Graduating students share plans

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

Almost 230 students are getting ready to walk across the stage and into the next stage of their lives Saturday.

At Eastern New Mexico University’s fall commencement, 40 master’s degree candidates and 188 bachelor’s degree candidates are set to graduate, said university President Steven Gamble.

Julia Tucker is one of those candidates, having earned a bachelor’s in animal and dairy science.

“It’s kind of a mixed emotion,” she said of her feelings on graduating. “I feel excited about the new chapter of my life, however sad about leaving behind all the friendships that I’ve made in my time at Eastern.”

Tucker plans to get an alternative license to teach elementary education at ENMU, which would take about a year, and then stay in Roosevelt County, she said.

She is graduating after 3 1/2 years in college, and has been married for about 1 1/2 years. Marriage just changed the amount of time she had to dedicate to school work outside the classroom, Tucker said.

Gamble said graduation day is always a celebration.

“Our graduates will be celebrating years of studies and preparation to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees,” he said. “We wish them well in the job market and in the future.”

President Emeritus Everett Frost, who served as ENMU president before Gamble, is slated to be the keynote speaker. Gamble said Frost, also a retired anthropology professor, worked at the university from 1970 until 2001.

“With 31 years at the institution, we thought he would have the historical perspective important for our 75th anniversary celebration,” Gamble said.

Graduation day also involves a breakfast for honors students before commencement, and a reception for graduates, their friends and family, and ENMU employees afterwards.