The air outside was cool and crisp, but inside the Colorado Convention Center on Dec. 18 the air was filled with excitement and celebration for UC Denver’s graduating students.
More than 800 students who’ve completed their work to earn Bachelor’s, Masters and PhDs were joined by family members, friends, faculty and other staff for fall commencement. Among the graduates were 76 international students representing 21 countries across the globe
CU President Bruce D. Benson and UC Denver Chancellor Jerry Wartgow addressed the graduates and wished them well with congratulations and a hand shake.
While we congratulate all graduates for success in earning their degrees, here are a few noteable stories of personal achievement:
Sarah Jane Tweed earned a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education. In her honor, husband Eric Tweed accepted the degree on her behalf. After being diagnosed with Stage IV triple negative breast cancer in Oct. 2009, Tweed lost the fight in June 2010. “I have felt that Sarah would want me to be there to show her love and appreciation for her colleagues at the school. I also want to accept her diploma on behalf of her family. I want it to be something that our son, Emmett, can one day be proud of.”
Kenneth Plotz, 62, graduated with a MPA from the School of Public Affairs. Plotz was a District Court judge in Salida for 16 years but felt ready to move on and challenge himself with something new. Plotz plans to use his degree in his new position as a consultant for the Department of Public Safety. He will be staffing the Juvenile Task Force, which is part of the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Making the SPA a family affair, Plotz’s daughter, Margot Plotz, and his wife, Carol Peeples, followed his lead and joined the SPA to earn degrees of their own. The daughter and step-mother anticipate graduation in Spring 2012.
Robert Beauvais, father of 4 and member of the Lakota tribe, grew up on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. His BA is in English writing with a minor in Ethnic Studies. Beauvais feels that earning a minor in Ethnic Studies will set him apart from the competition as he enters the job force. Participating in this degree program has enabled a new world perspective for the graduate. “The Ethnic studies professors have given me a perspective that allows me to interpret diversity of cultures in an informed and respectful way.” Beauvais plans to attend a political science masters program (possibly with UC Denver), pursue a PhD, and continue working for American Indian rights directly through the Rosebud Sioux Tribe or through other civic avenues in Denver.
A. Johanna Sandoval, graduated with a BA in Biology and a minor in Ethnic Studies. After transferring to UC Denver from Santa Fe, New Mex., Sandoval discovered the extreme diversity in Denver and gained a desire to know and understand other ethnic groups. “I plan to work in Environmental Sciences with a lot of interaction with the public; knowing and understanding the different ethnic groups will help me communicate with all people.