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Whitworth Commencement Ceremonies for Classes of 2020 and 2021 to Take Place in the Pine Bowl May 22-23

May 19, 2021

Whitworth University, in celebration of the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021, will hold three in-person commencement ceremonies on campus in the Pine Bowl over Commencement Weekend, May 22-23:

Saturday, May 22, 10 a.m.: Class of 2021 Graduate Ceremony (130 graduates degree candidates participating)

Sunday, May 23, 11 a.m.: Class of 2021 Undergraduate Ceremony (421 undergraduate degree candidates participating)

Sunday, May 23, 5 p.m.: Class of 2020 Combined Ceremony (56 graduate degree recipients and 277 undergraduate degree recipients participating)

The ceremonies will be strictly limited in size. Each graduate has received two tickets for their chosen guests. Additional family members and friends will be able to watch a high-quality livestreaming of events from home.

The following previously announced rules will be in effect for all attendees, regardless of vaccination status:

Masks must be worn over the mouth and nose while on campus and at the ceremonies.

Tickets are limited to two guests per graduate and are required for all three commencement ceremonies.

Additional gatherings on campus are not permitted. This includes spectators gathering along the fence of the Pine Bowl during the ceremonies.

Please leave campus once the ceremonies conclude. Mingling afterward will not be permitted.

The ceremonies will be held rain or shine but will be altered in the case of severe weather.

Professor of History Dale Soden will give the commencement address “If You Should Fall Behind, I’ll Wait for You” during the Class of 2021’s commencement ceremony.

Assistant Professor of Theology Haley Jacob will deliver the commencement address “Disrupting Normalcy, Changing History” to the Class of 2020’s undergraduate and graduate students during their combined ceremony.

Whitworth will honor several members of the Whitworth and Spokane communities with special awards. Professor of English Leonard Oakland will receive the George Frederick Whitworth Medal. Oakland is Whitworth’s longest serving professor, having joined the faculty in 1966. He teaches English literature and film studies and was on the first Core 250 team. Oakland is known for his classes on the epics of Homer, Virgil and Dante, as well as 19th-century Russian novels and 17th-century British poetry. He has worked on several Hollywood films and continues to host and produce a classical music program on KPBX, the National Public Radio affiliate in Spokane. 

Whitworth will present Distinguished Community Service Awards to two public servants who worked closely with the university to lead its public health response to COVID-19, Dr. Bob Lutz and Mark Springer. Lutz, M.D., MPH, served as the health officer for Spokane County from 2017-20 after serving on the Spokane Regional Health District’s Board of Health for eight years. He currently serves as the health officer for Asotin County; is a member of the Washington State Board of Health, representing local public health; and is the medical advisor for the Washington Department of Health’s COVID-19 response. Lutz is a board-certified family medicine physician and holds adjunct faculty positions with the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. 

Springer is an epidemiologist at the Spokane Regional Health District. He works in the Communicable Disease Epidemiology Unit in disease prevention and response, as well as with the health district’s emergency preparedness and response staff. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Springer has led the health district’s team of epidemiologists in their response. 

Whitworth is proud to also honor two employees who have led the university’s COVID-19 prevention efforts and case management on campus, Randy Michaelis ’74 and Jon Bosh ’04. They will be presented with Presidential Distinguished Service Awards. Michaelis is the leader of Whitworth’s COVID Response Team, as well as the dean of the School of Continuing Studies and graduate admissions. He holds a bachelor of arts from Whitworth, master of education from Eastern Washington University and Ph.D. from Washington State University. Bosh is the leader of Whitworth’s COVID Care Team and the assistant athletics director for sports medicine. He received his bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Whitworth and master’s degree in sports and exercise science from the University of Northern Colorado. 

For more information on Commencement Weekend or to view individual programs and watch the events live, please click here.

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of more than 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


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