News Releases

June 15, 2011
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, APR
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing

Telephone: 360-992-2921


Believing in the future: 
Clark College Commencement 2011


VANCOUVER, Wash. – Belief in the future will be the theme of Clark College’s 2011 commencement ceremony as the college honors the largest graduating class in its history.  The college will celebrate the achievements of more than 1,500 men and women who earned degrees and certificates at Clark College during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Nearly 600 graduates have signed up to participate in the ceremony, which will be held on Thursday, June 16 at 7 p.m. at the Sleep Country Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel Road, Ridgefield.   The event is free and open to the public. Clark College is the second largest community college in Washington state.

This year’s ceremony will include the first graduates from the college’s weekend degree and online degree programs as well as the first graduate to have taken their classes almost entirely at Clark College at Columbia Tech Center.

This year, 148 students graduated from the Running Start program, successfully taking classes at Clark College while completing their high school studies.  Honor student Jacquelyn Patching is the first Running Start graduate from the Washington State School for the Blind.

Dr. Donna Beegle, a national poverty expert, will be the keynote speaker. During the ceremony, Clark College President Robert K. Knight will announce the winners of the 2011 Exceptional Faculty Award. 

Knight will also announce the winner of the 2011-2012 Community College President’s Award.  That scholarship will be given to a Clark College graduate who is transferring to a WSU Vancouver degree program and who has demonstrated leadership potential, is community service oriented, and who has a strong academic record.  The scholarship award provides full-time tuition (10-18 credits) and is renewable for one additional year, or a total of four semesters.

The ceremony will include special remarks and a moment of silence in honor of Dean of Enrollment Services Alex Montoya, who died on June 11. 

About Dr. Donna Beegle

Dr. Donna BeegleDonna M. Beegle, Ed.D. is an authentic voice who speaks, writes and trains across the nation to break the iron cage of poverty.

Donna is the author of See Poverty, Be The Difference and An Action Approach to Educating Students Who Live in the Crisis of Poverty.

She brings unique insights from having grown up in the deepest poverty in America and of studying poverty for 20 years. Her inspiring story and work have been featured in newspapers around the nation and on local and national television programs. Her family and her work on breaking poverty barriers will be featured in an upcoming PBS documentary titled “Invisible Nation.” 

For 19 years, Dr. Beegle has worked with educators, justice professionals, health care providers, social service agencies, and other organizations all over the nation who want to make a difference for those living in the crisis of poverty. She was selected 2008 National Speaker of the Year by the New Mexico State Bar Foundation. In 2010, Portland State University’s School of Social Work dedicated the Donna M. Beegle Community Classrooms in her honor.

Dr. Beegle is the only member of her family who has not been incarcerated. After growing up in generational migrant labor poverty, leaving school for marriage at 15, having two children and continuing to cope with poverty, she found herself, at 25, with no husband, little education, and no job skills. What followed were: self-confidence, a G.E.D., an A.A. in Journalism, a B.A. (with honors) in Communications, a Master’s Degree in Communication with a minor in Gender Studies (with honors), and completion of a Doctorate Degree.

Dr. Beegle completed her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Portland State University in 2000, where she taught speech communication courses for eight years. She is currently president of Communication Across Barriers, a consulting firm devoted to improving communication and relationships. She is also founder of the new nonprofit organization, PovertyBridge, which is dedicated to changing lives for people in poverty.

Additional information about Dr. Donna Beegle and Communication Across Barriers is available at