Adams State Alumna Hamner will address fall graduates

(12-07-2015)

Dr. Millie Hamner Colorado State Representative for House District 61

Dr. Millie Hamner, class of '87 and Colorado State Representative for House District 61, will give the commencement address at Adams State University in Alamosa on December 19, 2015. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. in Plachy Hall. Adams State will award 230 degrees, including 138 bachelor's degrees, and 92 associate degrees.

Hamner said her speech, "The Power of Education and Achievement," will serve to congratulate the graduates for their accomplishment and inspire them to go out and affect positive change in a world that faces difficult challenges ahead.

"The achievement of earning a college degree is something that should not be taken for granted," Hamner said. As an Adams State alumna, a career educator and now a State Representative, she understands what this step in a student's life means to his or her future and to ours. "Given that many of these individuals have reached this incredible milestone as a first generation college graduate, it is an unprecedented accomplishment in their lives that should bring great pride to themselves and their families. However, hard but meaningful work lies ahead. A degree from Adams State presents an opportunity for graduates to make a positive impact in their community on the local, state, national, or even international level. While graduation it is indeed an accomplishment, it presents an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge and perspective they've gained to the benefit of others."

Hamner earned a master's degree from Adams State and a Ph. D. from the University of Denver. She used these academic achievements to enact positive change in the educational environment in her home communities on the Western Slope and throughout the State of Colorado. As a superintendent, she implemented a program that increased the graduation rate of Hispanic students to the highest level in the state. Subsequently, as an elected representative, she championed the Asset bill, which granted undocumented students who graduated from Colorado high schools access to in-state college tuition.

Hamner is in her third term and represents House District 61, which includes Summit, Lake and Pitkin counties and parts of Delta and Gunnison counties. One of the General Assembly's most influential legislators, she is chairwoman of the powerful Joint Budget Committee, which drafts the annual state budget; vice chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, and former chairwoman of the Education Committee.

In the 2015 session Hamner and the JBC produced a balanced, bipartisan $10.9 billion general fund budget that provides funding for vital services to address the growing needs of our state and strengthen the middle class across Colorado. She was also instrumental in hammering out a bipartisan accord on the 2015 legislation that reduced the standardized testing burden on Colorado's K-12 students.

She began her career as a teacher and administrator in the Eagle County School District, where she taught for 23 years before being asked to become assistant superintendent of the Summit School District and its 3,000 students in 2001. She was promoted to superintendent in 2004.

She and her husband, Rich, live in Dillon.

Arnold Salazar, chair of the Adams State Board of Trustees, will convey the greetings from the board, while Alexandrea "Snowy" Schroeder will deliver the 2015 class message. Dr. Shellie Beeman, assistant professor of music, will lead the singing of the Alma Mater. Family and friends unable to physically attend the commencement ceremony can stream the program live on their computer at adams.edu/live.