News Releases

April 18, 2011
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, APR
Executive Director of
Communications and Marketing
Telephone: 360-992-2921



Clark College: Commencement 2011

National poverty expert Dr. Donna Beegle
will be the keynote speaker
at the college’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 16


VANCOUVER, Wash. – Dr. Donna Beegle, a national expert on poverty, will be the keynote speaker at Clark College’s 2011 commencement ceremony.  The commencement ceremony will be held on Thursday, June 16 at the Sleep Country Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel Road, Ridgefield.  The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public. Clark College is the second largest community college in Washington state.

During the ceremony, Clark College President Robert K. Knight will announce the winners of the 2011 Exceptional Faculty Award. 

He will also announce the winner of the 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 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.

Knight said, “These are challenging times but our students have told us that holding this event at the amphitheater is meaningful to them, and we have worked hard to make that possible this year.”  Knight added that discussions are continuing regarding next year’s commencement ceremony, based on budgetary considerations and other feedback from the college community.

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