WSU Spokane to graduate 488 students May 4-5

Washington State University Spokane will graduate 488 students from its campus May 4-5. The main commencement ceremony is 2 p.m. Friday, May 5, at the INB Performing Arts Center. A separate ceremony for the 95 Doctor of Pharmacy students will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.

WSU President Kirk Schulz and Spokane campus Chancellor Lisa Brown will speak at the ceremony Friday. A graduating nursing student, Abel Saba, has been selected to address his fellow graduates. Saba is from the West African country of Burkina Faso, and will graduate with a bachelor’s of science in nursing degree and then continue his studies to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at WSU Spokane.

More than 200 of the graduating students plan to participate in the Friday commencement ceremony.

The following students have agreed to share their stories with news media:

  • Marlen Castellanos, 509-440-4112, email:
    Castellanos is a Mexican-American student whose parents lived a life of extreme poverty. She is the first in her family to graduate from high school. She is graduating with a B.S. in Speech and Hearing Sciences and will go next into the master’s degree program in Speech and Hearing at Portland State University. Castellanos went above and beyond in her clinical training for nursing. She served as an interpreter in Guatemala for patients with communication, cognition, feeding and swallowing disorders, and one of her clinical projects was working with an adult in a stuttering management program. Her goal is to become a bilingual speech-language pathologist and work with children from underserved areas.
  • Rachel King, 509-863-6182, email:
    King was a running start student who commuted an hour to school each day and then an hour back home. Her first semester in nursing school was a struggle, complicated by the fact she had lost her father earlier that year. She also was working weekends as a home health aide that first year, which added to her stress. She remembers that as a dark time for her, but her peers and faculty gave her the support she needed and she pulled out of it. She loves to learn and also found during her time at WSU that she has a passion for community involvement. She tutored pathophysiology and pharmacology, became an ambassador for the College of Nursing, served on its undergraduate board of admissions, and completed a practicum on the burn/pediatric intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. She hopes to do a nursing residency there and in the future assist in research, go on a medical mission, volunteer in her community and obtain specialty certifications in nursing. She will receive her bachelor of science in nursing degree on May 5.



Lorraine Nelson, Washington State University Spokane communications, 368-6671,