SOU Commencement to Take Place Saturday

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University will confer degrees on approximately 1,000 new graduates at its 89th Commencement ceremony Saturday at Raider Stadium on the University’s main campus in Ashland. The processional will begin at 8:45 a.m. with the ceremony following immediately thereafter.
Featured speakers at this year’s ceremony include SOU President Dr. Roy Saigo and Bill Thorndike, who is speaking on behalf of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. Thorndike is also Chair of the SOU Board of Trustees, which will assume governing authority of the University on July 1.
This year’s Commencement address will be given by University of Oregon head football coach Mark Helfrich. Helfrich, who had a decorated career as a student athlete at SOU before his successful coaching career, graduated from SOU with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1996.
Patricia Halleran, who is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in anthropology and certificates in both Native American studies and applied anthropology has been selected as the student speaker and Vance Beach will speak on behalf of the SOU Alumni Association. Beach earned a Bachelor of Science in communication from SOU in 2011 and a master’s degree in management in 2014.
SOU students Sabrina Podsobinksi and Hayden Teachout will receive the Dankook Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Students. This award commemorates more than thirty years of friendship between SOU and Dankook University in Seoul, South Korea. Each year at Commencement, SOU honors its outstanding female and male graduates with this award. The criteria used to select the Dankook Award recipients are: demonstration of scholarship, contributions to campus life by playing a leadership role, and evidence of citizenship and character.
Podsobinski will graduate with a double major in communication and psychology and a 4.0 GPA. After graduation, she plans to continue her studies in organizational psychology and business. Teachout will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in emerging media and digital art. He was a member of SOU’s cross country and track teams while maintaining a 3.99 GPA.
Margartet Newcomb and Jennifer Clark will be honored during the ceremony with the Universidad de Guanajuato Award for Outstanding Graduate Students. Newcomb graduates with a Master of Art in French language teaching and a 3.9 GPA, Clark with a Master of Science in education and a 4.0 GPA.
Gates to Raider Stadium open at 7 a.m. the morning of Commencement, and seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Free parking is available in all parking lots on the SOU campus throughout the day. The ceremony will be broadcast live on RVTV and archived for later viewing.
More information on SOU Commencement ceremony is available online at
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power, and it is the first university in the nation to balance 100% of its water consumption. Visit