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EAC graduates record number of students

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EAC graduates record number of students

THATCHER, AZ—The stands at John Mickelson Field were once again filled to capacity as family and friends gathered for Eastern Arizona College’s 120th annual commencement exercises held the evening of May 14. There were a total of 362 candidates for graduation, the largest graduating class in the College’s history.

In addition to the traditional portions of the event, the audience heard comments from a number of individuals, including a welcome from EAC President Mark Bryce and remarks from the president of EAC’s Alumni Association, George Lord.

The guest speaker for the evening was Mark Herrington, a member of the Graham County Board of Supervisors.

Also taking the podium to speak was the representative of the Class of 2010, Paulina Velez-Burgos, and faculty representative, Douglas Christie.

Velez-Burgos is the daughter of Patricia Burgos and Roberto Velez and was born and raised in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Mexico. She graduated Friday evening with two associate degrees, one in chemistry and another in mathematics. She has the distinction of having taken the most advanced math, physics, and chemistry classes offered at the College while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. She played basketball for EAC for two years and still found time to volunteer as a tutor for math and chemistry students. Velez-Burgos is transferring to Arizona State University in the fall to major in Bio-medical engineering.

Christie spoke as a representative of the faculty. He was born in Minot, North Dakota, then moved to Detroit, Michigan with his family at age 4, where he spent the next 19 years. In 1975, he and his wife, Karyn, moved with their two small children to the Gila Valley. He graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s degree in Vocational Technical Education and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership.

He taught vocational building trades for 23 years at EAC’s Ft. Grant location, then assumed the director’s responsibilities eight years ago. He has overseen the continued growth of programming for the incarcerated through the College and the faculty who work in prison programming at five locations in Graham County. He is proud to have been associated with Eastern Arizona College for more than 30 years and truly believes in lifelong learning and the continuing joy of achievement.

A reception in honor of the graduates followed the ceremony.