(Ashland, Ore.) Approximately 1,143 students will receive degrees at Southern Oregon University’s 85th Commencement exercises on Saturday, June 11. The ceremony begins in the Mountain Arena of SOU Raider Stadium at 9:00 a.m. and will be broadcast live on Rogue Valley Community Television, cable channel 9, and rebroadcast the same day at 6 p.m. on cable channel 9.
SOU will award 901 Bachelor’s and 242 Master’s degrees, plus an additional 29 professional licenses in Education, and 89 academic certificates; 74 percent of the graduates are Oregon residents; 61 percent are female and 39 percent are male. The youngest graduate is 20 and the oldest is 68.
This year’s commencement speaker is Bill Rauch, the artistic director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Representing the Oregon University System (OUS) is Hannah Fisher. The student speakers will be Maureen “Mo” Costello and Robert John Chikar.
Bill Rauch was named Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2007. Prior to coming to Ashland, he spent 20 years as co-founder and artistic director of the Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles. He has directed in theatres all over the country, including Lincoln Center Theater, Guthrie Theater, Mark Taper Forum, and Pasadena Playhouse. He is an Associate Artist at Yale Repertory Theatre and South Coast Repertory.
In 2008, Rauch was named a United States Artists Prudential Fellow, and in 2009 he received the Margo Jones Medal. In the current OSF season, he is directing Measure for Measure and The Pirates of Penzance.
Hannah Fisher was appointed to the State Board of Higher Education by Governor Kulongoski in 2007. She has been active in student leadership positions throughout her tenure at Portland State University and has received multiple awards of recognition for her service to higher education in Oregon. Fisher will graduate this fall with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies and a double minor in Political Science and Black Studies.
Rob Chikar is graduating with a BA in Theatre, and is one of the four students in the nation accepted for the Master of Fine Arts program in Stage Management at Yale this fall. Mo Costello is graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Studio Art and Anthropology and a minor in Spanish.
SOU’s commencement ceremony underscores the university’s commitment to sustainability. The fabric for the commencement caps and gowns is made of natural wood from renewable, managed forests. Graduates have been asked to bring their own water containers, which can be filled at water stations provided at convenient locations instead of being given disposable plastic bottles of water. The commencement program is printed on recycled paper, and recycling will be encouraged at the end of the ceremony.
The University has streamlined the ceremony to accommodate the growing size of graduating classes. This year diplomas will be awarded as two lines move across the stage, instead of one.
SOU officials are expecting a large number of graduates and guests, so those planning to attend the ceremony should plan accordingly. The gates will open at 7:30 a.m., and guests are advised to arrive early.