2013 Ceremony

Undergraduate Ceremony: Erik Larson

Erik Larson is a renowned author. Erik has written a number of critically acclaimed books, including his most recent bestseller, In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and An American Family in Hitler's Berlin, about the first American ambassador to Nazi Germany. He authored the bestselling The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, which compellingly recounts a series of murders committed during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, as well as The Naked Consumer: How Our Private Lives Become Public Commodities and Lethal Passage: The Story of a Gun.

The Seattle-based author began his career as a journalist, working as a contributing writer for The Wall Street Journal and Time. His work has appeared in numerous national magazines including The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Harper’s.

Generous in sharing his insights with others, particularly students, Erik has served as a lecturer at several universities. It will be a delight to hear this gifted storyteller speak to our undergraduates.

Graduate Ceremonyr: John Koster, MD, CEO emeritus of Providence Health & Services

Dr. John Koster, who served as president and CEO before recently taking on the role of CEO emeritus, will retire from Providence Health & Services this year. He has been responsible for leading one of the largest and most highly regarded Catholic healthcare organizations. Providence is a not-for-profit Catholic health care ministry committed to providing for the needs of the communities it serves. The system’s services include 32 hospitals, 400 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing and many other health and educational services. The health system, along with its affiliates, employs more than 65,000 people across five states–Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon and Washington–with its system office located in Renton. Providence Health & Services continues a tradition of caring that the Sisters of Providence began more than 157 years ago.

With Dr. Koster at the helm, Providence has continued its commitment to the communities it serves, especially the poor and vulnerable. For example, in 2012 the system provided $823 million in community benefit and charity care to improve access healthcare. This year, Providence was recognized among the top 20 best-performing systems in the country in Thomson Reuters’ annual rankings.

Dr. Koster is past chair of the VHA Board of Directors, a nationwide network of healthcare organizations and physicians. Frequently included among the 50 most influential healthcare executives by Modern Healthcare, he placed 20th this year. We are pleased to have him with us for our graduate ceremony.