Yakima, WA-Yakima Valley Community College will hold its 84th Commencement Ceremony on June 13, 2013 at 7:00pm on Parker Field on the YVCC Yakima Campus. YVCC will award 1,127 degrees and certificates this year to 1,001 students ranging in age from 18 to 65.
Commencement Speaker: Mr. Marty Brown – Brown is the Executive Director of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), an agency that administers Washington’s system of 34 community and technical colleges. Brown earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and a juris doctor from the University of Puget Sound Law School. He has a 34-year history in policy development and budgeting for the state legislature and governor’s office. He began his employment in Olympia in 1978 as a Senate committee staff member, and advanced to Senate Democrat Caucus attorney, Senate Democrat staff director, and secretary of the Senate. In 1997 Brown was named director of legislative affairs for incoming Governor Gary Locke, and later became deputy chief of staff and director of the Office of Financial Management. In 2005, under Governor Christine Gregoire, Brown was appointed as her director of legislative affairs and then had the opportunity to once again serve as the director of Office of Financial Management until he assumed his new role with SBCTC in September 2012.
Student Commencement Speaker: Mrs. Donelle Pitzer – Pitzer has completed her associate in arts transfer degree and plans to transfer to a four-year university. She is interested in studying hotel management and event planning. During her time at YVCC Pitzer maintained a 3.3 GPA and appeared several times on YVCC’s President’s List. Her journey to her degree started with earing her GED at YVCC and then transiting to college-level courses. She was involved in campus life and participated in the drama productions. “YVCC is not just my school; it has become a part of who I am,” stated Pitzer. “What I have learned on this campus was so much more than just academics and will be essential knowledge when living my story. I learned that I am capable of doing so much more than I used to give myself credit for. In fact, YVCC has given me the confidence to realize I can do whatever I set my mind to. This is something we all have the ability to do. YVCC has not only helped me to realize my potential but has given me the tools to continue with my story and write my own ending,” she concluded.
Distinguished Service Award: The Larson Gallery Guild -The Larson Gallery Guild is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the Larson Gallery and the artists who participate in its programs. The LGG works in partnership with the Larson Gallery and Yakima Valley Community College to provide a cultural resource that benefits the entire Central Washington region. The oldest gallery of its kind in Central Washington, the Larson Gallery exhibits the finest and most progressive art from local, regional, and national artists in curated solo and small group exhibitions, as well as large juried competitions. The gallery also hosts several educational opportunities for YVCC students, K-12 students, and community members. These opportunities include a summer workshop series, artist lectures, and tours.
Emeritus Faculty Award: Ms. Sue Myers – A long-standing Workforce Education Instructor, Myers taught nursing courses for over 38 years before she retired in 2008. Myers grew up in Port Angeles, Washington and graduated from Port Angeles High School. Following high school she attended the University of Washington where she earned her bachelor of science degree in nursing. She completed her graduate study at the University of Washington and Central Washington University and then began her nursing career working in the Obstetrics Department at University Hospital in Seattle. She joined the faculty in YVCC’s Nursing Department in 1970. “I was interested in teaching,” stated Myers. “I wanted to pass on education to students and to continue my own learning. During my tenure at YVCC I was privileged to work with outstanding colleagues in the Nursing Department. I was able to participate in curriculum revision and accreditation self-studies,” she continued. “I also had the opportunity to experience learning with a large number of students. Teaching at YVCC was very rewarding,” she concluded.
Sherrie & Daryl Parker Faculty Award: Ms. Rachel Dorn – An instructor in the Arts and Sciences Division, Dorn teaches various art courses in addition to running the clay studio. Growing up in Wisconsin, Rachel Dorn developed a love for art at a young age. By the time she was a sophomore in high school, she knew that it would be her life’s passion. Focusing her collegiate search on schools with a good art programs, she decided to attend the Coe College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. Working as a professional artist, she attended fairs and sought out galleries to show and sell her work. During this time she also began teaching a summer art program as well as other classes and realized that she wanted to teach. She returned to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned her masters of arts and masters of fine arts degrees. Then in 2006 she was hired to teach at YVCC. “To me the most rewarding aspect of teaching is when a student has been struggling with a concept or technique, which happens often with clay, and then they suddenly get it and are able to make it work. It is so cool being able to witness a student’s epiphany and have the process repeated each quarter with a new batch of students,” stated Dorn.
Presented by the YVCC Foundation
Robert M. Leadon Excellence in Teaching: Dr. Timothy D. Jeske – An instructor in the Arts and Sciences Division, Jeske teaches courses in political science and economic history. Jeske comes from a pioneer family to Eastern Washington and was primarily raised in Quincy. After completing a year as an exchange student to Australia he returned to Boise, where his parents had retired. He graduated from Boise High School and then went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in political science from Boise State University. Following his undergraduate work, he returned to Washington to earn his master’s degree at the University of Washington with the goal of becoming a lawyer. During that time he had the opportunity to work as a graduate teaching assistant and discovered that he had a passion for teaching. His first full-time teaching employment was at Whitman College. Following a brief break from teaching to finish his doctoral dissertation Jeske was hired at YVCC. This fall Tim will celebrate his 20th anniversary with the college. In addition Jeske contributes to the institution serving on assessment, accreditation, and curriculum committees. He has also been the driving force behind YVCC’s Faculty Lecture Series. With the first lecture hosted in 2001, the series has continued to be an important outreach effort.
Presented by the YVCC Foundation
Classified Employee of the Year: Debbie McBride – McBride works as a Copy Center Lead in YVCC’s Print Shop and Mailroom. At 18, through a partnership with People for People, Debbie began working at YVCC’s Print Shop. It was for a six-month internship. Following that opportunity she began her life-long career in the local print industry. In 2000 Debbie returned to YVCC as the Copy Center Lead. Debbie handles a variety of tasks related to managing YVCC’s Print Shop and Mailroom. Her duties range from graphic design, digital printing, copying, mail services, budget management, and bindery. Debbie accomplishes these tasks while providing excellent customer service and support to all of YVCC’s departments.
Presented by the YVCC Alumni Association
Distinguished Alumnus Award: Dr. Gary Tollefson -Tollefson joined the administrative team at Yakima Valley Community College in 1981. During his tenure he served the college in several different roles in the student services and instruction divisions. In 1990 he became dean of professional/technical programs followed by appointment as dean of arts and sciences. Beginning in 1994 he became vice president of instruction and student services a position he held until spring 2003. In May 2003 he was appointed president of Skagit Valley College, where he served until his retirement in 2012. He is currently working as a consultant for the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) for Higher Education in Dallas, Texas.
YVCC commencement is open to the public. No admission is required. For additional details, including complete bios and photographs of the speakers and award recipients visit www.yvcc.edu/commencement.