, the university will have conferred about 8,500 degrees and certificates.