Review staff writer
Jackson Miller, associate professor of theater and communication arts and director of the Linfield forensics team, will give the commencement address for the fall graduation ceremony Dec. 21 in Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Miller was chosen to speak partly because this is his first year serving as the Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, Dean of Faculty Vicki McGillin said.
“He is, in many ways, the voice of the faculty,” McGillin, who officially invited Miller to speak at the ceremony, said.
Approximately 400 people are expected to attend the commencement ceremony, which will cover free speech and civil rights.
While there are not strict guidelines as to choosing commencement speakers, the speakers are generally determined by President Hellie and members of the office of Academic Affairs.
“I believe it has been a tradition that a faculty member be selected as a commencement speaker in December,” McGillin said.
As of Dec. 9, 111 students are expected to graduate, including students from the Adult Degree Program and the Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing.
“It’s a wonderful, kind of intimate ceremony,” McGillin said.
More people are expected to attend the ceremony this year because the pinning ceremony for Nursing graduates from the Portland campus will take place directly after commencement, McGillin said. In this ceremony, which usually takes place the day following commencement in Portland, graduates receive a pin indicating their completion of their Nursing degree.
“[Nursing students] don’t have to worry about which [ceremony] they’ll pull their family members to,” McGillin said.
The ceremony is important to the staff at any college because, McGillin said, it is the faculty’s “last chance to plant one last seed.”
Most agree that the purpose of a commencement address is to connect with the graduates.
“It’s got to be interesting and engaging, and it should relate to the graduates in some way so they’re hooked,” said Fred Ross, senior adviser and assistant to President Hellie.