The commencement ceremony that concludes each academic semester is a huge milestone for our students, signifying the fruits of perhaps several years of labor. It also represents the commitment each of you brings to your work of supporting student success. Our students often face challenges beyond those presented by a particular exam or project, and we know your concern for individuals and the relationships you foster can make an important difference. It is not uncommon for ASU graduates to credit a member of faculty or staff who was there for them.
One-hundred forty-seven undergraduates will become ASU alumni on December 17. This commencement ceremony will once again demonstrate that we “walk the talk” articulated in Adams State University’s Mission:
“. . . to educate, serve, and inspire our diverse populations in the pursuit of their lifelong dreams and ambitions.” The composition of this graduating class clearly shows we are faithful to that mission. Just over 29 percent of these new graduates identify as Hispanic; an additional 9.5 percent are from other ethnic or racial minority groups. That’s a total of nearly 39 percent.
There are other dimensions to this diversity, as well. A total of 42 percent of the graduating class have low-income backgrounds, and 41 percent will be the first in their families to complete college. Twenty-three percent fall into both these categories. For them, graduation is a particularly sweet achievement.
In addition, 40 graduates earned their degrees through our Extended Studies program. That includes 2 international students and 19 who are incarcerated. Sixty-seven percent of our fall graduates are Colorado residents, including 29 percent who are from the San Luis Valley. Fully one-third have participated in Grizzly Athletics.
For all of our students, earning a degree will have a positive impact not only on their own lives, but also on their families and communities, and, indeed, on our nation as a whole. As our semester comes to a close and ASU sends more successful graduates into the world, I congratulate you all on a job very well done.