News Releases

For Immediate Release

June 20, 2014
For additional information: 
Chato Hazelbaker
Chief Communications Officer
Telephone:  360-992-2921


A Night of Accomplishment

Clark College's
2014 Commencement Ceremony—its largest ever—featured faculty
awards and an amazing opportunity for one outstanding student


VANCOUVER, Wash.–Clark College honored its 78th graduating class—the largest in the college's 80-year history—at the 2014 Clark College Commencement ceremony held Thursday evening, June 19, at the Sleep Country Amphitheater. Approximately 2,100 degrees and certificates were conferred on the next generation of our community's workers, leaders, and scholars—up from 1,900 the year before.

Approximately 715 graduates participated in the commencement ceremony, including 235 Running Start graduates—again, a new record for the college, which has the largest Running Start program in the state.

During the ceremony, Clark College President Robert K. Knight announced the names of the recipients of the 2014 Exceptional Faculty Awards. The 2014 awardees are Kelly Fielding, instructor of psychology; Chris Martin, instructor of computer technology and computer graphics technology; Sarah Theberge, professor of early childhood education; and Jim Wilkins-Luton, professor of English.

Natasha Hambrook, 2014 President's Award recipient
Natasha Hambrook–2014 President's Award Recipient

Graduate Natasha Hambrook was the recipient of the 2014-2015 Community College President's Award. The annual scholarship is given to a Clark College graduate who is transferring to a WSU Vancouver degree program and who demonstrated leadership potential, a commitment to community service, and academic achievement. The scholarship award provides full-time tuition and is renewable for one additional year, essentially providing full tuition to complete a bachelor's degree.

Hambrook, who lives in Vancouver with her family and will turn 18 in July, came to Clark through Washington State's Running Start program, which allows high school students to earn college credit while still enrolled in high school. While at Clark, she maintained a 3.98 grade point average while taking classes in Clark's challenging biology and chemistry sequences and contributing more than 15 hours a week in volunteer work. Some of that work was through her personal commitment to the Southwest Washington Humane Society, where she helps care for cats and trains other teen volunteers; Hambrook has also served as the Student Volunteer Coordinator for Clark's Service and Leadership in the Community (SLIC) program. In that role, she has organized groups of students on volunteer trips to organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Clark County Food Bank, as well as a beach-cleaning trip to Cape Disappointment State Park.

Hambrook says her commitment to community service comes both from a love of helping others and from her own family's experiences. "My family has received help from the food bank in the past, so I know there's a need for community service," she says.

Like 73 percent of Clark's student body, Natasha Hambrook is a first-generation college graduate. She plans to study medicine and become a pediatric surgeon.

"It feels so amazing to have won this scholarship," Hambrook said after President Knight's announcement at commencement. "I am so grateful I had the opportunity to participate in Running Start, because Clark helped shape me into the woman I am today."

This year's commencement speaker was ABC Evening News anchor Byron Pitts, who delivered an inspiring speech about the importance of helping others.

More stories from Clark's commencement will be available early next week on Clark 24/7, Clark's online news site.

Editors: Photos from Clark's commencement ceremony will be available on the college's Flickr site later today. A high-resolution image of Natasha Hambrook is available here.  Please credit "Clark College/Jenny Shadley" on any photos used.