ENMU students cross stage
December 15, 2019
PORTALES - More than 500 Eastern New Mexico University students are headed for their futures with degrees.
Officials said 543 students qualified for the fall graduation ceremony on Saturday, with 272 deciding to don robes and walk.
Kathleen Wagner was the ceremony's keynote speaker, taking time to talk about one of her idols, cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, and share a lesson associated with each of his classic "Peanuts" characters to inspire the graduates moving forward.
"I grew up reading and watching the 'Peanuts' characters and Charles M. Schulz, the creator, has a lot to teach us through his characters," Wagner said.
Wagner explained how Charlie Brown and the rest of Schulz' cast inspire qualities like leadership, perseverance, the drive to stay active, being able to get one's hands dirty, never giving up and more, as well as how graduates can benefit from those qualities.
"Schulz was creative in giving us characters to enjoy and be inspired by. We can learn from them," Wagner said. "Graduates, what is your character? Your legacy? What do we have to learn from you? Our Creator wants us to learn and flourish. Graduates, I admonish you to find the way to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, greatness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control."
At the reception after the ceremony, several graduates took the time to reflect back on their time at ENMU and look toward the future.
Chaunce T. Hill received his master's degree in mass communications on Saturday and hopes to someday work for a production company and teach.
He said the most memorable thing about his time at ENMU was being inspired to teach someday and being able to get some first-hand experience managing the Hound Sounds radio station on campus.
"Even though it felt like such a short period of time, I realize it was really a long time," Hill said. "Grasping that, I know I can really fight through anything and what I learned here at Eastern was to keep going and keep pushing."
Benny Adams returned to college at ENMU after dropping out 50 years ago to make computer chips. He retired from that job 10 years ago.
"I decided after that I wanted to be a teacher, which was what I first went to school for anyway," Adams said. "I teach in Clovis and have been a long-term sub for three years. Now with this I get to sign a contract."
Jayna Braun received her bachelor's degree in graphic design and said she was proud of her choice to study at ENMU.
"It felt like home here," Braun said. "The professors were amazing and looking back I don't think I would have chosen anywhere else."
Braun said she first visited ENMU for Dramafest and decided to move from Santa Fe to Portales to continue her education.
With her degree in hand, she now plans to pursue a job in art either back home in Santa Fe or Denver.