Colorado Mountain College (CMC) hosted three of its 12 commencement ceremonies at its Spring Valley Campus on May 5-6, honoring the achievements of graduating students.
The Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy commencement kicked it off on May 5, and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, addressed graduates. On May 6 was the pinning ceremony for nursing students, and CMC President and CEO Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser gave the keynote speech. The main commencement occurred at 11am and recognized the accomplishments of CMC students from its Aspen, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale locations. Former Denver Post editor-in-chief Gregory Moore gave the keynote address.
“I still think, after all these years, that education is a fundamental process that we should take advantage of if we can,” said CMC graduate Charles Morris. “Nowadays, it’s more about equity in education rather than strictly grades.”
Morris graduated with an associate’s degree in psychology from CMC after attending the Aspen Campus for three years. He was previously a student at the University of Miami in the ‘60s, where he was a psych major with a minor in philosophy. While he didn’t finish school then, he has now completed a major step on his education journey and is focusing on building a career in psychology.
He explained he has a handful of courses left to achieve a bachelor’s degree in health and human services. He can then get licensed for counseling degrees. As a part-time student, he aspires to complete a master’s in psychology, emphasizing grief and recovery.
“I was fascinated with the idea of industrial psychology. I always thought it would be interesting to be part of mending an institution or a big business, just like you sort of mend or help people mend their minds in their regular old psychology world,” Morris said.
Although Morris is a college graduate later in life, he is determined to work toward meeting his goals. He praised CMC for its locality, affordability and the many professors and advisors at each campus who guide students. He elaborated that CMC “does a phenomenal job” of determining how many hours students should spend per course for success, and which courses and extracurriculars will aid a specific education journey.
“If you’re lucky enough to have somebody giving you road signs to your success, take them,” he said. “CMC does a great job with that.”
On the other end of the spectrum, concurrently enrolled Roaring Fork High School student Nathan Drews also received an associate degree in psychology from CMC and dreams of continuing on to medical school to become a doctor. He said that psychology is a passion of his that fits with his academic goals.
“I think that the biggest thing that finishing this program has convinced me to do is pursue a higher-level degree. I believe this experience — doing coursework above what was expected of me — has convinced me to look at more options in college, like an accelerated master’s,” Drews said. “This is especially true given all the time that I’ve saved with getting [general education] requirements out of the way.”
Drews is set to graduate from Roaring Fork High School in about three weeks and said that he became interested in psychology after he experienced struggles early on in high school.
“I was only able to succeed [at that time] because I was well supported by family and friends, but many people don’t have that. I wanted to enter a profession where I can help people who may not have those resources themselves,” he stated.
He commends CMC for the environment his professors and classmates created, where his academic peers were willing and happy to help with group projects and study periods and the professors provided deeper clarity on subjects than most high school curricula.
“The most important thing I can say about graduation is that it is okay to make mistakes. They don’t have to define you forever,” said Drews. “I took classes online due to COVID and ended up failing one of them. That was the closest I came to just giving up on the degree program, but I retook the class in-person, at which point I got an A.” He continued, “The moral of the story is, it’s okay to fail sometimes, because you are not only learning academically but also learning about yourself. The most important thing is having the willpower to keep going until you get the desired result.”
CMC is an open-enrollment, dual-mission college and accepts applications year-round. The application process is also free. Open registration for students began on May 8 and will close when classes for the fall semester start. Roaring Fork Valley locals are encouraged to call 970-947-8200 for an advising appointment.
For additional enrollment information, visit coloradomtn.edu or call 800-621-8559.