Details Announced for 131st Commencement Ceremonies May 11- 12

a photo from Commencement 2023.
A scene from Commencement 2023

May 01, 2024
Gonzaga University News Service

The class of 2024 and their families and guests will celebrate Gonzaga University’s 131st commencement this Mother’s Day weekend, a particularly momentous occasion for the undergraduate students who started their college careers during the first year of the COVID pandemic.

A total of 1,148 undergraduates, 617 graduate and doctoral students and 167 law students are anticipated to receive degrees this year and be honored at three Commencement ceremonies. Both the law and graduate ceremonies are open to the public, while undergraduate ceremony requires tickets.

Here are the details for the Class of 2024 Commencement events:

Saturday, May 11

Law School, 9 a.m., McCarthey Athletic Center.

Dr. Robert Gates earned a Ph.D. in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University. Over the course of seven different Republican and Democratic presidential administrations, he served as U.S. Secretary of Defense and director of the Central Intelligence Agency, with President Barack Obama acknowledging his contributions to our nation by awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has also been the president of Texas A&M University, chancellor of the College of William & Mary, and president of the Boy Scouts of America. Gates will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and will be the ceremony’s guest speaker. Minnie Alexander, general counsel and corporate secretary for REI, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, and Ben Johnsrud will be the student speaker.

Graduate School, noon, McCarthey Athletic Center.

Angelique Albert will be the Graduate Commencement guest speaker. She is the chief executive officer of the Native Forward Scholars Fund, the largest provider of direct scholarships to Native students in the United States. She is a mission-driven leader with expertise in public service, philanthropy, social justice and providing essential resources and support for Native students to fulfill their academic and professional aspirations. An enrolled member of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe and first-generation college student, Albert pursued her undergraduate studies at Salish Kootenai College and the University of Montana and completed her MBA in 2015 at Gonzaga with a concentration in American Indian Entrepreneurship. Whitney Franklin, staff assembly president June 2020-December 2023, will be given the President’s Award of Distinction. And Tracy Madden-McMahon will be the student speaker.

Commencement Mass, 2:45 p.m., St. Aloysius Church.

Jesuit and guest concelebrants.

Sunday, May 12

Undergraduates, 9:30 a.m., Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.

Dr. Edward “Ed” Taylor, this year’s guest speaker at Undergraduate Commencement, is the vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at the University of Washington. He has dedicated his life to service leadership, improving academic access by addressing and reducing inequities, and ensuring that educational institutions are places of belonging. Taylor earned undergraduate degrees in sociology and psychology and a master’s degree in psychology at Gonzaga before earning his Ph.D. at the University of Washington. He is a highly respected voice in educational leadership and policy studies and has taught and written extensively on community, racial reconciliation and civil discourse. He has also served Gonzaga with distinction as a member of the GU Board of Trustees since 2007, becoming a Trustee Emeritus in 2024. Taylor will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree. Marianne Poxleitner, faculty president from April 2020-May 2024, will be given the President’s Award of Distinction, and Rachel Gotvald will be the student speaker.

Learn more about Gonzaga's 131st Commencement ceremonies!