Northwest Indian College Commencement

2100 Blackhawk Way
Bellingham, WA 98226

Where Visions Take Flight

Keynote: Deborah Parker, Tsi-Cy-Altsa

Deborah Parker, Tsi-Cy-Altsa (Tulalip/Yaqui)

Deborah has been a selfless server within her communities for decades. She graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Ethnic Studies and Sociology where she distinguished herself as a scholar and a young indigenous leader. Deborah lives in Tulalip with her husband Myron Dewey (Paiute/Shoshone) and their five children. As a leader within her community Deborah Parker shares nearly two decades of experience as a policy analyst, program developer, communications specialist, and committed cultural advocate and volunteer in the tribal and surrounding communities.

Deborah developed two unique outreach and education programs for the Tulalip Tribes. Young Mothers was a culturally relevant program for teen mothers, and the Tribal Tobacco Program sought to inspire responsible tobacco use among tribal members, while acknowledging tobaccos sacred place in indigenous cultures. Prior to her work for the Tulalip Tribes, Deborah served as Director of the Residential Healing School of the Tseil-Waututh Nation in Canada, and in the Treaty Taskforce Office of the Lummi Nation, where she was mentored by American Indian leaders such as Joe Delacruz, Billy Frank, Henry Cagey and Jewell James. As a passionate advocate for improved education for tribal members, and a belief in the inherent right of all Native Americans to expect and receive a quality education, one that is free from racial or cultural bias, Deborah is focused on educational reform which includes developing curriculum that is a true reflection of an indigenous ethics and knowledge system.

Deborah remains committed to education by volunteering her time in the local schools where her children are enrolled. In 2010 Deborah was honored with a Parent of the Year award from the Washington State Indian Education Association (WSIEA), and in 2011 the National Association of American Indian Education (NAAIE) also named her Parent of the Year. Deborah spent several years in communications and helped to produce video and print journalism for the Native American community, and her film credits include both documentary and narrative work.

Northwest Indian College welcomes Deborah as a keynote.


The deadline to apply for commencement is June 2nd.  Participation in commencement is not guaranteed if you apply after June 2nd.

Northwest Indian College holds one ceremony per year at the end of spring quarter to honor those who have graduated the previous summer, fall, winter, and spring quarters. Students must complete an online commencement application. Students must have completed all graduation requirements or be currently enrolled in all remaining requirements to be eligible to participate in commencement. Participation in commencement requires a $50.00 fee, half of which is refundable upon return of NWIC property. Please note: participation in the ceremony does not denote completion of graduation requirements. Degrees and certificates are not awarded or recorded until all credit requirements are completed. Official degrees are posted to the transcript and a diploma is printed once the final credits are completed and verified by the Registrar. The official transcript is the official document of program and course completion.

Instructions on How to Apply

  1. Log-in to JICs (see link below) using the same username and password as your student email

  2. Select the “Academics Tab,”  AND scroll down the page to “Student Services” section

  3. Select “Commencement Application”



You must check-in with the Commencement Committee to receive your gown, cap, tassle, any honors cords as applicable, and your name card.  Check-in will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 17th at the Wex’Liem Building.

The procession for Commencement will form PROMPTLY AT 4:00 p.m., Friday, June 16 on the West Side of the Wex’Liem Building. Faculty marshals will line up the graduating class in one long line within degree categories: B.A. candidates first, AAS candidates second. Signs will help you locate the proper place for your degree. Once you are in the proper place, PLEASE STAY THERE!

Once the class has lined up, the marshals will divide the line in half to form two files (a double line) that will be led and followed by the marshals. The procession begins! Follow your marshals to your seating areas. The tassel should be on the right side of your cap at this time.

During the degree presentation ceremony, candidates in each degree category should rise as a group at the request of the and proceed to the platform as directed by the class marshals. The president makes a statement formally conferring the degree on all eligible candidates.

Each candidate should pause on the ramp until his/her name is announced. The candidate then ascends the ramp, hands the name card to the Dean of Academics, receives the diploma folder from the president, and shakes his hand before proceeding across the platform. As you leave the platform, the class marshals will direct you back to your seat.

When all candidates have received the diploma folders, the President will make announcement to shift the cap tassel to the left side.



Graduation with Honors

Students completing a bachelor or associate degree with a cumulative GPA between 3.50 and 3.74, with at least 45 credits with letter grades, will graduate with Honors. Students will receive 3 honor cords at commencement.

Graduation with High Honors

Students completing a bachelor or associate degree with a cumulative GPA between 3.75 and 3.89, with at least 45 credits with letter grades, will graduate with High Honors. Students will receive 2 honor cords at commencement.

Graduation with Highest Honors

Students completing a bachelor or associate degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.90 and above, with at least 45 credits with letter grades, will graduate with Highest Honors. Students will receive 1 honor cord at commencement.



No tickets are required for guests for the Commencement. Adequate seating will be provided for Commencement guests.


Dinner for the community will be provided following the commencement ceremony.


More info to come soon. Hosted by the NWIC Board of Trustees