Peer returns to Adams State to address graduates


gary peer

The Adams State University Spring 2013 Commencement Speaker Dr. Gary Peer said commencements are not about speakers and speeches, but rather, about a significant place and event in one's life.

"The Class of 2013 will not long remember my speech nor should they," Peer said. "On the other hand, they will never forget ASU, Alamosa and the extraordinary San Luis Valley region of which they've been a part these past several years."

The ceremony begins at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 11, in Plachy Hall. Adams State will award 233 degrees, including 209 bachelor's degrees, and 24 associate degrees.

Peer was the Adams State vice president for academic affairs from 1987 until 1997. During that time, attending numerous commencement ceremonies, he remembers the accolades shouted from the audience to the graduates and the warmth and affection conveyed through "group hugs" following the ceremonies. "As many of Adams State's students are first generation college graduates, the graduation of the family's sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, spouses, grandchildren, etc., is often a very special thing and something very beautiful to witness."

His speech, "The Enduring Power of Place," will convey the idea that graduation from college is a special day in every graduate's life and something fewer than half of those who begin college ever accomplish. "The college/university from which they are graduating will forever remain one of the most important 'places' in their life experience; - and those things being invariably true and widely understood throughout higher education, they will likely recall very little of what the commencement speaker actually said."

Peer started his career at Adams State as the assistant vice president for academic affairs and graduate dean in 1985. He also served as interim president for a few months during his tenure as vice president. After leaving Adams State, Peer accepted a position at Central Michigan University – Mt. Pleasant, Michigan as assistant vice president for academic affairs and later became the vice provost for academic affairs at the same institution. From 2001 until 2007 he was the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Tarleton State University – Stephenville, Texas.

Peer received his Doctor of Education from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana; his Master of Science from Emporia State University, Emporia Kansas; and his Bachelor of Arts from Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas. He has been a member of numerous civic clubs and boards of directors and as Chamber of Commerce President in Alamosa, Colo.

Steve Valdez, chair of the Adams State Board of Trustees, will convey the greetings from the board, while Jasmine Mascarenas will deliver the 2013 class message. Dr. Christine Keitges, professor of music, will lead the singing of the Alma Mater. A reception will follow the ceremony for graduates and their guests in the Plachy Hall Field House.