Gonzaga University’s 119th commencement exercises are this weekend, May 13-14. The ROTC COMMISSIONING leads off the ceremonies at 4:30 p.m., Friday, May 12 in Cataldo Hall with a reception to follow. The LAW SCHOOL COMMENCEMENT begins at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, May 13 in the McCarthey Athletic Center with a social following the ceremony at approximately 11 a.m. at the Law School lawn. The GRADUATE COMMENCEMENT begins at 5 p.m., Saturday, May 13, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The UNDERGRADUATE COMMENCEMENT will begin at 10 a.m., (9:40 a.m. processional) Sunday, May 14, in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
Following are story ideas about some of Gonzaga’s 2006 graduates.
On to Johns Hopkins for Research
Gretchen Taylor, a senior from Carson City, Nev., will receive two bachelor degrees on Sunday. Yes, Taylor is earning a dual-degree with a bachelor of science in biology and bachelor of arts in international studies with a Latin America concentration. After graduation, Taylor plans to move to Baltimore for the research work at Johns Hopkins where she will assist with clinical trials in the development of drugs for gastrointestinal oncology. Taylor says she has been inspired to pursue this work because much of her volunteer work, fund raising and employment have been within the field of oncology, which is cancer. She even worked for the local oncologist while in high school and for the last three years volunteered through the local hospice, along with helping to organize the Relay for Life and other Colleges Against Cancer fund-raisers at GU. Her grandmother died of ovarian cancer and Taylor says she has found that people working in the field are among the most kind-hearted, caring individuals in the medical community. “Yes, they deal with a lot of tragedy on a daily basis, but the character of these people, especially that of the nurses, cannot be matched,” Taylor said. “At least that's what I’ve found.” Taylor hopes to work for a few years and transition into a master’s degree in public health, possibly moving on to a doctoral program in epidemiology or to medical school to become a physician.
J.P. Batista to Walk in Commencement, Parents Coming from Brazil
J.P. Batista, the stalwart senior center for the Gonzaga men’s basketball team, is scheduled to strut his 6-foot-9-inch frame across the Spokane Arena stage on Sunday to receive his bachelor’s degree in sports management. Batista, a devout Catholic from Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil, led the Zags all season and the Bulldogs’ star forward Adam Morrison referred to Batista many times as, “the heart and soul of our team.” Also, his parents are scheduled to travel from Brazil to be at the ceremony. Batista joined the Zags as a junior college transfer and averaged 19.3 points and 9.5 rebounds a game this season to earn first-team All-West Coast Conference and Honorable Mention All-America honors. Batista also tallied 13 double-doubles (points-rebounds) this season and scored in double figures in 31 of the Zags’ 33 games. Batista has been invited to the NBA Combine in Chicago in June, where many of the nation’s top college players will display their skills before NBA scouts in hopes of getting drafted. Batista is projected by many draft analysts as a low second-round pick. Batista also is exploring the possibility of playing in Europe.
Stackle Family Legacy Grows at Gonzaga
Peter Stackle, a computer science major from Boise, Idaho, will walk onto the stage Sunday to accept his undergraduate degree and thus become the third and youngest member of his immediate family to graduate from Gonzaga. Peter’s brother Mark Stackle graduated in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in history. Their sister Erin Stackle graduated from Gonzaga in 1998 with a double major in chemistry and English. But that’s not where the Stackle connection at Gonzaga ends. Peter’s sister Tricia Stackle attended summer school at Gonzaga and the Gonzaga-in-Florence (Italy) study abroad program. Peter’s brother Luke Stackle attended Gonzaga for three years before leaving to take a job in Boise. All of the Stackles are from Boise and attended Bishop Kelly High School there. All of the Stackles who graduated from Gonzaga – Mark, Erin and now Peter – also were in Gonzaga’s honors program. Upon graduating, Peter plans to move to Seattle and begin work for The Boeing Co. near the end of June. Peter was an intern at Boeing last summer. After a few years away from school, Peter said he plans to return to academia to get a master’s degree in computer science and he plans to eventually earn a Ph.D. in computer science.
Bound for Peace Corps or Foreign Service
Katie Stone, an international relations major from Spokane with minors in Spanish and political science, plans to enter the Peace Corps following graduation – that is, if she doesn’t enter the Foreign Service. Stone took the exam to serve in the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service but since the acceptance rate is extremely low, she signed up for the Peace Corps as a second option. Stone has not heard if she passed the Foreign Service exam but notes the Peace Corps process is well under way and says, “I can’t wait. Besides the fact that I have heard many amazing stories about the Peace Corps, the main reason I signed up was for the cross-cultural experience.” Stone aims to become a diplomat and help with the United States’ relations worldwide. She loves languages, has learned Spanish and would like to become multilingual. “The Peace Corps is the perfect opportunity for me to immerse myself in another culture, give back, and see what life is truly like in a Third World country,” she said. “I am on my way to making a difference and challenging myself through a career in the Peace Corps or the Foreign Service.”
