Role-playing gaming industry executive to speak at WWU commencement

Simon Blackwell, vice president of technology and digital gaming at Wizards of the Coast LLC and an alumnus of Western Washington University, will address graduates and their families at the university’s fall commencement at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, in WWU’s Carver Gym.

Blackwell graduated from WWU in 1984 with a degree in philosophy, and in 2010 was named a distinguished alumnus by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

His employer, Wizards of the Coast, is a subsidiary of Hasbro, and produces Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering and many other role-playing games.

Approximately 615 undergraduates and about 45 master’s degree candidates will receive degrees this quarter. Fall commencement includes all majors, and only one ceremony will take place.

Seattle art patrons Virginia Wright and her husband, the late Bagley Wright, will receive the President’s Award for their significant contributions to public art in the Pacific Northwest, particularly to WWU and its nationally renowned Outdoor Sculpture Collection.

Graduating senior Brandi Widenmeyer, an environmental conservation major from Bellingham, will give the student commencement address.

Tickets are required for admission into the gymnasium. Each undergraduate and master’s candidate who has signed up to participate in the ceremony will receive six tickets. Tickets are not required to watch the live televised ceremony in the Science, Math and Technology Education (SMATE) building.

The ceremony will also be streamed live at

Commencement parking is available at no cost in most lots. Visitors must observe regulations for handicapped and individually reserved spaces.

A shuttle service to Carver Gym will be available from a tent in lot 12A off Bill McDonald parkway near Fairhaven College, but cannot accommodate wheelchairs. The shuttle service will begin at 8:30 am and end at 12:30 pm. Guests in wheelchairs may park behind Miller Hall and Arntzen Hall.

Attendants will be available to assist anyone with special parking needs.

For more information or for disability accommodations, contact the Registrar’s Office at 360-650-3701.

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