Willamette University Names Graduate Schools Commencement Speakers

Willamette University's graduate schools will host speakers for the Atkinson Graduate School of Management graduation ceremony, the College of Law graduation ceremony and the School of Education hooding ceremony on Sunday, May 16.

Atkinson Graduate School of Management
Greg MertenThis year's speaker at the Atkinson graduation ceremony at 9 a.m. in the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center is Greg Merten, a long-time executive at Hewlett Packard.

For most of the last 20 years, Merten was responsible for Inkjet operations and producing the Inkjet cartridges world wide, becoming a vice president and general manager at HP. He grew his organization from about 75 people on a single site in Corvallis, Ore. in 1984 when the first Inkjet product was introduced, to about 10,000 people on six sites around the world in the year 2001.

During the last year and a half of his career at HP (he retired last October), Merten focused on bringing some of the lessons learned in Inkjet to the rest of HP during and after the merger with Compaq, primarily in the area of leadership development. He continues to consult with HP and elsewhere and frequently speaks about the lessons learned from these experiences to business and government groups.

Oregon State has recognized Merten's accomplishments by electing him to the Academy of Distinguished Engineers and he was also named Business Person of the Year by the Benton County Chamber of Commerce for extraordinary leadership in the development of both the business and the people associated with it. He is a graduate of Oregon State University in electrical engineering with a solid-state physics focus.

College of Law
Jay InsleeThis year's speaker at the College of Law graduation ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on the Quad is U.S. House of Representative Jay Inslee JD'76.

Inslee has been representing Washington State at the national level for more than five years. He was elected U.S. representative from Washington's 1st Congressional District in 1999, but he also served Washington's 4th Congressional District from 1993-95. Inslee first entered politics in 1988 when he was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives.

Inslee has built a broad-based legislative career that balances economic development with progressive policymaking. As a member of the Committee on Resources and the Committee on Financial Services, Inslee has championed intellectual property rights, consumer protection, education, homeland security, technology innovation and environmental protection. Inslee is one of a handful of U.S. congressional leaders to be recognized by The League of Conservation Voters as an "Environmental Champion" and to receive a "100 percent" environmental rating from the Sierra Club.

Prior to entering public service, he was regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and served as an attorney in Selah and Tacoma, Wash. Inslee graduated magna cum laude from Willamette College of Law in 1976.

School of Education
Drea FergusonThis year's speaker at the School of Education hooding ceremony at 12:30 p.m. at the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center is Drea Ferguson MAT'95, one of America's outstanding educators.

This year she received the National Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation, which recognizes the country's brightest educational innovators. Ferguson has taught Drama and Language Arts at Newberg High School since 1995. For the past three years, she has served as the school's instructional leader of the Arts and Communications Department. In her current capacity, she has successfully designed courses, such as Shakespeare and Advanced Shakespeare, which earn students college credit. She also directs four plays a year that cover every range of genre, while teaching courses in Advanced Placement (AP) Humanities and British and Western Literature.

Ferguson received her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Willamette University's School of Education in 1995 and she completed an MA in theatre production from Central Washington University in 2003.