Over 100 people attended the Legacy Plaza Celebration, a special graduation kick-off event, including students, parents, families and members of the community.
Montana Western Alumni and Friends acknowledged the accomplishments of the Class of 2019 and dedicated an engraved class brick which was placed in the Legacy Plaza.
Graduating students were also presented with an official Montana Western Alumni Tassel to be worn in the University’s 122nd Annual Commencement Ceremony held the following day in the Straugh Gymnasium on the Montana Western campus.
462 Montana Western graduates will be awarded at least 561 degrees by the end of the 2018-19 academic year. Of the 462 students, 91 have completed two or more degrees, and over 60% of the graduates are receiving honors by achieving a GPA of 3.33 or higher.
This year, the UMW Communications Team interacted with the graduates by inviting students to write their future endeavors and plans after graduation on the celebratory “What’s Next?” boards.
Dr. Ashley Carlson, Associate Professor of English at Montana Western, served as the Chief Marshal due to the great honor of receiving a Fulbright Award this year. A special introduction for the ceremony included a performance of the “Blackfeet Honor Song” by Patrick and Everett Armstrong and Tristin Bullshoe, followed by Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney congratulating the Class of 2019 on behalf of the State of Montana.
The program included commencement speaker Casey Winn Lozar and honored Susan Jones with the University’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award.
“This is a real milestone in the lives of our graduates and their families. It is gratifying to see the culmination of the hard work on the part of our students, faculty and staff,” Chancellor Beth Weatherby said.
Casey Lozar was born and raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation and is an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. He currently serves as Assistant Vice President and Outreach Executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, a role he began in October 2018. Based out of the Bank’s Helena Branch, Lozar engages with business, civic and education leaders in Montana and throughout the Federal Reserve’s Ninth District to gather local and regional economic information that is leveraged to inform national monetary policy.
Susan Jones graduated from Montana Western in 1975 with two B.S. Secondary Education degrees and a K-12 library endorsement, followed in 1984 by a master’s degree in education. Her passion in life has been focused on lifelong learning with a special emphasis on continuing adult and senior education. In 1985, she became the Director of the UMW School of Outreach until becoming the Associate Vice President of Program Development for North America of Elderhostel, Inc. (now named Road Scholar) in 1998. From 2011-2017, she served in several roles for the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education in Helena, Mont.
The University of Montana Western is the only U.S. public university offering an innovative scheduling program called Experience One (X1). With X1, students take one course at a time for 18 days, take a short break, and then move on to their next course. In this unique structure, students gain skills and knowledge in a supportive learning environment. To learn more, contact UMW today at 877-683-7331 or visit umwestern.edu.