The commencement address speaker is selected to congratulate the graduates and impart the speaker's experience, values, and advice to the graduating class. This year's commencement speaker is:
John Haroldson, an alumnus of Central Washington University, is the first Latino elected to serve as District Attorney in the State of Oregon, and has served as a criminal prosecutor since 1988. Haroldson earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from Central Washington University, and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Oregon State Bar, and the Washington State Bar.
Haroldson has been recognized for excellence in prosecution by the Oregon Crime Victims Assistance Network, and has received the highest recognition for professionalism from the Oregon State Bar as the recipient of the Edwin J. Peterson Professionalism Award, and the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association as the recipient of the Paul De Muniz Professionalism Award. Haroldson was recognized by the Animal Legal Defense Fund as one of America’s To 10 Animal Defenders, and has been featured on Dateline and Discovery homicide investigation and prosecution specials.
John Haroldson has served as adjunct faculty for the National District Attorneys Association, the Conference of Western Attorneys General, the American Bar Association, the American Prosecutors Association, The National Law Center, and Willamette University College of Law. His presentations on Oral Trial Advocacy have reached more than 10,000 trial attorneys, judges, and investigators throughout Mexico, and Central America.
Haroldson serves on the Board of Directors for the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, as Chair for the UO President’s Diversity Advisory Community Council, and the Board of Visitors on Minority Affairs at Oregon State University. The son of a Scandinavian father and a Mexican mother, John Haroldson was raised both in the Pacific Northwest and in Monterrey, Mexico, where he developed a rich bilingual and bicultural perspective. Haroldson, lives is Corvallis, Oregon, with his wife, Maria Teresa, and their two Chihuahuas.
President and CEO of FinancialForce
Thomas (Tod) Nielsen began his own software company as soon as he graduated from Bothell high school in 1983. A graduate of the CWU-Lynnwood campus, he earned his B.S. degree in Business Administration and Information Systems and soon after went to work for Microsoft in 1988, where he stayed until June 2000.
Nielsen is currently the President and CEO of FinancialForce, a cloud-based applications company headquartered out of San Francisco, CA. Formerly the Executive Vice President of Platform at Salesforce, Nielsen joined FinancialForce in January 2017, bringing with him his deep understanding of cloud platforms and extensive experience taking technology companies beyond the billion-dollar revenue mark.
Nielsen has held many high profile positions throughout his career. He has been an executive at 4 of the top 5 largest enterprise software companies – Microsoft, Oracle, VMware and Salesforce. If he would be willing to take on an executive role at the German software company SAP he may end up with his own Trivial Pursuit card!
Nielsen is originally from Seattle but now lives in the Bay Area.
In addition, three students have been selected to speak, one at each of the Commencement ceremonies:
Ellensburg Commencement Ceremony One
Mr. Judah Bergeron, graduating Cum Laude, as a William O. Douglas Honors Scholar, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Law & Justice, with a minor in Spanish
Ellensburg Commencement Ceremony Two
Ms. Jordyn Tucker, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Safety and Health Management
Kent Commencement Ceremony
Ms. Sarah Peterson, graduating Summa Cum Laude, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, with a minor in Literacy