Commencement News Tips

Recruiting on college campuses was strong this spring with companies particularly seeking computer-literate graduates, according to an April survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Manufacturers account for almost 60 percent of the jobs offered to students. Service industry employers offered almost 35 percent of their jobs to graduates in technical fields.
Compared to last year, starting salaries are up almost 8 percent because of growing demand for hiring in entry-level positions. Graduates in business disciplines are receiving increases in salary, with accounting graduates starting at an average salary of $30,511, a 3.9 percent increase from a year ago.
Starting salaries for chemical engineers are averaging $42,000, computer engineers can start at more than $39,000 and computer science grads at $36,500.
WSU Career Services interviewing increased 17 percent to 3,592 this year, and the number of employers conducting interviews numbered 334, also a 17 percent increase.
For a copy of the NACE survey:
Contact: Al Jamison, interim director, Career Services
Phone: 509/335-7610


For veterinarian Lisa Britt, a resident in the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s radiology section, earning her masters of science degree this spring is one more part of a new life that began with a heart transplant in September 1991. Diagnosed with a viral-induced deterioration of her heart muscle, Britt received her new heart from a 16-year-old automobile accident victim. She was told at the time that she should give up veterinary medicine. But instead she pressed on and earned her D.V.M. in 1994, completed a large-animal internship in 1995 and came to WSU to fulfill her lifelong professional goal, “to be a veterinary radiologist.”
Contact: Lisa Britt, WSU Veterinary Clinic
Phone: 509/335-0711


Sharon Ford is not your average Washington State University student. The 66-year-old teacher’s assistant from the Walla Walla School District will walk through commencement ceremonies Saturday with a 3.9 grade point average. She will receive a bachelor’s degree in education and a teaching certificate when she completes an earth science requirement this summer.
“I think I was the only one in my class who paid for my tuition with my Social Security check,” says Ford. At a time of life when most people are thinking of retirement, Ford was determined to forge ahead in her career and earn her teaching certificate. “With that piece of paper, you can do so much more,” she said.
Ford entered WSU’s Tri-Cities paraeducator program in 1994 with an associate of arts degree from Walla Walla Community College, and a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Eastern Washington University. She took classes at WSU Tri-Cities, as well as correspondence courses from the Pullman campus. Since August 1969, she has been employed as a teaching assistant at Walla Walla School District 140, which has assisted with her education. In addition, she received several scholarships. “I found out there is a large source of scholarships if you just dig,” she says.
Ford and her husband Dale are the parents of eight children, most of whom also have their college degrees. Their youngest son, Stephen Ford, is a 1982 WSU electrical engineering graduate. “We’re both Cougars,” she says proudly.
Contact: Sharon Ford, WSU Tri-Cities graduate
Phone: 509/525-1564

Angelica Reyna will have plenty of vocal fans to cheer her when she takes part in WSU graduation ceremonies Saturday. Her mother, six brothers and sisters, and 3-year-old daughter, Victoria, are expected to attend the College of Education recognition program at 8 a.m. in the Hollingbery Fieldhouse.
Born in Mexico, Reyna came to the United States at age 7 with her family to work in the fields at Mabton, near Sunnyside, where her parents are still employed. From the seventh grade through high school, she went to class at night and worked with the family in the fields during the day.
She says her seventh-grade math teacher, Mr. Darlow, encouraged her to think about going to college. She enrolled at WSU in 1992. She returns to the Mabton area to complete her student teaching for her degree in elementary education with a bilingual/ESL endorsement. She plans to stay in the area “and help others like myself.”
Contact: Angelica Reyna, education graduate
Phone: 509/332-5823

Some WSU graduates waiting in line to receive their diplomas Saturday may wonder where they will find their first jobs. Not Pullman native Nathan Keith Day, who will receive a bachelor’s in food science. Day will be thinking about packing a U-Haul truck Monday to move his family to Jerome, Idaho, where he will enter a management training program at Avonmore West Inc., the largest cheese makers in the Northwest.
E xtensive work experience at the WSU Creamery helped Day land that first job months before graduation. Most of his college career, Day has worked 20 hours a week during school and full time between semesters and during breaks. He became a supervisor between his freshmen and sophomore years and has been student superintendent for a year and a half, a record at the creamery. In this operation, 16-17 students make Cougar Gold, other cheeses and ice cream.
Although Day is graduating in four years, his life hasn’t been all study and work. He is married and a hands-on father to two little girls, carries major responsibility as a local church leader and sang with the Washington Idaho Symphony Chorale for two years.
Contact: Nathan Keith Day, food science graduate
Phone: 509/332-5251 or 509/335-7516