CMU 2015 spring commencement ceremony.


Graduates pursue dreams at home and abroad

Colorado Mesa University awarded 1,324 degrees to 1,183 students this spring. Many of them were present at the rainy, celebratory commencement ceremony in Stocker Stadium on the morning of May 16.

Although the CMU graduates will soon spread all over the world, many of them will continue to call the Grand Valley home. Mechanical engineering graduate Oscar Madrid found full-time employment before he had graduated with CoorsTek, a worldwide manufacturing firm with a facility in Grand Junction. Eleven of his mechanical engineering classmates also found jobs in the region.

Michelle Starke, a 2015 graduate who double-majored in mass communication and graphic design, will move to Turkey later this summer with her boyfriend, CMU alumnus Connor Weik. Despite the nine-hour time difference, she’ll continue working closely with local businesses through her freelance design and communication business and as an independent contractor for Cobb Marketing and Communications.

She said the skills she learned at CMU are vital to her ability to operate a small business of her own. “Since I’m a double major I’ve learned to design but I’ve also learned to communicate,” she said. “And when I was working at the Campus Design Studio I had to do all the business-related stuff — the invoices, payments and making sure we stayed within our budget.”

The commencement ceremony’s keynote speaker, renowned artist and former CMU student Paul Pletka, encouraged graduates to chase their dreams wherever they might take them. Invited to address the graduating class by the Associated Student Government, Pletka was awarded an honorary degree at the event by CMU President Tim Foster.

Pletka’s paintings have been exhibited in one-man shows throughout Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, as well as Chicago, Ill. and New York, N.Y., continuously since 1964. His works are part of more than 40 private and public art collections.

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