Commencing to Greatness
April 15, 2014
During graduate school commencement on June 1 at the Pamplin Sports Center, students completing graduate-level programs in 2014 will receive their degrees. As is the graduate school’s tradition, the ceremony will feature a procession with a bagpiper, remarks from Dean Scott Fletcher, and a student and faculty speaker.
The student speaker, Rebecca Taplin, is an accomplished writer and aspiring counselor. She grew up in Denver, and moved to the Pacific Northwest eight years ago. She earned her undergraduate degree from Evergreen State College, where she studied visual arts, philosophy, writing, and teaching while editing the Literary Arts Journal and serving as Assistant to the Director of the Writing Center. Before enrolling at Lewis & Clark, she answered calls at a local mental health crisis hotline, lead writing workshops, and taught printmaking classes. After graduation, she hopes to continue working with clients on an individual and group basis and advocating for social and systemic change.
The featured speaker is Kim Stafford, an award-winning writer, professor at Lewis & Clark since 1979, and director of Lewis & Clark’s Northwest Writing Institute. The son of poet laureate, prolific author, and longtime Lewis & Clark professor William Stafford, Kim has written a dozen books of poetry and prose, and made invaluable contributions to Northwest literary culture and civic life. His most recent book, 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do, recounts his brother’s suicide and his family’s journey to understanding. Stafford has also worked as an oral historian, editor and photographer. He believes that through writing, any citizen can speak out against injustice.
“I have been listening to my students at Lewis & Clark for 35 years. They inspire me with their fervent curiosity, their yearning to understand, to face tough memories, to prepare for heroic work on behalf of others,” Stafford said. “We negotiate this difficult terrain by telling stories, trying to get them right, so that what has hurt us can be transformed into remedies of others.”