News Releases

June 18, 2010
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, APR
Executive Director of
Communications and Marketing
Telephone: 360-992-2921



Clark College: Commencement 2010

Personal stories and achievements were celebrated during the 2010 Clark College Commencement Ceremony at the Sleep Country Amphitheater on Thursday, June 17

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Some of their educational journeys took years; others happened more quickly. Some grew up in Southwest Washington. Others came from across the United States and around the world.

Clark College's 2010 commencement ceremony was the story of the personal journeys and achievements of more than 1,300 men and women who earned degrees and certificates at Clark College during the 2009-2010 academic year. Approximately 465 graduates participated in the ceremony, which was held on June 17 at the Amphitheater at Clark County.

Clark College President Robert K. Knight said, "As I look out at our graduates, I see so many students with remarkable stories to tell." In introducing graduate Erik Burch, who sang the National Anthem, Knight noted that Burch had earned degrees at Clark in 2005 and 2008. Each time, he was deployed into military service in Iraq and was unable to participate in commencement. Knight said, "Erik told us that being present to graduate means a lot to him to, as he put it, 'finally take the next step.'"

Knight spoke about graduate Michael Logan, who came to America from Liberia after fleeing persecution and civil war. Logan, who is blind, earned his GED at Clark College in 2006. He continued his studies and received an associate degree in business administration during the 2010 commencement ceremony.

Graduate Carolyn Cox, a member of the 2010 All-Washington Academic Team, told the audience about her struggles as a single parent. She noted that this was her third attempt at attending Clark College and that "tenacity" was crucial in completing her education. Cox, who earned an associate degree in applied science in business technology as a medical office specialist, shared a favorite quote: "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."

Award-winning author Heidi W. Durrow was keynote speaker. Durrow is a graduate of Stanford, Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism and Yale Law School. She received writer Barbara Kingsolver's 2008 Bellwether Prize for Literature of Social Change for The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, her first novel.

Exceptional Faculty & Exceptional Classified Staff Awards

During the ceremony, three faculty members were honored as recipients of the 2009-2010 Exceptional Faculty awards.

The honors went to Nadine Fattaleh, professor of chemistry; Dr. Anita Fisher, professor of history, and Karen Swallow, instructor in Adult Basic Education.

Nadine Fattaleh teaches organic and general chemistry at Clark College. She earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry at Scripps College and a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University. She has served as chair of the chemistry department at Clark and has served on the leadership team of the Pacific Northwest Green Chemistry Education Network. Fattaleh, who joined the college in 2002, was praised by a nominator who said, "When a student is having a problem–personal of academic–Nadine is always quick to lend a hand in finding a solution."

Dr. Anita Fisher teaches world civilizations and women in world history at Clark College. Fisher earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Portland and earned her doctorate at the University of Oregon. She has coordinated Clark's Model United Nations program and has served as advisor to the history club. She also coordinates a women's history month celebration at the college. Fisher, who joined Clark College in 1990, was described as having a "great fervor for history" which "makes is contagious for her students. She was cited as "a superb mentor in every way."

Karen Swallow joined Clark College in 1992. She has also served as an adjunct instructor at Portland Community College, where she taught English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. In simple but heartfelt phrases, her adult basic education students praised her work in the classroom. One said, simply, "She taught me how to read and write better."

May Jolly of the Clark College Bookstore and Jim Meek of Information Technology Systems were honored as recipients of the college's Exceptional Classified Staff awards.

The Exceptional Faculty Awards recognize exemplary work performance, positive impact on students, professional commitment, and other contributions to the college. The awards are given to two full-time faculty and one part-time faculty each year.

The Exceptional Classified Staff awards also recognize exemplary work performance; outstanding service to the college; a positive and cooperative spirit; and/or special achievements or contributions to the college community. Two awards are presented each year.

Community College President's Award

Sheila Henrikson, who graduated with an Associate of Arts direct transfer degree, received the President's Scholarship Award. The scholarship is awarded to a Clark College graduate who is transferring to a WSU Vancouver degree program and who has leadership potential, is community service oriented, and who has a strong academic record. The scholarship award is in the amount of full-time tuition (10-18 credits) per year and is renewable for one additional year or a total of four semesters.

Henrikson, who resides in Vancouver, participated in many of the college's Service and Leadership in the Community events -- with programs as diverse as Clark County Habitat Restore and the Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center. Henrikson served as president of the Multicultural Student Union and treasurer of the Native American Indian Council. Her work is seen in the 2010 Phoenix–Clark's literary and arts magazine. She also earned the "Best Ceramics in Show" award in Clark's 2010 Art Student Annual.

In making the announcement, Knight noted that Henrikson had been cited for her "strong work ethic" -- and for being "a compassionate servant leader.who leads with enthusiasm and passion for the good of humanity."

In her application, Henrikson wrote, "My experience in higher education has illuminated my ability to make a difference in the lives of others. Continuing my education will give me the skills I need to succeed in my vision."