UW News

May 4, 2011

Jim Donald, Patricia Spakes to speak at commencements for Bothell, Tacoma

Commencement speakers have been announced for UW Bothell and UW Tacoma. In Bothell, retail executive Jim Donald will address the graduates, while in Tacoma, outgoing chancellor Patricia Spakes will have that honor.

Jim Donald

Jim Donald

Donald is a seasoned executive with a distinguished career in retail corporations such as Pathmark, Wal-Mart and Haggen Inc. Notably, Donald joined Starbucks Coffee Company in October of 2002 as president of the North American Division. He served as president and CEO of Starbucks from 2005 to 2008, while the company saw some of its most rapid global expansion.

Early in his career, Donald earned a reputation for turning around financially ailing companies.  Donalds reputation in grocery operations spurred Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton to personally recruit him to help Wal-Marts then-struggling grocery business.

Donald was named one of the top 25 CEOs in the world in 2006 by The Best Practice Institute.

Donald serves as a guest lecturer at UW Bothell, where he shares his wisdom and practical experience with graduate and undergraduate students in the Business Program.

UW Bothell will hold its commencement at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 12, at the Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. More than 800 undergraduate and graduate students are expected to participate in the ceremonies

Patricia Spakes

Patricia Spakes

Patricia Spakes has served as Chancellor of the University of Washington Tacoma, since April 2005 and plans to step down this July. She has more than 25 years of experience as a faculty member and administrator in higher education. Prior to obtaining a doctorate in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, she was a practicing family therapist.

During her administration, Spakes oversaw the transition of UW Tacoma from a two-year to a four-year university. The university’s first freshman class began their its in 2006 and graduated last year. In 2008 Spakes completed a highly successful fundraising campaign that garnered $41.56 million in gifts and pledges, plus an additional $2.6 million from the UW Founders Matching Initiative.

During her career, Spakes has been involved in many community and civic activities, including work with the Mental Health Association, Family Services of America, several state and local commissions on the status of women. Current activities including serving on the Executive Council for a Greater Tacoma, the Urban Waters Endowed Chair Advisory Committee, Executive Board of Pierce County Careers Connections and the Tacoma Chamber Board of Directors.

UW Tacomas commencement will be on Friday, June 10 in the Tacoma Dome. Doors open at 9 a.m.; the ceremony begins at 10 a.m.