Heritage University Class of 2024 Commencement

Heritage University Class of 2024 Commencement


Heritage University to hold Class of 2024 Commencement at
Yakima Valley SunDome

Yakima, Wash. – Heritage University celebrates the Class of 2024 at Commencement on Saturday, May 11, at 10:00 a.m. at the Yakima Valley SunDome. Undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred upon students graduating from the Heritage Toppenish campus and the Tri-Cities regional site. Overall, 197 students earned their degrees at Heritage this year.

Jim Pigott of Seattle, Wash., philanthropist, and generous benefactor of Heritage University will present this year’s commencement address. Pigott and his wife, Gaye, are long-time supporters of Heritage and its students. Among their many initiatives are the creation of the Gay and Jim Pigott Nursing Endowment at Heritage and Seattle Children’s Hospital made through a $4 million gift in 2023 and the establishment of the Moccasin Lake Foundation Scholarship. Additionally, they have funded numerous campus projects, including the construction of the Gaye and Jim Pigott Commons which is home to the university’s café, conference rooms, and student lounge and is an integral part of the daily operations at the institution. The number of lives impacted by the Pigotts’ philanthropy is immeasurable. Throughout their lifetimes, they’ve supported countless organizations through their charitable giving and volunteer services throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

It is also with profound honor and remembrance that Heritage University announces the posthumous awarding of an honorary doctoral degree to Professor Emeritus of Education Edwin “Ed” Rousculp, who passed away in January. Rousculp’s tenure at Heritage began in 1983 when he started teaching English in the evenings as an adjunct instructor while still teaching at the Yakama Nation Tribal School. After leaving to pursue his graduate studies at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., he returned to Heritage in 1993. as a full-time faculty member in the College of Education. That same year he was appointed Chair of the Teacher Education Program. He served in that role until 2005 when he became the Director of the Center for Intercultural Learning and Teaching, where he remained until his retirement in 2022.

Heritage University will present the 2024 Violet Lumley Rau Outstanding Alumnus Award to Jennifer Johann for her dedication to helping lift the field of education and the educational outcomes for all children in her community. Johann earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education in 2004 and an M.Ed. in professional development in 2007 from Heritage. Johann has spent 19 years teaching in the Mount Adams School District and currently teaches third grade at Harrah Elementary School. Throughout her career, she’s built a rapport with her students that cemented her reputation as a teacher who truly cares. Outside the classroom, she assists other Harrah Elementary students through her work as a 21st-century supervisor for the NCAC-Farmworkers Clinic after-school program. As an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation, Johann brings her cultural insights to her work, promoting inclusivity and diversity within the school and the broader community. Among her many efforts, she created the Since Time Immemorial website for her district, which provides teacher and school resources that incorporate indigenous perspectives into education.

Heritage will also announce the recipients of the Board of Directors Academic Excellence Award, which is presented to all undergraduate students who earned a perfect 4.0 during their studies, 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 https://heritage.edu/student-resources/commencement-2024/.

For more information, contact Davidson Mance, media relations coordinator at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@Heritage.edu.


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