Heritage University to hold 37th annual Commencement at Yakima Valley SunDome

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Heritage University to Hold 37th Annual Commencement at
Yakima Valley SunDome

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University will celebrate the Class of 2019 during the 37th Commencement Exercise Saturday, May 4 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, 363 students will earn their degrees at Heritage this year.

Justice Steven Gonzalez will be the commencement speaker. Mr. Gonzalez was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court on January 1, 2012, and has been elected to six-year terms in 2013 and 2019. Before joining the Supreme Court, Justice Gonzalez served for ten years as a trial judge on the King County Superior Court hearing criminal, civil juvenile, and family law cases. Justice Gonzalez has also served as Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Washington, a domestic violence prosecutor for the city of Seattle, and in private practice at a Seattle law firm.

Justice Gonzalez earned his B.A. with Honors in East Asian Studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. and his J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law. He’s received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2011 and the University of Puget Sound in 2015. Gonzalez has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the “Golden Scarf” from the Seattle Sounders FC, and “Judge of the Year” awards from the Washington State Bar Association, the Washington Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the Asian Bar Association of Washington in 2011.

Heritage University will present the 2019 Violet Lumley Rau Outstanding Alumnus Award to Maria Villalobos-Bevins. Maria is one of Heritage University’s earliest students. She graduated with a Master of Education in Professional Development in 1986. Through her lifetime, Maria has had a significant impact on the people of the Yakima Valley through her professional and volunteer work. As an educator, she nurtured children’s natural curiosity and helped hundreds become life-long learners throughout her 26-year teaching career. Through her volunteer work, she has helped heal bodies and souls both as a translator working with physicians at the Union Gospel Mission and as a visiting preacher working with women incarcerated at the Yakima County jail. Maria is also part owner of Hispanavision and leads a weekly television program that airs on several of the station’s channels.

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) 969-6084 or Mance_D@Heritage.edu.

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The 36th annual Heritage University commencement held May 5, 2018 at the SunDome in Yakima, Wash. (GORDON KING/Gordon King Photography)