Heritage University to hold 40th Commencement at Yakima Valley SunDome May 14, 2022

Heritage University to hold 40th Commencement at Yakima Valley SunDome May 14, 2022


Heritage University to hold Class of 2022 Commencement at
Yakima Valley SunDome

Yakima, Wash. – Heritage University will celebrate the Class of 2022 during its 40th Commencement Exercise Saturday, May 14 at 10:00 a.m. at the Yakima Valley SunDome. Undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred upon students graduating from both the Heritage Toppenish campus and the Tri-Cities campus. Overall, 274 students will earn their degrees at Heritage this year. This will be the first Heritage University commencement ceremony held at the SunDome since 2019.

Representative Debra Lekanoff of the 40th legislative district of Washington state, which includes parts of Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties, will be the commencement speaker. Sworn into the Washington State House of Representatives in January 2019, Rep. Lekanoff is the only Native American woman to currently serve in the Legislature. She is Vice-Chair of the House State Government & Tribal Relations Committee and also sits on the Appropriations Committee and the Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.

In addition to serving in the Legislature, Lekanoff served as Governmental Affairs Director for the Swinomish Tribe. With over 20 years of government relations experience, she engages on a variety of issues at the international, federal, tribal, state, and local levels.

Heritage University will present the 2022 Violet Lumley Rau Outstanding Alumnus Award to Courtney Hernandez. Hernandez earned her Master’s in Teaching and her English Language Learner endorsement from Heritage University in 2018. She is currently an English teacher at Davis High School in Yakima. At Davis, she and a colleague reinvigorated the Black Student Union.

Hernandez was recently featured in the Yakima Herald-Republic’s special series “39 Under 39” which recognizes community members under the age of 39 who are making a difference in the Yakima Valley. Courtney helped organize Black Lives Matter rallies over the past two years. She is also a co-founder of Selah Alliance For Equality (S.A.F.E.), which was recently involved in a court battle with the city of Selah to ensure the protection of First Amendment Rights for all Selah citizens. According to the Yakima Herald-Republic, the suit was settled with the city agreeing to diversify its workforce, amend its sign ordinance and put a mural on a city-owned retaining wall that sends the message that all are welcome in the city.

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 https://heritage.edu/student-resources/commencement-2022/.

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

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