After days of cloudy skies the sun broke through as if to celebrate Adams State University Spring 2019 Commencement Ceremonies. Adams State offers degrees that matter and serves students who might not otherwise receive a four-year degree. Nearly half of all Adams State undergraduates, who received a degree on May 11, are the first in their families to graduate from college, about 40 percent come from low-income backgrounds with 25 percent being both first-generation and low income.
Starting at 10 a.m. in Plachy Hall, the undergraduate ceremony included an address by U.S. Hall of Fame Running Coach Joe I. Vigil, Ph.D., who also received an honorary doctorate in Human Performance and Physical Education. Vigil grew up in Alamosa and graduated from Alamosa High School, where he accepted his first teaching job. From humble beginnings, Vigil reached the pinnacle of success as a distance running coach. He encouraged the newest alumni class to “Shoot for the top because you’re from Adams State.”
One-third of the 2019 class, receiving either their associates or bachelor’s degree, including the student speaker and psychology major Jessica Moorman, are from San Luis Valley high schools and nearly 60 percent are from Colorado. Adams State was the first college in Colorado to be designated a Hispanic Serving Institution and one-third of the 2019 spring class identify as Hispanic and half as minorities.
Just as Plachy Hall cleared after the morning ceremony, it began filling again with one of the largest graduate classes in Adams State history. Adams State awarded nine doctoral degrees and 266 master’s degrees in the afternoon Graduate Commencement Ceremony. Many of Adams State graduate degrees are offered entirely online and among the 2019 class, almost half call Colorado home; one-third are first-generation and 28 percent are minority.
Women were well-represented, making up 75 percent of those receiving a graduate degree. Danielle Smith received her Master in Science in Human Performance and Physical Education, and delivered the graduate commencement address. She expressed appreciation for all who supported her and encouraging those gathered to stay committed to their goals and dreams.