CMC kicks off virtual commencement season |

CMC kicks off virtual commencement season

Colorado Mountain College celebrating graduates, honoring 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in Friday’s virtual ceremony

To Watch CMC Commencement Colorado Mountain College’s virtual commencement ceremonies go live at noon Friday. Go to CMC is asking graduates to pull together “watch parties” of friends and family members and to post photos to #cmcgrad2020 or

EDWARDS — Commencement season is still Carrie Besnette Hauser’s favorite time of year, but like everyone else, the Colorado Mountain College president will celebrate from a distance.

CMC always kicks off commencement season, and like every other school, they’ll host virtual celebrations.

How that works

CMC students were mailed a package containing a mortarboard and tassel, a letter from Hauser, alumni swag and other items. Graduates are supposed to enter information and photos to CMC’s commencement website. That website goes live at noon Friday.

Once it’s live, it will be open to the public. The broadcast is scheduled to be available at least through the summer. CMC is asking graduates to pull together “watch parties” of friends and family members and to post photos on social media with #cmcgrad2020 or

The broadcasts are being tailored for the students’ home campuses, including their keynote speaker and a student speaker from their campus.

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Then they’ll hear what they’ve been waiting and working for, reading their names and the degrees or credentials they’ve earned. A member of the elected CMC Board of Trustees will confer diplomas and certificates, and their campus student speaker will lead their classmates in turning their tassels.

The whole thing kicks off with speeches from Hauser and Angie Paccione, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Spirit remains the same

The delivery shifted from in-person to online, but the occasion’s spirit has not, Hauser said.

“This is a time when everyone who has supported that student in reaching an important life goal — their families, their friends, the faculty who have taught them and counselors and other staff who have guided them on their journey — get to cheer and celebrate with them,” she said.

The 2020 academic year is different than anyone could have imagined, Hauser said. Every college and university in Colorado has been impacted by efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Classes moved online; some students moved back home while a handful of others stayed quarantined in their residence halls. And virtually every commencement ceremony in Colorado has been canceled outright or postponed.
“We have all found ourselves persevering through this unforgettable year,” Hauser said.

Celebrating Women’s Suffrage

Along with the graduates, CMC’s commencement celebrates the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Commencement speakers include a state Supreme Court justice, a lieutenant governor, the heads of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, the Department of Agriculture, founder and CEO of a well-known outdoor products company, and directors of several powerful nonprofits.

Their recorded CMC commencement speeches will be incorporated into a video project for the “Bold Women. Change History.” initiative organized by History Colorado and the governor’s Women’s Vote Centennial Commission.

Lauren Y. Casteel, chief executive officer of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, will be the featured speaker for CMC’s Edwards/Vail Valley campus. When Casteel joined The Women’s Foundation of Colorado in February 2015, she became the first person in Colorado to lead three separate foundations.

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