State Rep. Hamner urged graduates to open the doors of opportunity

(12-21-2015)

Just as the brilliant sun prompts one to smile and relax on a frigid San Luis Valley day, Commencement shines the light of achievement and celebration on graduates after several years of diligent study. That light was bright in Adams State University's Plachy Hall, December 19, as President Beverlee J. McClure presided over her first commencement ceremony. The university awarded 138 bachelor's degrees and 92 associate degrees.

As she welcomed the commencement audience, McClure addressed the youngsters, "Children, we hope you see your future here at ASU."

The message on behalf of the graduating class was given by Alexandrea "Snowy" Schroeder, a Las Animas, Colo., native who earned a B.S. in business administration-accounting. She soon begins her career at First Southwest Bank in Alamosa.

"The Power of Education and Achievement" was the commencement address given by Dr. Millie Hamner. A former educator who earned a master's degree from Adams State in 1987, she is Colorado State Representative for House District 61 and chair of the Joint Budget Committee.

Business graduate Alexandrea "Snowy" Schroeder addressed the gathering on behalf of the Class of 2015.

Schroeder recalled the first time she sat in Plachy Hall gym: "It was 1997, and I was four years old, sitting in the bleachers to watch my dad receive his diploma. A few years later, my mom finished her degree. Never would I have thought that one day I would be here, too."

Noting the motto of her freshman class, "Let the Journey Change You," she added, "I am forever grateful for the foundation Adams State gave me. . . We were not told not what to think, but how to think. We've realized value of sitting in these seats in the classroom. We had to prioritize. We realized the real world consequences of not getting assignments done in a timely manner. We have developed the ability to think clearly and work efficiently. We now sit in the most prized seats this morning. I've been looking forward to sitting here from the first day of my freshman year. . . My hope is that we will always remember and rely on the foundation Adams State has built for us. Great Stories Begin Here!"

Colorado State Representative for House District 61 and chair of the Joint Budget Committee Dr. Millie Hamner urged the graduates to continually seek new opportunities for growth and learning.

Hamner described six "doors of opportunity" through which she progressed in her career from elementary teacher to school superintendent to state representative. She encouraged the graduates to seek further opportunities for growth and learning.

"I challenge you to continue learning and even obtain advanced degrees. More doors of opportunity will open for you, and you'll have even more chances to change and improve lives beyond your own," she said. "Are you finished investing in yourself and your learning? Or will you continue to seek out and open those doors of opportunities? Those doors that allow you to continue developing your skills, your experience, and your perspective? . . . When that next door of opportunity opens in front of you, will you close it, or will you close your eyes, take a deep breath, and walk confidently through it?"

By Julie Waechter