Scene from Friday’s Western New Mexico University Fall Commencement Ceremony. Courtesy/WNMU
Western New Mexico University graduated nearly 300 of its students this fall, and of those, 200 graduates walked across the Fine Arts Center Theatre stage Friday during the fall commencement ceremony.
They received their diplomas and shook hands with WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard and newly elected Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, who is an alum and WNMU’s fall commencement speaker.
Diplomas granted at WNMU’s fall 2018 commencement ceremony included those for 48 associate degrees, 124 bachelor’s degrees, 109 master’s degrees, eight certificates, seven fast-track certificates and 26 graduate certificates.
Chosen to give the fall commencement address due to his ties to WNMU and his upcoming Lieutenant Governorship, Morales’ story is one many in southwest New Mexico share. His father was a veteran who worked in the copper mine and his mother worked in the schools. Morales himself was employed at a number of local businesses before and while attending WNMU, when he became the first in his family to attend college. Like many first-generation college grads have done and like this fall’s WNMU graduates will do, he used his education to achieve a successful career.