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Sherman Alexie to speak at University of Washington Bothell’s 25th Commencement

Author Sherman AlexieNoted author, poet and screenwriter Sherman Alexie will deliver the commencement address to the 2016 graduating class of the University of Washington Bothell. 

The 25th Commencement Ceremony is expected to be the university’s largest to date with about 1,300 of the 1,800 spring grads participating. The ceremony will take place at 1:45 p.m. on June 12 at UW Seattle’s Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. 

Alexie is a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian who often talks about growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and being the first person in his family to go to college. At UW Bothell, nearly half of first-year students are the first in their families to earn a four-year degree and 64 percent are from diverse backgrounds. 

Alexie won a scholarship to Gonzaga University where he thought about becoming a doctor until he found he was squeamish in anatomy classes. He transferred to Washington State University where a creative writing class inspired him to work on The Business of Fancydancing, his first published collection of stories and poems. 

Alexie’s 24 books include the semi-autobiographical The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which won a National Book Award, Reservation Blues, Indian Killer, and The Toughest Indian in the World, and his most recent collection of stories, Blasphemy. His works are read by UW Bothell students. 

In 1998, Alexie wrote and produced the film  Smoke Signals, an adaptation of his book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. The movie won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival.  Alexie made his directorial debut with 2002’s The Business of Fancydancing  

Alexie now lives in Seattle with his family. He is currently working on a sequel to both The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and co-hosting the podcast  A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment with best-selling author Jess Walter. 

About UW Bothell: Ranked No. 1 in the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest on Money magazine’s list of best colleges, UW Bothell provides access to an exceptional University of Washington education for students of tremendous potential. Offering more than 45 undergraduate and graduate degrees, options, certificates and concentrations, UW Bothell builds regional partnerships, inspires change, creates knowledge, shares discoveries and prepares students for leadership in the state of Washington and beyond.