Clark College to hold 85th Commencement ceremony June 17

College will celebrate the Class of 2021’s achievements with an in-person, socially distanced graduation ceremony

VANCOUVER – Clark College will hold an in-person Commencement ceremony on Christensen Soccer Field on its main campus at 6:30 p.m. on Thu., June 17. Attendance is restricted to graduates who pre-registered to attend the event; faculty and college leadership; and staff and volunteers. Masks and social distance are mandatory. A live-stream of the event will be available online at www.clark.edu/go/grad.  

About 525 graduates are expected to participate in this year’s ceremony, out of approximately 1,650 graduates from the entire academic year. File photo
About 525 graduates are expected to participate in this year’s ceremony, out of approximately 1,650 graduates from the entire academic year. File photo

This will be the first time that the ceremony is held on the soccer field. Traditionally, the college’s Commencement ceremonies have been held at Sunlight Supply Amphitheatre. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the college’s 2020 Commencement ceremony was held completely virtually. This year, as restrictions on public gatherings began to lift, the college surveyed graduates to learn which format of ceremony students preferred: virtual, drive-through, or in-person. The in-person format was the top choice of survey respondents. 

“Our students have navigated through so much this academic year — pandemic, economic downturn, social unrest, struggling with issues like job loss and food insecurity,” said Clark College President Karin Edwards. “It was important to us that we honor their achievement with a ceremony that met their hopes, while still conforming with public health guidelines.” 

Other noteworthy highlights of this year’s ceremony: 

  • About 525 graduates are expected to participate in this year’s ceremony, out of approximately 1,650 graduates from the entire academic year. 
  • Graduates include those receiving Bachelor of Applied Science and associate degrees, as well as certificates and high school diplomas or equivalents. 
  • The Class of 2021 will include the first graduates from the college’s new Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Services degree program. 
  • Some of the participants are members of the Class of 2020. When that year’s Commencement was moved online, the college invited graduates to participate in the next in-person ceremony. 
  • The ceremony will be led by Dr. Edwards, and will be her first Clark College Commencement as president of the college. 
  • The student speaker is Jaelyn Sotelo, a Running Start student who is transferring to University of Washington to pursue a career in political advocacy. Introducing her is student government president Josiah Joner, also a Running Start student, who is in the third generation of his family to attend Clark College and who is transferring to Stanford University in the fall. 
  • Also speaking are: Clark College Board of Trustees Chair Rekah Strong; faculty union president Suzanne Southerland; and Interim Vice President of Instruction Dr. Genevieve Howard. 

About Clark College  

Founded in 1933, Clark College provides residents of Southwest Washington with affordable, high-quality academic and technical education. It is a public community college offering more than 100 degree and certificate programs, including bachelor’s and associate degrees; professional certificates; high school diplomas and GED preparation; and non-credit community and continuing education. Clark serves a wide range of students including high school students, displaced workers, veterans, parents, non-native English speakers, and mature learners. Approximately three-quarters of its students are in the first generation of their families to attend college.  

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