Clark College celebrates Class of 2017

 June 22, 2017

For additional information: Hannah Erickson, Communications & Marketing
T: 360-992-2954 E:
Photos available upon request on or after June 23.


This year’s ceremony features keynote speaker Ernie Hudson and awards graduate Nicholas Freese with the Community College Presidents’ Scholarship


VANCOUVER, Wash. – Clark College honored its 81st graduating class at the 2017 Clark College Commencement ceremony held Thursday evening, June 22, at the Sunlight Supply Amphitheater. More than 2,100 degrees and certificates were conferred on the next generation of our community's workers, leaders, and scholars.

Highlights from this year’s ceremony include:

About Nicholas Freese

This year’s recipient of the Community College Presidents’ Award in Honor of Val Ogden was Nicholas Freese, who graduated with an Associate of Arts transfer degree. “As is the case for so many of our students, this year’s scholarship recipient did not have a straight or easy path to higher education,” said Clark College President Robert K. Knight in announcing the scholarship during the college’s 2017 Commencement ceremony.

Freese attended high school in New Mexico, but a troubled home life and struggles with addiction led him to drop out. Years later, he found himself in Vancouver—sober, but unsure of how to build a better future for himself and his young daughter. He enrolled at Clark, and soon proved to be an exemplary student, earning a cumulative GPA of 3.77 while also making time to volunteer in his community and be primary caretaker of his daughter. “Higher education has given me a life, put my daughter and family back in my life, helped me to love myself, and has shown me a world I didn’t think was possible for me,” he said.

Freese, 28, plans to pursue a degree in public affairs at WSUV, with the end goal of completing law school and becoming a lawyer. He lives in Vancouver with his 4-year-old daughter, Sadie, and his wife, Ashley.

About Clark College

Located in Vancouver’s Central Park and serving more than 12,000 students per quarter, Clark College is Washington state’s second-largest single-campus, for-credit community college. The college currently offers classes at two satellite locations: one on the Washington State University Vancouver campus and one in the Columbia Tech Center in East Vancouver. Additionally, its Economic & Community Development program is housed in the Columbia Bank building in downtown Vancouver.