CMU graduates 967 in rain and shine

Former Colorado Mesa University Board of Trustees Chairwoman Lena Elliott, right,  is suprised when she received a doctor of public service honoris casua from the university. To her left are Dan Sharp with the Alumni Association, and trustee Betty Bechtel.

If it’s good luck on your wedding day, rain is probably a sign of good things to come on graduation day, too.

At least that was Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster’s reasoning near the close of a two-and-a-half hour commencement ceremony Saturday morning at Stocker Stadium. The outdoor ceremony was alternately visited by sunshine, a couple rain showers (one complete with a minute or two of hail) and occasional thunder and lightning in the distance.

The university graduated 967 students who earned a total of 1,047 certificates and associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The school also conferred one honorary degree, a doctor of public service honoris casua, on former CMU Board of Trustees Chair Lena Elliott. Tearing up after the ceremony, Elliott said no one let on that the surprise honor was coming.

“I could be dangerous with a title,” she joked.

Elliott retired from the board last year. She has served on the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, a Blue Ribbon Commission on higher education and the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education, and volunteered for numerous fundraisers.

“Without her, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Foster said.

Outgoing Associated Student Government President Telbe Storbeck offered the student address at Saturday’s commencement ceremony and U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, was this year’s guest speaker. Gardner told the audience of pending graduates it’s a hard time for young people to find good jobs but every generation faces challenges and finds solutions to push through potential blockades to success.

“The brick walls around us are meant to be torn down,” Gardner said.


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