This column, by Carole Boughton, CMC vice president and Rifle campus dean, appeared in the April 26 edition of the Rifle Citizen Telegram. 

By Carole Boughton

“Education is one thing in life that no one can ever take away from you. You have earned it. It is yours.” – Dr. Idalynn Karr

That piece of advice from my undergraduate academic advisor, which she shared with me when I needed the inspiration to finish my degree, is my daily motivation to help students achieve their academic goals.

Next week, Colorado Mountain College Rifle will confer over 160 degrees and certificates to students who have demonstrated the required tenacity and perseverance. Our Colorado Mountain College students leave this campus armed with a degree or certificate so they can give back to their community as well as improve their job prospects.

The desire of any educator is to ensure students have the resources and opportunities to reach their goals and to be successful. As much as we enjoy celebrating the finish line at commencement, we also celebrate the persistence each student demonstrated to ensure each met their objective.

Our CMC students are diverse; each one has a very personal reason for beginning their educational journey. Some are part-time students, some taking only one class; and some attend full time. Several students are parents (some single parents). Some are returning to college to retrain in a specific field after a successful career in another field. Some seek a certificate of proficiency or completion to upgrade their current job skills. And many work a job (or two) while taking classes.

We also serve high school students who are getting a head start on college, students who are beginning their college journey and students who are completing one of CMC’s five bachelor’s degrees after earning their associate degree. We also have students who chose CMC to take general education courses at an affordable price before transferring to another college or university… and the list goes on.

Each and every one of our students has walked a different life path that brought him or her to the front doors of CMC. Some are military veterans, some have disabilities and a majority are the first in their family to go to college. Our diverse students begin their educational journey regardless of their stage of life or background. However, they all have one thing in common: coming together to better themselves.

This May, we have so many amazing graduates that CMC Rifle will host TWO graduation ceremonies! Our ceremony on Friday, May 4, at 6 p.m. in the CMC Rifle Clough Auditorium will celebrate our high school equivalency diploma, certificate, and associate and bachelor’s degree graduates. No stranger to the tenacity needed to earn a college degree or the desire to return to and serve your community, Parachute Mayor Roy McClung will honor our graduates with the commencement address. As a fourth-generation Parachute native, Mayor McClung understands the importance of community, family and stick-to-itiveness and the role each play in transforming his hometown into a thriving community. We are honored that he has graciously agreed to share his wisdom and words of inspiration with our graduates.

On Monday, May 7, at 6 p.m. in our Clough Auditorium we will recognize 47 CMC concurrent enrollment students who have earned certificates of completion and certificates of proficiency while they are still in high school. Lee Harrison, a Rifle native who completed concurrent enrollment courses before going on to earn his bachelor’s degree and start two successful businesses, will address these graduates. His journey to success will no doubt inspire them to continue to set goals and achieve excellence.

Please join me, our faculty and staff, Mayor McClung and Lee Harrison in recognizing these students’ achievements.