Clark College graduation features poverty expert



A national expert on poverty will be the keynote speaker during Clark College’s commencement ceremony on June 16.

Donna Beegle, the only member of her family to not be incarcerated, grew up in a migrant labor setting. She left school for marriage at 15, only to find herself with two children and no husband or job at 25. She has since earned a GED and bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. The latter was earned at Portland State University, where she taught communications.

Beegle has insight from growing up in the deepest poverty in America and studying poverty for 20 years. Her story and work have been featured in newspapers around the nation, and on local and national TV programs. Her family and work on breaking poverty barriers will be featured in an upcoming PBS documentary, “Invisible Nation.”

She is now president of Communication Across Barriers, a consulting firm devoted to improving communication and relationships, and founder of the new nonprofit organization PovertyBridge. For more, visit

Clark’s graduation ceremony will be in the Sleep Country Amphitheater, 17200 N.E. Delfel Road in Ridgefield.

The event starts at 7 p.m., and is free and open to the public.