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Rep. Kevin Parker to give keynote speech at May 19 Whitworth commencement ceremony

April 19, 2013

State Representative and Whitworth alumnus Kevin Parker will address graduates at Whitworth University’s 123rd undergraduate commencement ceremony May 19. Whitworth President Beck A. Taylor will be the speaker at the graduate commencement ceremony May 18.

Parker will give his address, “Tomorrow,” during the undergraduate ceremony, which will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, at the Spokane Arena, located at 720 W. Mallon Ave. About 637 Whitworth undergraduates will receive their degrees.

Taylor will speak at the university’s graduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18, at 10 a.m. in Whitworth’s Cowles Auditorium. He will deliver his address, “Peacemaking,” to an audience including 100 graduates receiving master’s degrees in education, teaching, counseling, business administration, international management and theology.

Professor of Political Science Julia Stronks will offer the homily, “Revelation / Response,” for the baccalaureate service on May 19 at 10 a.m. in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. Stronks was named  one of Whitworth’s most influential professors by the 2013 senior class. She also directed both Whitworth's initiative to serve homeless youth in Spokane and the Lives of Commitment Program.

Whitworth Commencement Weekend events begin Friday, May 17, and will include a senior communion and commissioning service, a senior reflections slideshow and showcase of senior class talent, an art exhibit, a music recital, and an English department reading featuring graduates' capstone works. For complete Commencement Weekend details, visit

During the undergraduate commencement ceremony, Jenna Hansen will receive the President’s Cup award for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average throughout her undergraduate education. The Whitworth Servant Leadership Award, which honors a graduating senior who has exhibited an extraordinary commitment to serving the campus and the larger community, will also be given during the ceremony.

Parker is an entrepreneur who owns Dutch Bros. Coffee, in Spokane. He is also a leadership instructor at Fairchild Air Force Base, an adjunct business professor at Whitworth, and a state representative (R) for Spokane’s Sixth District. He graduated from Whitworth with a bachelor’s degree in political science, went on to earn his MBA at George Fox University, in Newberg, Ore., and studied leadership at the Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Education Program at Harvard University. He is currently a participant in the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowship for Public Leadership Program, which accepts 24 rising political stars annually from across the United States. Parker is a survivor of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, in Littleton, Colo. He has spoken internationally about his experience and has shared his views on leadership with a number of companies, nonprofits and political officials.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church.The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Mark Baker, associate registrar, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4332 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or