News Releases

June 8, 2012
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, APR
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
Telephone: 360-992-2921


Clark College Commencement 2012:
Embracing optimism in challenging times 

On June 21, Clark College will honor the largest graduating class in its history



Clark's penguin mascot Oswald at commencementVANCOUVER, Wash. – In challenging times, how do you embrace optimism? You do it by turning belief into action.

That will be the theme of Clark College’s 2012 commencement ceremony as the college honors the largest graduating class in its history.  The college will celebrate the achievements of more than 1,700 men and women who earned degrees and certificates at Clark College during the 2011-2012 academic year.  The 2012 graduates include 175 students in the college’s Running Start program.

Nearly 670 graduates have signed up to participate in the ceremony, which will be held on Thursday, June 21 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.

JR MartinezU.S. Army veteran, actor and motivational speaker J.R. Martinez will be the keynote speaker. During the ceremony, Clark College President Robert K. Knight will announce the winners of the 2012 Exceptional Faculty Award. 

Knight will also announce the winner of the 2012-2013 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.

About J.R. Martinez

JR MartinezJ.R. Martinez joined the U.S. Army in Sept. 2002.  After basic and advanced training at Fort Benning, Ga., he was deployed to Iraq in March 2003.  Less than a month into his deployment, he was serving as a driver of a Humvee in Karbala, when his left front tire hit a landmine. Martinez spent 34 months in recovery, undergoing 33 surgeries including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery.


Today, J.R. Martinez is a highly sought-after motivational speaker.  He portrayed combat veteran Brot Monroe on ABC’s Emmy® Award-winning daytime drama “All My Children.” In fall 2011, Martinez won the championship trophy on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” He was featured in People magazine’s “25 Most Intriguing People of the Year” edition and was named grand marshal of the 2012 Rose Parade. 


His book, “Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit,” is scheduled to be published by Hyperion in November 2012.