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Central Connections Magazine

Ready for the World: The Class of 2014

Ready for the World: The Class of 2014

More than 3,100 newly graduated Wildcats jubilantly flipped their tassels at the commencement last June.

They're a diverse group of moms, dads, daughters, and sons; poets and paramedics; engineers and English majors. They will be entering prestigious acting studios, going to medical school, teaching school kids the ABCs, working at Google, and planning to join the FBI.

Those who entered college four years ago started in the middle of one of the largest economic recessions in history, with skyrocketing tuition costs and a bleak employment outlook. Because Central ranked higher than any other Washington State public university in terms of student career success after graduation, these graduates will have the best chance to attain their career goals. The Educate to Careers College Ranking Index measures the improvement in earnings and employability a school provides to its students, relative to cost.

Heroes in our midst

"You are the new collective thought of the United States, of our world. And truly speaking, you are our future, you are our hope, you are our heroes."In an impassioned and personal commencement speech, CWU alumnus and 2013 National Teacher of the Year Jeff Charbonneau told the class of 2014 they too, can become heroes.

Commencement 2014 by the numbers

  • Total graduates: 2,764
  • Total degrees: 3,082
  • Bachelor’s degrees: 2,520
  • Master’s degrees: 237
  • Post-master certifications: 7
  • Female graduates: 1,433
  • Male graduates: 1,322
  • Seven grads were older than 60
  • Five hadn’t yet turned 20

Charbonneau said heroes came to his family's rescue the day his wife delivered his daughter via emergency Cesarean section. Labor took a scary turn when the baby's heart stopped beating at every contraction.

"I don't know how they did it. I swear to you, nurses are ninjas. They appeared out of nowhere. There was a vortex in the wall and out they came."

A short time later the doctor was holding a healthy baby.

"There were tense moments, until finally I heard my daughter cry." After the delivery, Charbonneau looked around the room and for the first time he focused on the people behind the surgical masks. Three of the nurses were his former students from Zillah High School, two of whom were CWU grads.

"They are heroes. They are the new collective us. They are the ones who will go out into our society and help save us from our downfalls. And here's the catch, graduates. That's you."

"I now rely upon you to help save my life and the life of my children. You're going to do it maybe in different ways. Maybe you will be a nurse, maybe you will be a doctor, but I need you to be educators as well.

To the poets that are out there, I need you to write literature. I need you to create a body of knowledge that will inspire future generations. To all of the arts, to all of the humanities, to all of the college of the sciences, I need you to become the heroes of society. And from this vantage point, from what I see here and what I see of the support around you, you'll do incredibly, incredibly well."



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