Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell dental hygienist students show off their pearly whites as they and fellow graduates prepare for their march onto the Wool Bowl football field for commencement ceremonies, Friday evening. (Mark Wilson Photo)
About 200 graduates celebrated the beginning of new ventures during Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell’s 57th Commencement Convocation Friday night at the Wool Bowl. The university had a total of 480 graduates this spring, the largest total graduating class in ENMU-R’s history.
The ceremony included employability graduates from New Mexico Youth ChalleNGe Academy, bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates from Eastern New Mexico University and master’s degree candidates from New Mexico Highlands University’s School of Social Work.
“This graduation ceremony is a major milestone in your lives, and you will soon move on to your next steps in your continuing education or chosen careers,” said John Madden, ENMU-R president. “It took courage and determination to continue in your education and learn new skills despite challenges along the way. Thankfully, you had many people who supported you and encouraged you and keep you focused on your goal.”
The featured speaker at the ceremony was Gina Vela, who graduated Friday with an Associate of Science degree in nursing. Vela, a 2009 graduate of Roswell High School, plans to enroll in an anesthesiology training program to become a certified nurse anesthetist.
“We’ve crossed days off our calenders, and finally, today, we’ve concluded a goal, and we are already getting prepared for future goals,” Vela said. “But this time with our minds in peace, knowing that our passage from this university has made us stronger to face the future.
“We have been living in a world of books. During our studies, we’ve assumed care of an injured world, we mapped our plan of care, prioritized our interventions, and began to paint a different world. The world we want. A cultural world in which mutual respect and tolerance prevails.
“Among the walls of the university we have shared joys, frustrations and knowledge. Together we prepared presentations, projects and exams. Together we’ve exchanged customs, languages and ideas. Together we have expanded our horse sense and initiated new frontiers. And above all together we’ve nursed the world we want. A united world in which we are aware of its many needs.
“We can continue nursing a different world. A world full of true, responsible and ethical professionals.
“From looking from far away, we can also see our education as a work of art, which meets our expectations, because each intervention by us has created a more solid and consistent transformation,” she said. “This work of art is the result of several years of study and work that would not have been possible without those who support us.
“There is still much to do to this work of art. Because this is just the beginning. The beginning of a great work with transcendence depends on each one us, because there is only one limit. The limit we each impose on ourselves.”