EAC holds its 123rd Annual Commencement Ceremony
By Todd Haynie
Thatcher, AZ—The stands at John Mickelson Stadium were once again filled to capacity as family and friends gathered for Eastern Arizona College's 123rd annual commencement exercises held the evening of May 10. The event recognized a total of 441 candidates for graduation from EAC, including 51 from Gila County.
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, who welcomed EAC's newest alumni into the College's Alumni Association.
The guest speaker for the evening was former president of the EAC Alumni Association, Keith Crockett. Also taking the podium to speak was class representative, Amanda Denetclaw, and faculty representative, Steve Johnson.
Crockett spent much of his career serving as the director of the Gila Valley Institute of Religion across the street from the College's North Campus. He is well-known in the Gila Valley, graduating from Pima High School and Eastern Arizona Junior College. He earned a bachelor's and master's degree from Northern Arizona University, and pursued additional graduate studies in education and religion at Brigham Young University. Crockett also served as a member of the EAC Foundation Board. He served as president of the Graham County Historical Society and is deeply interested in local history and historical sites.
Denetclaw, daughter of Paul and Katherine Bakaric, was raised in Ely, Nevada. She enjoys the outdoors and loves to hike, camp out, and especially likes fishing. She graduated tonight with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing. In her coursework at EAC, Amanda has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Denetclaw is known among her fellow students as being an intense member of the study group. She comes recommended by the nursing faculty as one of their top students. After graduation, she plans to move to Tucson where she hopes to work as a nurse.
Johnson, who is retiring after a 24-year career in the Administration of Justice Department and as director of the College's Center for Teaching and Learning, spoke on behalf of the faculty. Johnson obtained an associate degree from Eastern Arizona College and a bachelor's and master's degree from Northern Arizona University. Johnson has twice served as the president of the Arizona Justice Educators Association and was honored by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board for directing six highly successful police academies at EAC.
A reception in honor of the graduates followed the ceremony at the Gila Hanks Pavilion on the grounds of the stadium.