Pacific Honors Students, Alumni with Live Commencement Ceremonies

Pacific University will celebrate its May Commencement with two ceremonies on Saturday, May 21, on the Forest Grove Campus.

More than 700 students are expected to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees this May, marking the culmination of years of study and the beginning of new steps towards careers, graduate school and professional advancement. Their achievements are all the more impressive, as most of the Class of 2022 has experienced disruptions to their education in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The morning begins with an undergraduate ceremony, where students in the colleges of Arts & Sciences, Business, Education and Optometry will receive bachelor’s degrees after studying in more than 60 different majors and minors.

Among them are this year’s undergraduate valedictorian Alexandra Hays. Originally from Gunnison, Colo., Hays came to Pacific with a dream of forging a path to a career in dentistry, like her grandfather. She majored in chemistry, with minors in biology and outdoor leadership, and excelled in the classroom. She helped found a Pre-Dental Club and revitalize the Chemistry Club, serving as president and co-president, respectively. She also participated in the American Nuclear and Radiochemistry Summer School Program, sponsored by the American Chemical Society and U.S. Department of Energy, and was named the program’s 2021 Outstanding Student. Outside of academics, she was highly involved with the Outdoor Pursuits program, guiding rock climbing, cross-country skiing, mountaineering and hiking trips, serving as a teaching assistant for the rock climbing course, and leading Voyages for incoming students. She also studied abroad in Perth, Australia, in 2020. She plans to return to Pacific this fall for additional courses and work for a few months in Australia while applying to dental schools. 

Also during the morning ceremony, Pacific University will bestow business leader and alumnus William Stoller ’74 with an honorary doctor of letters degree in recognition of his career success and long-time support and advancement of Pacific values. Stoller will serve as the keynote speaker at the morning ceremony.

Pacific’s afternoon commencement ceremony will recognize students earning graduate and professional degrees from programs including athletic training, business administration, optometry and vision science, pharmacy and pharmaceutical science, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, social work, and teaching and education, as well as the first 33 students to complete Pacific’s new doctor of science degrees in health science and medical science.

The afternoon ceremony will also feature the presentation of the Kamelia Massih Prize for a Distinguished Optometrist, presented this year to optometry alumna, educator and researcher Dr. Cristina Schnider, who will deliver the afternoon’s keynote address.

The undergraduate ceremony begins at 9 a.m., followed by the graduate and professional ceremony at 1:30 p.m., both at Hanson Stadium on the Forest Grove Campus. Guest tickets are free but required to attend the ceremonies. All attendees are expected to follow university COVID-19 protocols.

Pacific hosts three commencement days each year, including the dual ceremonies in May, a ceremony for students in the Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program in June, and a graduate-level commencement in August. In-person commencement exercises resumed in August 2021, but this will be the first in-person May Commencement since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. The university will also recognize all alumni who missed their opportunity to cross the stage in May 2020, August 2020 or May 2021 with a Special Commencement event on Aug. 14.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022