WSU Tri-Cities to recognize accomplishments of over 280 graduates

Washington State University Tri-Cities will honor more than 280 graduating students this year. The honorees include graduates from the fall 2023 and spring 2024 terms. 

WSU Tri-Cities chancellor Sandra Haynes will give opening remarks followed by a keynote address given by Frank Armijo. An honorary doctorate degree will be presented to Patricia Whitefoot.  

The two-hour WSU Tri-Cities Commencement Ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at the Toyota Center, 7016 W Grandridge Blvd., Kennewick, WA 99336. No tickets are required. Parking is free. Doors to the venue open at noon. The Toyota Center has entry requirements including a clear bag policy. 


The 2024 graduates include 12 doctoral candidates in the areas of biological and agricultural engineering, computer science, education, engineering science, nursing practice, and teaching and learning. 

The 24 master’s candidates will receive degrees in biology, computer science, education, environmental engineering, environmental science, mechanical engineering, and teaching. 

Over 250 bachelor’s candidates will receive degrees in biology, business administration, civil engineering, computer science, digital technology and culture, earth and environmental science, education, electrical engineering, English, history, hospitality business management, humanities, integrated plant sciences, mechanical engineering, nursing, psychology, science, social sciences, and viticulture and enology.  

Headshot of Frank ArmijoFrank Armijo is a distinguished leader and a retired vice president of Lockheed Martin. His professional experience includes federal, commercial, and international business initiatives. Currently, Armijo is a principal with The Armijo Group and serves on the Washington Roundtable and the Gonzaga University Board of Regents.  

As a staunch supporter of higher education, Armijo works tirelessly to encourage and empower young people to pursue advanced degrees, particularly in STEM-related fields. In 2014, he was named one of the Top 100 Corporate STEM Leaders. Much of his volunteer and philanthropic efforts are directed toward academics.  

Armijo is a founding board member of the National Reading Foundation and a co-founder of the Hispanic Academic Achievers Program (HAAP), which has distributed over $2 million in scholarships to students pursuing higher education.  

Armijo graduated from Eastern Washington University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in management information systems with a minor in communication. He also has an Associate of Arts degree and an Applied Science degree in computer science from Columbia Basin College. He is an inductee into the Northwest Athletic Community College Hall of Fame. 

Headshot of Patricia WhitefootPatricia (Patsy) Whitefoot, a member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, is an outstanding visionary and transformative leader in Native education. She has served at various levels, from rural Tribal communities to state, regional, national, and international arenas, advocating for and addressing critical issues of cultural, health, and human justice rights. 

Whitefoot has held positions and received appointments on numerous national and regional boards. She served as the Supervisor of Indian Education for Washington and was appointed by the Obama administration to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Advisory Council on Indian Education. Additionally, she has been the Education Chair of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians for more than 25 years and served two terms as the President of the National Indian Education Association. 

At the grassroots level, Whitefoot has been instrumental in helping generations of students and families learn about tribal sovereignty, civic engagement, and cultural preservation across the northwest region. 

Whitefoot’s connection with WSU began during her tenure as a young educator at White Swan High School on the Yakama Reservation. She actively served on the university’s Native American Advisory Board and the Native American Health Sciences Tribal Advisory Board, advocating for WSU priorities at both federal and state levels. 

Most recently, Whitefoot has directed her focus towards the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and people (MMIWP). She serves on a task force convened by the Washington State Attorney General’s office and on the Federal Not Invisible Act Commission, appointed by Secretary Deb Haaland, U.S. Department of the Interior.