36th Annual Commencement

Heritage University to Hold 36th Annual Commencement at Yakima Valley SunDome

Heritage University will host Dr. Lori Arviso Alvord, the first Diné (Navajo) woman surgeon as commencement speaker during its 36th Commencement exercise Saturday, May 5 at 10:00 a.m. at the Yakima Valley SunDome. Undergraduate and graduate students from the Yakima Valley and the Tri-Cities will participate in the ceremony. Overall, 334 students earned their degrees at Heritage this year.

Dr. Alvord is from Crownpoint, New Mexico. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a double major in psychology sociology and a minor in Native American studies. She earned her M.D at Stanford University Medical School, and completed a six-year residency at Stanford University Hospital. Dr. Alvord earned her board certification as a surgeon in 1994.

She later returned to her Navajo reservation, where she combined her technical proficiency in surgery while addressing the psychological and spiritual aspects of healing. While never forgetting her Native roots, Dr. Alvord strongly advocates blending Western medicine with traditional healing practices. She has written The Scalpel and the Silver Bear, a book about her experiences. In 2013, Dr. Alvord was nominated to serve as the U.S. Surgeon General.

The Violet Lumley Rau Outstanding Alumni Award will be presented to Pastor Colleen Sheahan. In 2000, Sheahan earned a B.A. in Elementary Education through a collaborative program with Central Washington University, Yakima Valley College and Heritage University. After graduation, Sheahan started a private preschool -12th grade Christian school in Yakima, Wash. called as West Chestnut Academy where she serves as pastor. In 2008 she earned a master’s in education from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Heritage will announce the recipients of the Board of Directors’ Academic Excellence Award and the President’s Council Student Award of Distinction during the ceremony.

The Yakima Valley SunDome is located at 1301 South Fair Ave. in Yakima. Parking is free. Additional information is available online at: http://www.heritage.edu/Community/2018-Commencement

For more information, contact David Mance, media relations coordinator at (509) 865-0731 or Mance_D@Heritage.edu.