Clark College holds first-ever virtual commencement ceremony on June 18

This year’s first-ever virtual ceremony features video from outgoing Interim President Sandra Fowler-Hill and awards graduate Evans Kaame

VANCOUVER – After what can only be called an unprecedented spring term, Clark College honored its 84th graduating class with something never before done at the college: a virtual ceremony.

Due to COVID-19, the college moved to remote operations in March, and all students took spring term classes online. In April, the college announced that it would move to a virtual ceremony instead of the traditional version, which regularly draws thousands of guests to the Sunlight Supply Amphitheater.

The 2020 Clark College Commencement ceremony was held online at The online ceremony launched at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evening, June 18 — exactly when it would have begun, had it been held in person. The ceremony included a video of remarks by college leadership, a video message of congratulations from faculty and staff, and personalized slides created by participating graduates that included their name and an optional photo and message.

In total, approximately 2,500 degrees and certificates were conferred on the next generation of our community’s workers, leaders, and scholars during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Highlights from this year’s ceremony include:

  • Approximately 400 graduates participated in the virtual commencement ceremony
  • This year’s graduating class included 371 Running Start graduates.
  • The ceremony honored students graduating with their bachelor’s or associate degrees, as well as those earning certificates, high school diplomas, and/or GED completion. This includes students graduating from the college’s program at Larch Corrections Center.
  • The occasion is also marked by the announcement of the 2020 Exceptional Faculty Awards: music professor Dr. Don Appert; computer technology professor Adam Coleman; communication studies professor Molly Lampros; mechatronics professor Ken Luchini; and communication studies professor Tom Stevenson. Note: separate news release on Exceptional Faculty Awards to follow.

About Evans Kaame

This year’s recipient of the Community College Presidents’ Award in Honor of Val Ogden was Evans Kaame, an international student from Kenya.

Kaame was born and raised in a small community in northwestern Kenya. After his father died, the family was thrown into hardship and poverty. When Kaame was in his early teens, he decided to leave home and live on the streets to ease the burden on his mother and siblings.  

In 2009, a charity called New Hope Children entered him into its program providing housing and education to street children. At New Hope, Kaame’s academic potential became realized. He graduated from high school in 2016 at the top of his class. However, he could not afford to enroll in college in Kenya.  

New Hope’s founder, who lives in Vancouver and graduated from Clark College, encouraged Kaame to apply to Clark. In 2018, after securing a student visa and scholarship funding from Clark College Foundation, Kaame enrolled at Clark as an international student.  

Kaame has thrived at Clark College. This past academic year, he has served as student government president. He has run on the college’s track-and-field and cross-country teams. He has volunteered with multiple local organizations, as well as at Clark College’s Penguin Pantry and as a Peer Mentor for international students. And he has earned a Grade Point Average of more than 3.9 while doing so.  

After graduating from Clark College with his transfer Associate in Arts degree, Kaame intends to continue his studies, focusing on business administration, political science, and comparative religious studies. He hopes to one day create a global initiative focused on leadership and management.  

Information provided by Clark College Communications.