By Karl Terry: Freedom New Mexico
Commencement speaker Janeice Scarbrough likened Eastern New Mexico University’s fall commencement to a play with a wide variety of characters.
“The stars of our show are the graduates themselves,” said Scarbrough, professor and chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at ENMU.
The 113th Commencement Convocation awarded degrees to 209 students in front of family and friends who braved cold temperatures and icy weather Saturday morning to be at Greyhound Arena.
Scarbrough said that the graduates had all made a decision several years ago to pursue an education in a kind of contract with those around them.
“You decided you would dip your toe into this higher education idea and we agreed to help you,” Scarbrough told the graduates. “Today we have closed that deal.”
Following commencement Cody Barrett of Roswell scanned the crowd in a reception for the graduates trying to locate family. Minutes earlier he had graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
Barrett said he is already working for a CPA firm in Roswell and plans to continue there after graduation. He says attending ENMU just made good sense financially as well as for convenience sake. He says he started out at Texas Tech University and found tuition to be too pricey and the location too far away.
“I was able to obtain my degree in Roswell without traveling very much, mostly through ITV courses,” Barrett said.
Samantha Mueller of Alamogordo got a hug from her boyfriend, who had traveled from Maryland to see her graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a minor in music.
Mueller said she hopes to get a job as an elementary school music teacher.
“We drove in here this morning. I didn’t think we were going to make it, but it was worth it,” Mueller said of the road conditions from Alamogordo.
During her speech, Scarbrough related having done numerous jobs after college, including handing out flyers at the Empire State Building dressed as a hot dog. She told graduates that she had discovered what she wanted to do with her life through higher education, even though it took a few years and several jobs to get where she was going.
“When you’re asked what a degree from Eastern New Mexico University will get you, tell them — anything, everything, all of it,” Scarbrough said. “Use the fabric of your culture to become who you will become. Give yourself permission to discover what you love.”