CMU graduates celebrate fruits of their hard work

Colorado Mesa University graduate Keith McKay gives the sign of the Maverick horns to the crowd as he walks off the stage after receiving his diploma and bachelor’s degree Sunday during Colorado Mesa University’s 2017 commencement exercises.

It’s almost impossible to predict what direction the pursuit of higher education will take a student.

For Tiana Johnson, who graduated summa cum laude from Colorado Mesa University on Saturday with a degree in psychology, a university education guided her toward research in resilient coping and personality style and the finding that “not all introverts are aloof, withdrawn and shy.” She will begin working toward her doctorate this fall at the University of Northern Colorado.

Cullen Easter, a nursing graduate and professional cyclist, was inspired by his studies, which included clinical rotations at local hospitals, to research hospital and clinic hygiene. He noticed a need for reinforcing hand hygiene standards and invented the Germ Genie, a device worn around the wrist to remind health care practitioners to practice good hand hygiene.

For Lynn Wilson, who received her associate degree in graphic communications from Mesa College in 1983, graduating Saturday with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and an emphasis in sports management was the capstone of a journey that taught her it takes a village to raise a graduate (though she happily reported that she finished before her two sons in the race to a college degree).

Honoring more than 1,140 students who were awarded more than 1,240 degrees and certificates, Saturday morning’s CMU graduation was a celebration of good choices and hard work, of new beginnings and boundless possibility.

“I applaud that you are on the right track in life,” Betty Bechtel, a CMU Board of Trustees member, told the graduates, faculty, family and friends in attendance. “With change comes choice, because life, after all, is a series of choices. My credo is to learn from your past choices but don’t obsess over them.”

She also advised the graduates to “love best the ones you love most.”

Ben Linzey, president of the CMU Associated Student Government, mentioned the term “ubuntu,” which he learned two weeks ago. A Nguni Bantu word translated as “humanity,” Linzey said on a more philosophical level it means “I am who I am because we are,” adding that “we all belong to this (Maverick) family.”

Citing the traditions and symbols of commencement, some of which date to the 12th century, CMU President Tim Foster placed the moment in historical context as he reminded those in attendance Saturday that “graduation is a big accomplishment for all our students.”


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