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Graduation Celebration

About 700 graduates and thousands of their relatives and friends filled the Park Blocks for Portland State’s summer commencement ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 18.

The class of 2012 is the largest class in PSU history, with 6,165 students earning degrees. PSU has held its summer commencement for more than 40 years. Saturday’s ceremony was the final summer graduation in the Park Blocks. Starting next year, commencement ceremonies will only be held in the spring.

The student speakers are Shangar Meman and Debra Kidney.

Meman is a political science major who moved to the Portland area as a refugee from the Kurdish region of Iraq when she was a child. Before she left Iraq, her family was persecuted under the regime of Saddam Hussein. At PSU, she interned for U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, state Rep. Jefferson Smith and a law firm. She hopes to go to law school and return to Iraq to teach about democracy.

Kidney started at PSU at age 8 when she attended German School in Neuberger Hall on Saturdays. Her grandfather attended the old Lincoln High School 100 years ago, before it became PSU’s Lincoln Hall. Her mother went to PSU, and her son attended his first PSU classes in a front pack when he was three days old. Kidney earned a bachelor’s degree in the early 1980s and is graduating Saturday with a 3.95 GPA and a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy.

To see photos from Saturday’s graduation, go to PSU’s Flickr site here.