Gov. Chris Gregoire Thursday addressed the 2009 graduates of Bellevue College. About 400 students participated in the commencement ceremony, which took place in the Bellevue College gym. Video
Gregoire offered a note of hope based on what she called "an important similarity" between today's graduation and her own. She recalled the draft notices and discouraging job market she and her classmates faced upon earning their degrees from the University of Washington.
"Like you, we were leaving college and entering a very uncertain world. But as uncertain as the world seems right now, I couldn't be more optimistic for this class and your future," Gregoire said. "My optimism rests on the decency and goodness of our people. Amidst all the troubling headlines, we sometimes overlook all the kindness and compassion that surround us."
Despite being "mired in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," Gregoire expressed confidence in citizens who will work for "the well-being of others" with empathy and service. Thanks to a graduating class she described as "decent and compassionate" and "brimming with ideas and big dreams," the governor asserted, "our better days are still ahead of us."
Thursday's ceremony marked the first occasion that Bellevue College graduated students with bachelor of applied science degrees. Nineteen graduates received bachelor's degrees in radiation and Imaging sciences, a landmark noted by the governor. Gregoire said, "these students prove we can step out of our traditional education models," an achievement "absolutely vital to the future of our state."
Bellevue Community College updated its name to Bellevue College in April to more accurately depict the institution, which now offers four-year opportunities in addition to two-year programs. More than 1,900 students received degrees from Bellevue College this June.
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