30 Apr 2015

Heritage University Welcomes Evergreen State College President as Commencement Speaker

Heritage University Welcomes Evergreen State College President as Commencement Speaker

Heritage University will host Dr. Thomas L. Purce as commencement speaker during its 33rd Commencement exercise Saturday, May 9 at 10:00 a.m. at the Yakima Valley Sundome. Undergraduate and graduate students from the Yakima Valley and from regional sites in the Tri-Cities, Moses Lake and Seattle will participate in the ceremony. Overall, 331 students earned their degrees at Heritage this year.

Dr. Purce has served as President of The Evergreen State College since July 2000. Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Extended University Affairs and Dean of Extended Academic Programs at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. He had been with WSU since 1995. Accepting the Evergreen appointment was something of a homecoming for Dr. Purce, as he was Executive Vice President at the college from 1992 to 1995. He also served as Interim President of Evergreen for two years before that. He came to Evergreen in 1989 as Vice President for College Advancement.

Dr. Purce holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, a Master of Arts degree in education and a Doctor of Counselor Education from Idaho State University. He serves as a board member for the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, the Northwest African American Museum, and Washington Campus Compact. In addition, he is Chair for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Council of Presidents.

The University will present two student and two alumni awards at the commencement ceremony.

The Violet Lumley Rau Outstanding Alumni Awards will be presented to one undergraduate and one graduate alumna. The undergraduate recipient is Jorge Borunda (B.S. in Computer Science, 2010). Borunda is currently at the University of Washington where he is working towards a Master’s of Science in Information Management. He is expected to graduate in June, 2015.

The graduate alumni award recipient is Relyn Strom. In 2003, Strom graduated with a B.A. in Education, and in 2005, she obtained her Master’s in Education. She earned her Principal’s Certificate in 2011, and is now the principal of the Yakama Nation Tribal School. 

Heritage will announce the recipients of the Board of Directors’ Academic Excellence Award and the President’s Council Student Award of Distinction during the ceremony.

The Yakima Valley Sundome is located at 1301 South Fair Ave. in Yakima. Parking is free. Additional information is available online at:


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