Around 800 students, along with family, friends and faculty, gathered in the Sunlight Supply Amphitheater Thursday night for Clark’s 2017 graduation ceremony.
Clark College President Bob Knight opened the event by acknowledging the sacrifices made by veteran and working students and their families; he also commended the 413 Running Start graduates for “making a smart investment in their future and saving thousands of tuition dollars.”
Clad in different-colored robes depending on their degree, graduates also heard from Board of Trustees Chairman Jack Burkman, Association for Higher Education President Kimberly Sullivan, ASCC President Sarah Moe and several others, before Knight introduced this year’s commencement speaker.
“Who you gonna call?” Knight asked
“Ernie Hudson!” they shouted back.
“There are schools around the world whose commencement speakers are world leaders,” Hudson said with a chuckle. “But you guys get a Ghostbuster.”
Hudson shared his experiences growing up in the projects in Michigan. He recalled facing rejection from the military, colleges and the acting business, each time being forced to find creative solutions. He left the graduates with two pieces of advice given to him by his grandmother.
“One: Don’t worry about trying to do big things,” Hudson said. “But avoid doing the dumb things… Two: If you look ahead to when you’ve made it, when you are in control of your life and you can be the perfect you, and just be that now. You don’t need anyone’s permission to be the greatest version of you.”
Knight also announced the winners of the 2017 Exceptional Faculty Awards and the recipient of the President’s Scholarship, which provides tuition to complete a bachelor’s degree at Washington State University Vancouver. This year’s recipient, Nicholas Freese, overcame drug addiction before starting at Clark to become “a lawyer who helps people.” Knight awarded $1,000 scholarships to runners-up ASCC President Sarah Moe and student ambassador Jose Espindola Neto.