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Whitworth Political Science Chair Kathryn Lee to Speak at Commencement Ceremony on May 20

May 16, 2018
Professor Kathryn Lee, chair of the Whitworth University Political Science Department, will give the keynote speech, “May You Never Not... With a Nod to Mary Oliver” at the university’s 128th undergraduate commencement on Sunday, May 20, at 3 p.m. at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, located at 720 W. Mallon Ave.

The address will take the form of an informal prayer for the nearly 600 students who make up the Class of 2018. In part, the address will answer the question, “What does one need to continue to make a difference in the world?”

Lee’s Whitworth roots run deep – her great-aunt, Ruth Lee, was a member of the Whitworth Class of 1915, and her great-great-uncle, Wallace Lee, was a Whitworth dean. Lee spent two summers working for the U.S. Department of Justice and a year working for the late Washington State Supreme Court Justice Charles Z. Smith.

During the undergraduate commencement ceremony, seven students will receive the President’s Cup award for their exceptional academic success at Whitworth. This year’s award recipients are Matthew Boardman, Stephen Fleming, Ryan Karpenko, Grace Klinkhammer, Karina Lees, Geoffrey Rich and Anna Waltar. All have already achieved incredible experience in their chosen fields. Waltar was a volunteer at the refugee resettlement agency World Relief Spokane, and she studied abroad in Guatemala and Nicaragua through Whitworth’s Central America Study & Service Program. Upon graduating, she plans to serve and advocate for refugee and immigrant communities.

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 be announced during the ceremony.

Whitworth President Beck A. Taylor will speak at the university’s graduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19, at 10 a.m. in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. He will present an address, “Stewarding Your Talents,” to about 160 graduate students receiving degrees in arts, education, teaching, business administration, international management and theology.

Associate Professor of Theology Jonathan Moo, chosen by seniors as the most influential professor, will offer the homily for the annual baccalaureate service, on Sunday, May 20, at 10 a.m. in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.

For complete details on Commencement Weekend at Whitworth, please click here for undergraduate activities and here for graduate activities. To view a livestream of both commencement ceremonies, click here.

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 more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or