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Graduate Commencement


Commencement Speaker: Kim Stafford

imageKim Stafford is an associate professor and director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark, where he has taught since 1979.

He is the award-winning author of a dozen books of poetry and prose and the son of William Stafford, the former poet laureate of Oregon and a longtime Lewis & Clark professor whose centennial birthday is being observed in 2014. Kim is celebrated as a teacher of writing whose contributions to Northwest literary culture and civic life are both wide and deep. He is a passionate advocate for the place of writing in public life, seeing it as a tool that any citizen can use to put forward his or her voice against injustice: “The problems of our time are political, ecological, economic—but the solutions are cultural. How do people speak their truth? How do we listen eloquently? If communication is the fundamental alternative to violence and injustice, what is the work of each voice among us?”

Stafford holds a Ph.D. in medieval literature from the University of Oregon, and has worked as a printer, photographer, oral historian, editor, and visiting writer at a host of colleges and schools, and offered writing workshops in Italy, Scotland, and Bhutan.

His book, Having Everything Right, won a citation for excellence from the Western States Book Awards in 1986. Stafford has received creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Governor’s Arts Award for his contributions to Oregon’s literary culture, and his work has been featured on National Public Radio.

Stafford’s most recent book, 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do, is an account of his brother’s death by suicide, and the struggle of a family to understand, and to live beyond that event. It is a story where “the writer reaches back through the difficult end to grasp the beautiful beginning, like pulling a venomous serpent inside out.”

Learn more about Kim Stafford.

Writing for Happiness Workshop

Join Kim Stafford, the 2014 Graduate School of Education and Counseling commencement speaker, for this free workshop exploring the practice of writing. 

Date: 10:00am - 12:00pm PDT May 31 Location: First Unitarian Church, Buchan Room, 1226 SW Salmon, Portland, Oregon 97205

This workshop is free and open to the public however space is limited and advance registration is required. 

Register now


Student Speaker: Rebecca Taplin, M.A. ’14

imageRebecca Taplin, M.A. ’14, a student in the Professional Mental Health Counseling program, says her experience at Lewis & Clark “allowed me to learn about who I am as a counselor, not just the ins and outs of the counseling itself.” Through her training, which ranged from working with clients at the Lewis & Clark Counseling Center to an internship at the William Temple House, Taplin says, “I’ve come to understand how necessary adequate care and compassionate treatment are. Quality mental health care depends upon valuing and working with the lived context of people’s experiences.”

Taplin received her undergraduate degree from The Evergreen State College, where she studied visual arts, philosophy, writing, and teaching. She served as the editor of the literary arts journal and was the Assistant to the Director of the Writing Center. Before enrolling at Lewis & Clark, Taplin answered calls at a local mental health crisis hotline, tutored writing, lead writing workshops, and taught printmaking classes.

After graduation, Taplin hopes to continue working with clients on an individual and group basis while while pursuing avenues to address larger social and systemic change.

I am so grateful for my time in grad school,” says Taplin. “I’ve had such amazing opportunities, met truly inspiring people, and learned an enormous amount.”

Read more about Rebecca Taplin, this year’s student commencement speaker.
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