Photo of Eliseo "EJ" Juarez '08
May 3, 2022

LACEY, Wash. – Saint Martin’s University is pleased to announce Eliseo “EJ” Juarez ‘08 as the 2021-2022 commencement speaker. EJ will be addressing the Class of 2022 on Saturday, May 7 at 10 am in Marcus Pavilion. 

“As a student at Saint Martin’s University, EJ played an instrumental role in creating the plan and vision for the Student Health Center,” said Saint Martin’s Dean of Students Melanie Richardson. “He has gone on to exemplify our university mission by becoming an active leader in critical public policy, positively impacting vulnerable populations throughout the State of Washington. EJ models for our students what it means to live the Benedictine values of justice and respect for persons.” 

Eliseo “EJ” Juárez ’08 is the director of equity and environmental justice for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources where he is leading the work to reimagine the cumulative impacts of climate change, forest management, watershed resilience, and policy on Washingtonians to build systems for a more equitable future.  

Previously, he was the public policy manager for the Group Health Foundation where he worked to accelerate efforts to improve health equity and advance community aspirations for a vibrant, healthy future. He managed the Foundation’s public affairs team of policy and government relations professionals and shaped the organization’s political activities, protocol, and endorsements.  

He has also served as the community partnerships and government relations manager for the Seattle Public Library. In this role, he managed the agency’s intergovernmental affairs and served as co-chair for the agency’s Racial Equity Team.  

Before transitioning to public service, EJ served as the executive director at Amplify/ColorPAC (now Sage Leaders), an organization dedicated to recruiting, training, and electing people of color, LGBTQI+, and young people to public office. He served by gubernatorial appointment to the Commission for Hispanic Affairs and later the Commission on Judicial Conduct.  

Currently, he serves as Chair of the Seattle Redistricting Commission, first vice-chair of the King County Citizen’s Election Oversight Committee, and on the board of the SEIU 775 Benefits Group. A graduate of Saint Martin's University, he served in student government and was named a distinguished alumnus in 2016. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Washington-Bothell, where he is a member of their Hall of Excellence. 

Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 13 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 29 majors and 11 graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing, and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and more students to its extended campus located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  

For additional information: 

Genevieve Chan 
Vice President, Marketing and Communications 

Jocelyn Bonilla 
Marketing and Social Media Manager