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Lower Columbia College’s 83rd annual Commencement will take place on Friday, June 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Kelso High School’s Schroeder Field

Tonya Drake

This year’s Commencement speaker is Dr. Tonya Drake.

Dr. Drake has been the chancellor of WGU Washington since 2018. Prior to that, she held leadership positions at Edmonds and Shoreline Community Colleges, the Maricopa Community College District, Arizona State University, and the University of Washington. She holds a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and Policy Studies and a Master of Education from Arizona State University. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, an associate degree from Lower Columbia College, and a high school diploma from R.A. Long High School. In 2018, Dr. Drake received a Silver Award for Job Training from Seattle Business Magazine, and was recently featured in the “Daring Women” series by Seattle Magazine. She has traveled around the world to speak on diversity and equity issues, and was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Global Leadership Summit in South Africa on the topic of “Deconstructing Race.”


Approximately 415 LCC students are expected to participate in the ceremony, which is a celebration of degree and certificate student completers in addition to those earning their high school diplomas.

Over a hundred faculty and staff, in addition to college administration, will also be in attendance. Approximately 2,000 guests are also expected. LCC is expecting to award the following credentials this year (numbers subject to grade verification at the end of spring quarter):

  • Associate Degrees: 535 (this figure includes 131 Running Start students who are earning a high school diploma and associate degree concurrently)
  • Certificates: 29
  • High School Diplomas: 92

LCC’s four Scholastic Achievement Award winners for the year will be recognized during the ceremony.

Scholastic Achievement Awards are presented to the students graduating with the highest grade point average and most rigorous coursework in academic transfer and professional-technical programs, in lieu of a single valedictorian.

Carol Byman

Carol Byman

Carol is a Running Start student who is receiving an Associate in Arts degree as well as a high school diploma. She is transferring to Central Washington University, where she intends to pursue a degree in music education and violin performance. “I hope to establish a career in teaching music to secondary level students, including helping them find a place for music in their lives,” she said. When she isn’t working or studying, Carol enjoys reading for entertainment. At LCC, she particularly enjoyed taking Spanish with Alex Emerson and American Literature with Hiedi Bauer.

Greg Futcher

Greg Futcher

Greg is a Running Start student from Three Rivers High School who is receiving an Associate in Arts degree in addition to his high school diploma. In addition to this award, Greg is also the co-valedictorian of his high school senior class. Greg is transferring to Walla Walla University, where he plans to major in business with an accounting concentration. His goal is to become an accountant, working either in private practice or as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). During his two years at LCC, Greg was particularly impressed with two instructors. “Brad Benjamin is super interested in what he’s doing. He’s totally into math, and makes it exciting,” said Greg. He also really enjoyed Mary Leach’s Humanities class, “I’m a numbers guy, so I never thought I would like the subject. She did a good job of helping me think differently about things,” he said.

Heidi Threet

Heidi Threet

Heidi is receiving an Associate of Applied Arts in Business Management degree. She was named the 2019 Outstanding Business Management Student by LCC faculty. After receiving her degree, Heidi hopes to apply her management skills to a full-time career with a business, industry, or organization in the area. Heidi was particularly impressed with LCC business faculty member Tim Allwine. “He really pushed my brain the most. I really admire his patience,” she said. In addition to excelling in school, Heidi enjoys spending time tending her cows and chickens, including producing free-range eggs. She and her family provide more than half of their own food supply through their “hobby farm.”

Perrin Zahn

Perrin Zahn

Perrin is receiving an Associate of Applied Arts in Machine Trades and a Certificate of Proficiency in Computer Numerical Control. He was named the 2019 Outstanding Machine Trades Student by LCC faculty. Perrin’s interest in mechanical devices and design began at an early age. While in a robotics program in high school, he became interested in Computer Aided Design (CAD) and used the program to design an all-directional drive system. “It was a single wheel mounted on a rotation carriage made to allow an autonomous robot to drive without turning. Think Amazon warehouse,” he said. Perrin saw his work come to life in one of LCC’s labs, where he was able to build the system he designed in high school. He credits LCC’s Machining and Welding instructors with bringing their “real world” experience to the students at LCC. “There’s a lot you can learn outside of classes, which really helps you get into a job faster,” said Perrin.


Graduates and guests are invited to attend a reception sponsored by the LCC Foundation following the ceremony.
For more information, contact Wendy Hall by email or at (360) 442 - 2491.

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