December 18, 2009. Retrieved online: December 18, 2009 from Ashley Meeks, Las Cruces Sun-News
LAS CRUCES — Commencement speakers typically encourage graduates not to pack away their quest for knowledge with their exuberantly decorated caps.
This year, in a job market described variously in American headlines as bleak, dire, tough, tepid and challenging, some New Mexico State University students admitted Saturday that continuing education might be their only option.
“I’m applying for federal jobs, but in the meantime, I’m going to attend grad school,” said criminal justice graduate Jessica Bokor, 22.
Joey Houck, 22, who earned a degree in agricultural business, had a similar story.
“I haven’t really figured out what I want to do,” she said Saturday.
Nor had Laura Van Buskirk, 24, who earned a bachelor’s in community health, found a job to head to.
“I’m still searching,” said Van Buskirk, who said she also planned to apply for graduate school, or go “wherever a job or school takes me.”
Still, undaunted and excited, they were among the around 950 students who took part in NMSU’s fall 2009 commencement ceremony Saturday, out of 1,839 students who are candidates for degrees this semester, including almost 400 from NMSU’s community colleges.
Outgoing Interim President Manuel Pacheco wished success to the graduates of the seven colleges and graduate school, who join an alumni pool of 127,875 residents of all 50 states and 180 countries.
“Each of you is a distinguished graduate,” Pacheco said.
“A willingness to adapt when times are tough, to move forward when others are set on the status quo, will be the key to your success,” Board of Regents Chairman Blake Curtis told the graduates, adding, “be open to change.”
They’ll have to be, said honorary degree recipient José Eduardo Calzada Rovirosa.
“You are the people our world requires,” said Calzada Rovirosa. “You are no longer just spectators.”
Calzada Rovirosa, who earned his master’s at NMSU and was elected governor of Querétaro, Mexico, in October, said jobs were one of his top three priorities in that role.
“It is just people like you and me, with strengths and weaknesses, priorities and limitations, that have made the world what it is today,” he said.
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