Clark College News and Events

Graphic–Clark College News and Events

Clark College News and Events

June 20, 2008
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing



Clark College President Bob Knight congratulates graduate Jennifer Purinton
Clark College President Bob Knight congratulates graduate Jennifer Purinton during the college's 2008 commencement ceremony.

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A Vancouver man received the presidential scholarship,
three faculty members were honored for excellence and award-winning novelist, poet, screenwriter, composer and performer Sherman Alexie delivered the keynote address during Clark College’s 2008 commencement ceremony at the Clark County Amphitheater.  The ceremony was recorded by Clark-Vancouver Television (CVTV).

Sherman Alexie congratulates a member of the Clark College class of 2008
Sherman Alexie congratulates graduate Alley Blom during Clark's 2008 commencement.


Alexie, an award-winning novelist, poet, screenwriter, composer and performer, was introduced with a clip from “Smoke Signals,” the film about his life.   He told the graduates that he understood their quest because, as he put it, “I needed to reinvent myself” after growing up on an Indian reservation in Eastern Washington.  Alexie said he was “touched to be here with you to celebrate all your reinventions.”  Following his address, Alexie greeted the graduates as they received their diplomas. 


Kenneth Nyholm of Vancouver was named the recipient of the 2008-2009 Community College President’s Award, a two-year scholarship given to a Clark College student who will continue their education at Washington State University Vancouver.   Nyholm, who earned an associate of arts degree in business administration, graduated with highest honors during Clark College’s 2008 Commencement ceremony, held at the Clark College amphitheater on June 19.   


Presidential Scholarship Winner Kenneth Nyholm
The crowd at the Clark College Amphitheater applauds as Clark graduate Kenneth Nyholm is recognized as the winner of the 2008-2009 Presidential Scholarship.

In making the announcement, Clark President Robert K. Knight cited Nyholm’s contributions to the college as a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges.  Nyholm also served as a student ambassador at Clark College.  He co-founded and served as club secretary of the Clark College Veterans Awareness Organization.   Knight said, “Kenneth Nyholm embodies student success at Clark College.  He’s strong academically and has demonstrated a commitment to service.”


In his scholarship application, Nyholm wrote.  “From a young age, I knew that in order to have the best odds in providing an adequate living for my family, I needed a college education.  I gained this knowledge by watching my father.  My father is a good man; in fact, I would say he is a great man.  As a high school graduate, he has worked hard everyday of his life to provide a living for his wife and kids.”  Nyholm added, “I have worked very hard to ensure that I will be able to attend a four-year university by serving in the United States Marine Corps for four years and maintaining my grades here at Clark College.  I know that there are no guarantees in life, but I know that getting a bachelor’s degree will help ensure that I will also be able to provide the best opportunities for my family as well.”


Nyholm is active in his church, serves as an Assistant Scout Master with the Boy Scouts of America and volunteers with the Lions Club in support of their efforts to end preventable blindness.  As the winner of the Community College President’s Award, Nyholm will receive full tuition and fees as he finishes his bachelor’s degree at WSU Vancouver.


Clark College 2007-2008 Exceptional Faculty Honorees


Three members of the Clark College faculty were honored as winners of the 2007-2008 Exceptional Faculty Awards.   From the stage of the amphitheater, President Knight recognized English composition and creative writing instructor Larry Blakely, biology professor Dr. William (Willy) Cushwa, and professor of business technology Nancy Johnson.  Cushwa and Johnson were repeat winners.  Cushwa was honored as an Exceptional Faculty member in 2000; Johnson was honored in 1995.


The Exceptional Faculty Endowment Fund was established in 1993 to provide recognition of exemplary work performance, positive impact on students, professional commitment, and other contributions to the college. The awards are given to two full-time faculty members and one part-time faculty member each year.


Mascot Oswald congratulates two members of the Clark College class of 2008

Clark College Commencement 2008 Highlights


Clark College is the second largest community and technical college in Washington State.  During the 2007-2008 academic year, between over 1,129 Clark College students have earned over 1,252 associate degrees and certificates. Approximately 345 students took part in the 2008 commencement ceremony.


The breakdown by degree and certificate is as follows:

  • 697 students have earned Associate in Arts degrees
  • 28 students have earned Associate in Science degrees
  • 317 students have earned Associate in Applied Science degrees
  • 13 students have earned Associate in Applied Technology degrees
  • 191 students have earned Proficiency and Achievement certificates
  • two students have earned International Studies certificates
  • four students have earned Women Studies certificates


Twenty-six students graduated with highest honors for achieving a 3.9 grade point average while completing a two-year program.   In addition, 110 students graduated with honors for achieving a 3.4 grade point average while completing a two-year degree program.  Twenty-four students earning a certificate in a professional/technical program are graduating with merit for achieving a 3.4 grade point average while completing their programs. 


The graduates included 86 Running Start students, more than half of whom graduated with honors.  Two had perfect 4.0 grade point averages (GPAs).




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