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Ceremony goes on despite bomb and shooting warnings

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Pacific University graduated hundreds of students last Saturday, May 18.Separate bomb and shooting threats in the days preceding Pacific University’s spring commencement ceremony forced officials to beef up security prior to and during the event at Forest Grove’s Lincoln Park Stadium Saturday, May 18.

Administrators emailed students, faculty and staff Friday afternoon that the school had “received threats that pertain to commencement at Lincoln Park” and that “precautionary measures” were being taken.

University officials reported a bomb-threat posting on a social media site Thursday, May 16, and a called-in shooting threat Friday, May 17, to Forest Grove Police, said Capt. Mike Herb, the department’s spokesman.

“We opened a case and thoroughly investigated,” he said Tuesday morning. “We found the threats were not credible, but we are still investigating this as a crime and progress is being made.”

The local threats were part of a wider occurrence of threats at other Portland area schools, according to an email sent Friday by Pacific’s campus public safety department.

Despite the warnings, close to 2,500 people turned out under a constant drizzle Saturday for the commencement ceremony at Lincoln Park Stadium. Nearly 300 students from the university’s college of arts and sciences received their bachelor’s degrees.

Chloe Hallyburton, an exercise science major from Dayton, addressed her fellow students as the valedictorian. “There are still countless things to learn that haven’t even entered our minds yet,” she said. “Don’t lose the sense of wonder and exploration you gained at Pacific. Push ahead out of your comfort zones.”

Saturday afternoon students in graduate and professional programs received their diplomas.by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Graduates celebrate their day as their time at Pacific University in Forest Grove comes to a close.

“As graduates of our professional programs here at Pacific University, you now have the opportunity and responsibility to go out into the world of your choosing and make a difference,” President Lesley Hallick told the graduates.

Forty students earned master of education degrees; 20 received master of occupational therapy degrees; 95 received pharmacy degrees; and 39 students earned doctoral degrees in physical therapy. Additionally, 83 students earned doctor of optometry degrees.

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