Senior Send-Off Draws a Crowd

June 7, 2024

Hundreds of soon-to-graduate, sun-drenched seniors took a stroll from Showalter Hall, down the “Hello Walk” and through the historic stone Herculean Pillars for the 2024 Senior Send-Off, on June 6.

After university and student leaders offered encouraging remarks honoring the seniors and welcoming them to the EWU alumni family, the journey down the brick path commenced.

Families, friends and a full line-up of faculty and staff packed the walkway, cheering, ringing cowbells and waving EWU signs at the passing students.

Hundreds of soon-to-graduate student were cheered as the campus celebrated Senior Send-Off.
Hundreds of soon-to-graduate students were cheered as the campus celebrated Senior Send-Off.

Many of the graduating seniors started at Eastern four years ago – at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Back then, Pass Through the Pillars, a traditional welcome to the university for incoming students, and other in-person events were halted.

Even though students missed out on the first half of the tradition, they appreciated being part of the closing half.

“I liked seeing everyone show up,” said Lillian Nolan, 22, of Priest River, Idaho. “It felt very supportive and welcoming. My friend got a lot of high-fives because she was on the outside, so that was nice.”

Nolan’s degree in health psychology from Eastern is the beginning of a longer journey. One that will take her to Western Washington University for graduate studies focusing on experimental psych and neuroscience.

“I kind of want to work in the research department and do research on Alzheimer’s and dementia and things like that,” Nolan said.

Nicole Agular, Teja Tolbert, and Lillian Nolan, all seniors, enjoy some congratulatory cake in the sun.
Nicole Aguilar, Teja Tolbert, and Lillian Nolan enjoy some congratulatory cake in the sun.

Nolan was sitting with friends Teja Tolbert, 22, and Nicole Aguilar, 22, both of Juneau, Alaska.

The two arrived together and chose separate majors. Tolbert has one class to go this summer to finish her bachelor’s degree in economics and, from there, is considering a career in the financial sector. Agular is graduating with a degree in communications and plans to work in the entertainment industry.

“To be honest, I didn’t enter the pillars, so this was surreal because, you know, we were the covid class,” Aguilar said. “It’s been crazy but, at the same time, I’m glad we were able to experience it going out.”

Bryan Snyder, Nick Parkman and Danial Peterson are all graduating with computer science degrees.
Bryan Snyder, Nick Parkman and Danial Peterson are all graduating with computer science degrees.

A table away, three friends graduating with bachelor’s degrees in computer science talked.

Bryan Snyder, a 28-year-old from Yelm, Washington, who arrived as a transfer student, appreciated the opportunities at Eastern. “I was able to go to California to present some of my research. That was an amazing experience,” said Snyder who plans to work as a video game developer.

Back in 2018, Nick Parkman, 23, of Spokane, began his journey at EWU as a Running Start student. He particularly enjoyed working on projects during his senior year. “I’ve had a good time and I’ve learned a lot,” said Parkman who also hopes to work in gaming.

The third classmate, Daniel Peterson, a 25-year-old from Spokane, will graduate and then begin studying cyber defense this fall.

“It feels like I’m going on to another year of school,” Peterson said, “About the same time, it feels like it’s good to get this chapter over with, too.”