Class of 2011 Celebrates at 121st Commencement Ceremony
By Lori Dugan
Thatcher, AZ—The stands at John Mickelson Field were once again filled to capacity as family and friends gathered for Eastern Arizona College’s 121st annual commencement exercises held the evening of May 13. There were a total of 395 candidates for graduation.
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 Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett. Also taking the podium to speak was the representative of the Class of 2011, Jerryd Kieffer, and faculty representative, Pete Chidester.
Bennett was appointed by Governor Jan Brewer to replace her as secretary of state, and took the oath of office on January 26, 2009. He began his legislative career in 1998 when he was elected to represent the residents of Legislative District 1. He served four terms in the state Senate – from 1999 to 2007 – and served as Senate president his final four years before being term-limited from office.
Prior to joining the Legislature, Bennett was a member of the Arizona State Board of Education for seven years. He was president of the board in 1996 and 1998. Bennett also served on the Arizona Charter Schools Board for three years, and was a founding member of the Education Leaders Council in Washington, D.C.
Kieffer, son of Vince and Lisa Kieffer was raised in Pima, Arizona. He graduated Friday evening with two degrees, one in languages and another in Computers. In his coursework at EAC, Keiffer maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average while still finding time to get married to Cathy Burrell of Thatcher and to serve as vice president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He is planning on transferring to Arizona State University to major in Computer Systems and Networking.
Chidester, instructor in the Communicative Arts Division, spoke representing the faculty.
Chidester is a native of Utah with an associate degree from Dixie College, a bachelor of arts degree from Southern Utah University, and a master of arts degree and a pending doctoral degree from the University of Connecticut. He has experience teaching at the high school and college level and is very well respected at EAC for his knowledge, his caring attitude, and his love for students.
A reception in honor of the graduates followed the ceremony.