Eastern Washington University is pleased to welcome Maj. Gen. Kenneth Privratsky (retired) and former EWU trustee and tribal advocate Jo Ann Kauffman as speakers for the 2017 Commencement Ceremonies Saturday, June 17, at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
This year, Eastern has 2,620 undergraduate (bachelor’s) and 493 graduate (master’s and doctoral) students who are eligible to attend commencement.
On Saturday, June 17, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Privratsky (Ret.) ’69 will speak at the 10 a.m. graduation ceremony to students from the College of Social Sciences and the College of Business and Public Administration at the Spokane Arena. An ROTC Distinguished Graduate, Privratsky served as an infantry platoon leader in combat in Vietnam and commanded units at all levels thereafter, including two worldwide joint organizations as a general officer.
Kauffman, who served on the EWU Board of Trustees from 2003-2015, will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony to students from the College of Health Science and Public Health, the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and the College of Arts, Letters and Education. A prominent Nez Perce tribal member, she has been instrumental over the past year in helping the university create the Lucy Covington Center in support of Native American students at EWU. Described by many as a courageous entrepreneur, she also formed Kauffman & Associates in 1990 and has become a nationally recognized advocate for Indian health and justice. She has served on national boards and was honored with the “Free Spirit Award” by the Freedom Forum in 1998 for her longtime work as a community activist and advocate for First Amendment issues.
The Commencement Ceremonies will also reflect EWU’s long and proud history of educating elite military commanders.
On Friday, June 16, three-star general (LTG) Gary Volesky ’83, BA military science, will return to campus to be the keynote speaker at the ROTC commissioning ceremony. A cohort of 11 cadets will take the oath of office as 2nd Lieutenants in the U.S. Army – nine active duty officers, one National Guard and one in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Volesky is the new commander of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), near Tacoma. During his distinguished military career, he also commanded the 101st Airborne Division, served as the operational commander of U.S. ground forces in Liberia in 2014 and in Iraq 2015, and has received the Silver Star and Purple Heart for service in the Gulf War, Iraq War and in Afghanistan.
The ROTC ceremony and reception will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in Showalter Auditorium. Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Neal Sealock ’74, BA military science, will also be on campus for the ROTC commissioning ceremony.
Eastern’s Senior ROTC program was established at Eastern Washington College of Education, pursuant to an agreement between the school’s governing authorities and approved by the Secretary of the Army on June 16, 1952.
A look at EWU’s generals:
- Lieutenant General Gary Volesky
- Major General (Retired) Scott G. West
- Major General (Retired) Kenneth L. Privratsky
- Major General (Retired) Roger K. Bean (deceased)
- Brigadier General (Retired) Frederick G. Wong
- Brigadier General (Retired) Gratton ‘Neal’ O. Sealock II
- Navy Rear Admiral (Retired) George W. Lotzenhiser