UW Today

June 1, 2011

Commencement ceremonies scheduled for UW graduates

News and Information

About 4,850 graduates are expected to attend the University of Washington commencement ceremonies in Seattle on Saturday, June 11.  Interim President Phyllis Wise will officiate.

The ceremonies at Husky Stadium start at 2 p.m.  Graduates begin to line up at noon.  The academic procession begins at 1:30.  The ceremony takes 2½ hours and could be shortened in the event of inclement weather.

The ceremony will be telecast live on UWTV from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on channel 27 throughout the Puget Sound region and also online; more information is available on the website.

The commencement speaker is U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

An audience of about 40,000 family members and guests is expected.  Degrees are awarded to those who have completed academic requirements some time during the 2010-2011 academic year.  An estimated 12,155 degrees will be awarded – 8,000 bachelor’s degrees, 2,930 master’s degrees, 700 doctorates and 525 professional degrees.

The graduates of each school or college are led into the stadium by students carrying special banners known as gonfalons. There is a long tradition involving the much sought-after position of gonfaloniere, dating to the Renaissance, when the positions were held by the most prominent citizens in central and northern Italian communes.

At the UW Commencement, the position of gonfaloniere is often bestowed on a graduating student by a dean, in recognition of the students outstanding achievements. A complete list of the gonfalonieres, inluding brief biographies, is available online.

The UW gonfalonieres are accompanied by “guardians” – UW alumni who have volunteered to welcome them to the alumni family and also help them with manipulating the heavy banner.

Other recipients of special honors to be acknowledged at the Seattle commencement include:  the Alumna Summa Laude Dignata, Distinguished Teaching Awards and the President’s Medals — presented to two graduating seniors (a four-year student and a transfer student) with the most distinguished academic records.

Members of the Board of Regents, deans and other representatives of the University’s 17 colleges and schools will participate in the ceremony.

Many of the colleges and schools also have separate graduation programs and investiture ceremonies.  Complete information about commencement is available online.

The University of Washington Bothell honors its class of 2011 on Sunday, June 12, in the Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

More than 1,200 students will graduate from UW Bothell this year. Event organizers expect about 750 graduates to participate in commencement ceremonies.

UW Interim President Phyllis Wise will officiate during the ceremonies. Jim Donald, former Starbucks CEO, will deliver the keynote speech.

The first class of undergraduates from two new majors, electrical engineering and biology, will walk at the 2011 commencement as will the first degree holders with a Master of Education with a principals credential.

The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m.

Members of the University of Washington Tacomas Class of 2011 will celebrate their accomplishments at commencement on Friday, June 10, in the Tacoma Dome. Doors open at 9 a.m., and the ceremony begins at 10 a.m.

Around 1,150 students will graduate this year. The exact number will be known after grades are submitted and degrees are posted. The previous year, 1,067 diplomas were awarded. Organizers expect about 850 graduates to participate in commencement ceremonies.

At commencement, the national anthem will be sung by junior Jeong H. Lee. MBA graduate Christopher Inverso will deliver the student speech. UW Interim President Phyllis Wise will officiate during the ceremonies. UW Tacoma Chancellor Patricia Spakes, who is retiring June 30, will deliver the keynote speech.

The winner of the Chancellors Medal, which goes to the graduate with the highest academic achievement, will be announced during commencement.

The first class of graduates from two new majors, Healthcare Leadership, and Information Technology and Systems, will walk at the 2011 commencement.


After this years degrees are awarded, the estimated number of UW Tacoma alumni will surpass 11,000.