On December 15, 2022, Adams State University President David and Darin Tandberg attended a graduation ceremony that inspired an entirely new perspective on receiving a college diploma. The Adams State Prison Education Program (PEP) held a small ceremony at the Territorial Facility in Canon City.

“I wore my full commencement regalia as I conferred bachelor and master degrees to the incarcerated population. It was incredibly powerful,” President Tandberg said. “Adams State provides opportunity for upward mobility and personal achievement and these graduates had the strongest barriers and toughest road towards that end.”

A PEP student told Dr. Tandberg, “What I wear every day in prison reminds me of the worse day of my life. Today, my graduation gown represents the very best day of my life.”

Students must be registered at least half-time (6 credit hours) within the Prison Education Program (PEP) upon first award; be a fulltime Colorado resident; maintain a minimum GPA of 3.2; and demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the Dr. David & Ms. Darin Tandberg Scholarship for the Prison Education Program. If an awardee is released from prison prior to degree completion, the scholarship may transfer to another Adams State University online or on-campus degree program.

“Social science research has shown those who earn a degree are much less likely to return to prison,” President Tandberg added. “This class of Adams State alumni demonstrated grit to overcome their barriers and focus on obtaining their goal of becoming a college graduate and a better life.”