Great Falls College celebrates 2020 and 2021 graduates with in-person ceremony
The 2020 and 2021 graduates of Great Falls College were honored with an in-person ceremony on Saturday, May 8, at Montana ExpoPark.
GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Great Falls College MSU celebrated the 2020 and 2021 graduates with an in-person commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 8, at Montana ExpoPark in the fairgrounds.
The ceremony, which was physically distanced and required face coverings, honored 278 graduates in 2021, 31 of whom received multiple degrees, 54 who graduated with honors by having a GPA between 3.5 and 3.749 and 50 who graduated with high honors with a GPA of at least 3.75.
And 77 veterans, their spouses and dependents graduated. And nine dual-enrollment students also graduated. In all, 314 certificates and degrees were awarded.
Aaron Frank, president of the Associated Students of Great Falls College, spoke on resiliency and perseverance.
"Like you all, I have made it here," he said to his fellow graduates. "Like all of you, I'm speeding toward my goals, taking each step with as much grace as I can muster as we all continue to stride forward."
And he added: "All of our success, all of our failure, all of the times that we said, 'I am not done yet' are the tings that makes us great. The things that make us worthy of days like today."
And Dr. Susan J. Wolff, who is retiring as CEO/dean of the college on June 30, was selected by the 2021 graduates as the commencement speaker.
"You have lived through and navigated a life-changing, economic-changing, lifestyle-changing pandemic while earning your degrees," she said. "This is extraordinary. The faculty and staff exemplified adaptability while keeping their focus on you and your success."
She told the graduates to practice true listening, continue building yourselves, your community, your families and your community, be intentional and continue to engage with and embrace change.
"Thank you for everything you have done, for not losing sight of your dream and goal," she said.
The special day began earlier with an Eagle Feather Ceremony at Great Falls College for Native American graduates who are enrolled members of a tribe or descendants. Those honored during the transfer ceremony received a beaded eagle feather that they could carry across the stage at commencement.
The ceremony also honored Leonard Bates, program director of respiratory therapy at the college who will be retiring after starting the program nearly 40 years ago.
The commencement ceremony was livestreamed at https://youtu.be/wTU3a2ZiVag for those who couldn't make it.
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