Bates Technical College celebrates graduates at commencement ceremony

Posted: May 21, 2018

Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib will join faculty and student speaker at this year’s ceremony

TACOMA, Wash. — Bates Technical College will celebrate a graduating class of more than 700 students, nearly 300 of which will participate in the Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 24, at 6 p.m. The college will hold the event at the Tacoma Dome for the first time, having outgrown the exhibition hall.

This year, the college has announced that Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib will deliver the keynote address, along with a faculty and a student speaker.

“I am thrilled to celebrate the academic achievements and the hard work of our graduates, whose ages range from 17 to 68,” said President Lin Zhou. “I am also honored to welcome our keynote speaker Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib to our ceremony.”

Habib is a former legislator who was elected as Lt. Governor in 2016. A three-time cancer survivor, Habib has been legally blind since the age of eight. He is the first and only Iranian-American official to hold a statewide elected office in the U.S. Habib is a graduate of Columbia University, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and Yale Law School.

Faculty speaker Karrie Zylstra has been an educator since 1994, when she began her teaching career in the international program at Western Washington University. Zylstra has worked at Bates since 1996 and currently teaches English courses and academics in the Facilities Maintenance Engineer program.

Culinary Arts program graduate and student speaker Chia Collins is a mother of three who has always had an affinity for cooking. Coming from a large extended family she fondly remembers preparing meals with her parents and grandparents. Collins enrolled in the culinary program following a 17-year career in social work. Her goal is to open a nutrition and personal chef business locally and then eventually in her hometown of Oakland, Calif. Collins chose to change her career and follow her dream to own a small business because she wanted to show her children that hard work and a positive outlook will help make their dreams a reality.

To learn more about the commencement ceremony, visit, or call 253.680.7000.

Keynote speaker Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib


Faculty speaker Karrie Zylstra


Student speaker and Culinary Arts program graduate Chia Collins