Commencement to Feature Speakers with Distinguished Legal and Military Careers

Eastern Washington University will welcome a Washington State Supreme Court Justice as well as an alumnus with a distinguished military and aviation career for its 2012 Commencement ceremonies, to be held on Saturday, June 16, at Roos Field, on the Cheney campus.

Although in previous years there have been separate graduate and undergraduate ceremonies, this year all students will be mixed together and the ceremonies will be divided by colleges. This new format of commencement is intended to improve the student and family experience at the event.

Justice Steven González will be the keynote speaker at the first ceremony, which begins at 9 a.m. and will include students from the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences and Social Work and the College of Business and Public Administration.

Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Neal Sealock ’74, BA military science, will be the keynote speaker at the afternoon ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m. and includes students from the College of Science, Health and Engineering and the College of Arts, Letters and Education.

González was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court effective Jan. 1, 2012. Before joining the Supreme Court, Justice González served for 10 years as a trial judge on the King County Superior Court, hearing criminal, civil, juvenile and family law cases. Prior to his election to the King County Superior Court, Justice González was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Washington, where he was part of the team that successfully prosecuted the international terrorism case U.S. v. Ressam, for which he received two Department of Justice awards: the U.S. Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service and the Director’s Award for Superior Performance. He also prosecuted organized crime cases and served as the Hate Crimes Prosecution Coordinator.

Sealock is an Eastern graduate with 31 years of distinguished service in the United States Army. Commissioning in the U.S. Army in 1974 as a Distinguished Military Graduate, he received a regular commission in the infantry. Following his assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division, Sealock resumed his pursuit of a career in aviation. Completing flight school and the AH-1 Cobra course in 1977, he subsequently served in a variety of aviation jobs including the Army Aviation Center, in Fort Rucker, Ala., as an attack helicopter instructor pilot and flight commander. Sealock served as the director of Spokane International Airport from December 2005-December 2010. Most recently, he’s been working in China as a coach for Check 6 Inc., a company of veterans coaching leadership, performance and safety throughout the world.

This year, Eastern has 2,555 eligible undergraduate (bachelor’s) and 538 eligible graduate (master’s and doctoral) students who have applied for graduation. Typically, about 55 percent of those students participate in the ceremony. Graduates will begin lining up about a half-hour before each ceremony in the central mall area before the procession into Roos Field.

All university parking lots will be available for free parking on graduation day. Attendees should prepare for heavy traffic and backups, as many people will be coming in from Spokane off Interstate 90.