Wenatchee Valley College graduation and nurses pinning ceremonies

Wenatchee Valley College commencement exercises are scheduled for Friday, June 14, for the Wenatchee campus and Saturday, June 15, for the Omak campus. The high school completion graduations will be included in the ceremonies. The nurses pinnings will be held June 14 for the Wenatchee campus and June 15 for the Omak campus.

The Wenatchee commencement ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. in the Town Toyota Center. The Omak campus commencement will begin at 1 p.m. in the Omak Performing Arts Center.

The Wenatchee campus nurses pinning for completion of the registered nursing certificate and associate degrees of nursing program will take place at 1 p.m. at the Town Toyota Center. The Omak campus capping and pinning ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. in the Omak Performing Arts Center.

WVC Biology faculty member Rob Fitch will be the guest speaker at the Wenatchee ceremony. Fitch has taught at WVC since 1989 and currently serves as faculty adviser for the Science Club and Campus Crusade for Christ. He teaches in the summers at Walla Walla University's Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory adjacent to Deception Pass State Park near Anacortes, Wash., and he also teaches biology and anatomy labs for home-schooled high school students. Fitch was awarded the 1994-95 Alcoa Excellence in Teaching Award, the 1997-98 WVC Outstanding Faculty of the Year and the 2011-12 Anna Pieratt Spirit of WVC Award.

Motivational speaker and explorer Helen Thayer will be the guest speaker at the Omak ceremony. At 50, she became the first woman to travel solo to the magnetic North Pole. She has explored the far corners of the world, including following an ancient trade route through four Sahara Desert countries, living with the Massai tribe in Tanzania, studying indigenous cultures and water issues in the Amazon, and trekking across the Mongolian Gobi Desert on foot.

Thayer is the author of Polar Dream: The First Solo Expedition by a Woman and Her Dog to the Magnetic North Pole, Three Among the Wolves: A Year of Friendship with Wolves in the Wild, and Trekking the Gobi: Desert of Dreams and Despair.

She was honored by the White House and the National Geographic Society and named "One of the Great Explorers of the 20thy Century" by National Geographic and NPR. She and her husband Bill continue to develop educational programs.

President's Medals, Academic Achievement Awards, the WVC Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year and the Omak campus Most Supportive Partner are among the awards that will be presented during the college ceremonies.