CWU News

CWU to Honor More Than 3,300 Graduates at 2022 Commencement Ceremonies

Graduation hug at previous CWU commencement

CWU will host three commencement ceremonies over the next week, with one in Kent on Sunday, June 5, and two more in Ellensburg on Saturday, June 11.

Central Washington University will host in-person commencement ceremonies during the first two weekends in June, honoring 3,338 graduates at the three events—one in Kent on Sunday, June 5, and two in Ellensburg on Saturday, June 11. Thousands of friends and family members were expected to join CWU graduates at the ShoWare Center in Kent at 1 p.m. Sunday, and in Tomlinson Stadium on the Ellensburg campus at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. this coming Saturday. 

Recently installed President Jim Wohlpart will address the graduates at all three events. CWU Board of Trustees Chair Robert Nellams will speak at both Ellensburg ceremonies and CWU Trustee Zabrina Jenkins will take the stage for the Kent ceremony. Nellams is the director of the Seattle Center and Jenkins is the executive vice president and general counsel for Starbucks Coffee Co.

“It’s been a long time since we have had the chance to give our graduates a proper sendoff, and we are all looking forward to sharing this moment with them,” said Wohlpart, who will be presiding over his first commencement since taking the helm last June. “They have all worked so hard, and I am honored to share this monumental occasion with them.”

CWU commencement graphicAnother 2022 commencement highlight will be when CWU alumnus Ron Sims, former deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, receives an honorary degree at the morning ceremony in Ellensburg.

Student speakers for the three events are Sage Piché (1 p.m. June 5), Shane Fitzpatrick (9:30 a.m. June 11), and Gizan Gando (2 p.m. June 11). Piché, who will be receiving her degree in Elementary Education and Teaching, will speak about the unrelenting challenges this year’s class endured on their way to achieving their goals.

“These last couple of years have been some of the hardest, and I think many can agree with that statement,” says Piché, a transfer student who spent her entire first year online. “But look at you now. Despite all of that, you’re still here. Of course you are. Because you’re amazing.”

Gando, who majored in Mechanical Engineering Technology, plans to speak about how his CWU degree will open a world of possibilities in his career. But what stood out to him most over the past five years is the Central community that supported him every step of the way.

“Here at Central, we are not just the degree we get; but what community we may have joined or sometimes even started,” said Gando, a first-generation college student who started the Filipino American Student Association. “This organization has helped shape the person I am today, helped me break out of my shell, and taught me the importance of honoring culture and history.”

Those who cannot attend the June 5 or June 11 ceremonies can livestream the proceedings at More information is available on CWU’s commencement page. Email questions to

Media Contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1518