Comprehensive Leadership Program Seniors Plan to Lead
Several of the 13 students graduating from Gonzaga’s Comprehensive Leadership Program this year plan to take their leadership skills to the next level. Micah Sewell, a double major in history and international studies/European studies with a minor in Italian studies, from Laingsburg, Mich., has been accepted to World Teach. This international teacher placement program is operated through Harvard University. Sewell will spend the next year teaching on a remote atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, a nation of about 60,000 people living on 29 coral atolls and five low-lying islands in the Central Pacific. Meantime, Megan Hurley and Kaitlin Bruce, two other CLP students, have been accepted for a one-year term serving the poor and marginalized in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Hurley and Bruce founded the Gonzaga branch of Heifer International, a global program to address hunger. Hurley, who hails from Monte Vista, Colo., and is a double major in biology and Spanish with a minor in religious studies, will work with the Central City Concern in Portland, Ore. The JVC placement is being determined for Bruce, who is from Colorado Springs, Colo., and who will receive a bachelor’s degree in international studies/European studies and a minor in sociology (along with the certificate that all CLP graduates receive). The Comprehensive Leadership Program is a formal academic leadership program that offers students valuable leadership experience while earning their undergraduate degrees. Launched in 2002, the CLP is not a major or minor but a certificate program intended to complement students' existing academic goals. For more information please contact Josh Tabor at (509) 323-3579.
An International Affair for Grads in Teaching English as a Second Language
Larissa Hebel, who works the night shift managing Gonzaga’s Crosby Student Center, will be among eight students, all women, who will walk across the stage Saturday evening at the McCarthey Athletic Center to receive master’s degrees in Teaching English as a Second Language. The women, many of whom are from other countries, will hold their own “pre-celebration” at the Crosby Student Center at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, before the 5 p.m. graduate commencement. “We are having a pre-graduation party for all of our parents, and a slideshow before graduation,” said Hebel, who, after graduation, plans to return to her position at Gonzaga, where she also earned a bachelor’s degree in education (2002). Hebel looks forward to her ideal work that will “bridge both worlds” that she loves – the tremendous atmosphere and energy of the Crosby Student Center combined with the opportunity to teach ESL classes at Gonzaga.
“Graduation is really special this year because so many of the parents of students from other countries are planning to attend,” said Hebel, whose stateside parents will make the trip to Spokane from Alaska. She said her classmates’ parents will be coming from as far away as Peru, and Japan to be at the ceremony.
Grad Will ‘Live Attachment-Free in a Spiritual Community’
It may be hard to find a graduate more thoughtful and contemplative than Gonzaga’s Christiana Ricci, of Bellevue,. Wash., who will receive a bachelor’s degree in exercise science on Sunday morning and then plans to enter the Jesuit Volunteer Corps service for one year. Ricci hopes to be placed at the St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Mont., where she would work in a group home for children. “My job there will be to help with household activities, academic tutoring, and spiritual mentoring,” said Ricci, whose life bucks any notion that the college-age generation is superficial.
Ricci, who hopes to attend graduate school for physical therapy in a few years, said she decided to spend a year with the JVC for several reasons. “I did not want to go straight to grad school because I think that I would lose perspective on life,” Ricci said. “I felt that spending a year living in an intentional community and working at a service placement would be more my style than working as an aide at a PT (physical therapy) clinic. This will provide more opportunity for personal growth in addition to actually helping someone else too!”
Ricci said she chose the JVC over other service organizations because of the four principles upon which it is based: social justice, simplicity, spirituality, and community.
“When else in my life am I going to have the opportunity to live attachment-free in a spiritual community?” she said. “ I see spending a year with the JVC as a continuation of the formation I've gone through here at Gonzaga. It takes educating the mind, body, and spirit to a new level because as I continue to grow I will also be in a position to help others do likewise.”
Last year, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps announced that 18 Gonzaga alumni were serving the organization, the second-highest number of all colleges and universities in the nation volunteering for the service organization. Only The College of Holy Cross, with 20, had more alumni in the JVC.
A schedule of important dates and a frequently asked questions section for graduates can be found at www.gonzaga.edu/graduation. For more information contact Susie Prusch via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
at (509) 323-5571.