Linfield said goodbye to almost 600 graduating seniors at this year’s Commencement Ceremony, held Sunday, May 27, in the Oak Grove on campus. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden delivered the commencement address.
Linfield College has seen a more diverse graduating class in recent years, with an especially significant increase in Latino and Asian/Pacific Islander graduates.
Golden Grads, individuals who graduated 50 or more years ago, also marched in the commencement ceremony, and several accompanied grandchildren.
Sen. Wyden delivered the commencement address and received an honorary degree in recognition of his longtime service to Oregon. He holds this distinction in common with the late Sen. Mark Hatfield, who was similarly honored by Linfield College in 1971.
Wyden was first elected to Congress in 1980 to represent Oregon’s 3rd District, and in 1996 was elected to the U.S. Senate in a special election. Lauded for his creative, common-sense solutions, he was re-elected in 2004, receiving more votes than any other candidate for office in Oregon’s history. He was re-elected in 2010.
The senator has been one of the nation’s leading voices on health care. In 2006, he proposed the first major bipartisan health care reform legislation in more than a decade, the Healthy Americans Act, which guaranteed quality, affordable health coverage for all Americans. Wyden also authored the first federal law to protect seniors from unscrupulous Medicare insurance scams, and his tough questioning during a 1994 congressional hearing exposed the tobacco industry’s false claims about the addictiveness of their products.
Long committed to prudent stewardship of natural resources, Wyden introduced a package of energy-related bills that take a market-based approach to green energy by focusing on ways to make alternative energy more competitive with fossil fuels. He chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests, and successfully negotiated the addition of 172,000 acres to the Steens Mountain Wilderness, preserving some of Oregon’s most stunning scenery. He was also successful in legislation that permanently protected almost 127,000 acres of additional wilderness on Mount Hood and in the Columbia River Gorge.
Wyden was integral in forcing the declassification of Justice Department memos allowing for extreme interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. In 2009, he became an original co-sponsor of the JUSTICE Act, legislation that would fix many of flaws in the PATRIOT Act and improve civil liberty protections. He also successfully led the effort to shut down the Bush Administration’s Total Information Awareness program, a data-mining activity that would have been the largest domestic spying operation on American citizens in history.
Earlier in his career Wyden co-founded the Oregon chapter of the Gray Panthers, an advocacy group for the elderly, and served as the director of the Oregon Legal Services for the Elderly. He earned a B.A degree with distinction from Stanford University and a J.D. degree from the School of Law at the University of Oregon.
Baccalaureate Address and Nursing Closing Convocation
Cheryl Roberts, president of Chemeketa Community College in Salem, delivered the baccalaureate.
Roberts is committed to educational diversity and has sponsored and supported initiatives to help all students succeed at the same rate regardless of cultural background. She helped launch the popular Chemeketa Scholars Program, through which high performing students in the district can apply to attend Chemeketa free of tuition.
Nursing Professor Fred Calixtro and student Heidi Frawley ’12 addressed graduates at the Nursing Closing Convocation.