CMC proceeds with spring virtual commencement —May 15 ceremonies tailored to each of seven campuses |

CMC proceeds with spring virtual commencement —May 15 ceremonies tailored to each of seven campuses

Accomplished female speakers to honor 100th anniversary of women's suffrage

Christine Benero, president and chief executive officer of Mile High United Way, is the keynote speaker at Colorado Mountain College’s virtual commencement ceremony for campuses in the Roaring Fork Valley, including Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Spring Valley campuses. The virtual commencement website ( will go live at noon on May 15.

After Colorado Mountain College had to cancel seven different in-person spring commencement ceremonies due to the coronavirus outbreak, the question became how to honor graduates in a virtual setting.

On May 15, graduates and their families and friends will be able to login to a special virtual commencement website to hear recorded speeches from CMC President Carrie Hauser and Angie Paccione, executive director for the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

They will then watch a program tailored to their home campus, including special keynote speakers and a student speaker from their campus.

Graduate names and the degree or credential they’ve earned will be read by an emcee from the campus, CMC trustees will confer diplomas and certificates, and the student speaker will return to the screen to lead classmates in the turning of the tassels, according to a press release from the college.

“I always tell our students that this is my favorite time of the year,” Hauser said in the release. “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.”

With the new virtual setting, the college is also proceeding with its plan to celebrate the centennial of women’s right to vote. The college had lined up several accomplished Colorado women to speak, one per campus.

They will still be participating, but from a remote site online, just like everyone else.

Colorado women leaders to speak

The original keynote speakers slated to talk eagerly agreed to participate in CMC’s virtual commencement ceremonies by recording their speech. The speakers and the students they will honor (by campus) are:

Christine Benero, president and chief executive officer, Mile High United Way (Roaring Fork Valley ceremonym including Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Spring Valley campuses)

Lauren Y. Casteel, chief executive officer, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado (Vail Valley at Edwards campus)

Heather Dugan, head of law enforcement, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CMC’s Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy)

Kate Greenberg, Colorado commissioner of agriculture (Steamboat Springs campus)

Monica Márquez, justice, Colorado Supreme Court (Rifle campus)

Jennifer McLaren, president and chief executive officer, Smartwool (Leadville and Salida campuses)

Angie Paccione, executive director, Colorado Department of Higher Education (message from the CDHE to all graduates)

Dianne Primavera, Colorado’s lieutenant governor (Summit County ceremony including Breckenridge and Dillon campuses).

Graduating students are to receive a package in the mail, containing a mortarboard and tassel, a letter from the president, alumni swag and other surprises.

Students have also been entering information and photos into an online form, which will populate the virtual commencement website at noon on May 15. Once live, it will be available for the public to view.

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

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