Andrew Soliday

Andrew Soliday earned a Bachelor of Arts in sustainability studies and an Associate of General Studies in permaculture design. Photo Stephanie Stocking

When Andrew Soliday recently gave the student address for one of Colorado Mountain College’s virtual commencement ceremonies, he acknowledged the class of 2020 was experiencing a time like none before.

“This semester began as usual,” he told his classmates. “None of us foresaw the challenges that the pandemic presented. For each of us, this time has been difficult at the least, and all of you have found a way to push through and graduate. I know we face an uncertain future, but I am confident that the graduating class of 2020 has what it takes to thrive.”

Fly fishing: a new level

Soliday grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in sustainability studies at Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley. His virtual commencement ceremony celebrated graduates from CMC campuses and locations in Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Spring Valley.

“Sustainability offered a bachelor’s degree in an emerging field that is extremely relevant,” he said. “Sustainability aligned with my own values as an angler and avid outdoorsman, allowing me to focus on these fields while learning a valuable sustainability curriculum.”

By studying sustainability, Soliday took his passion for fly fishing and the environment to a new level.

“Now I have the knowledge and tools to become more active in protecting our environment, heightening social justice and improving our economies,” he said. “Many of our teachers have been inspiring leaders in their fields, and have given me and other students a very hopeful outlook on the practice of sustainability.”

Although attending Colorado Mountain College made good sense financially, Soliday said the employees there played integral roles in his collegiate success.

“CMC is known for affordability, but people don’t realize the amazing faculty and staff who make CMC what it is,” he said. “The faculty at CMC are truly remarkable. No other college has such a dedicated, kind and knowledgeable teaching staff. Coupled with incredible scenery and outdoor recreation, CMC offers an incredible education.”