A standing-room-only crowd watched the Colorado Northwestern Community College commencement ceremonies Saturday in Rangely. The college awarded 231 degrees and certificates this year. The 140 graduates from the Craig campus is nearly double the number of graduates from two years ago.

Courtesy of Colorado Northwestern Community College

A standing-room-only crowd watched the Colorado Northwestern Community College commencement ceremonies Saturday in Rangely. The college awarded 231 degrees and certificates this year. The 140 graduates from the Craig campus is nearly double the number of graduates from two years ago.

Craig campus bolstering CNCC graduation numbers

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Courtesy of Mary Morris

Colorado Northwestern Community College nursing graduates are recognized during the lighting ceremony, part of the nursing pinning ceremony, Friday at the Moffat County High School auditorium. Pictured, from left, are students Jeannie Marie Dickey, Sarah Ayres Dills, Shannon L. Mayes, Amanda Moncrief, Christine Opal Murray, Lisa Pawloski, Michele Pepping and Rachel Piersol, and nursing faculty Julie Alkema.

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Courtesy of Mary Morris

Colorado Northwestern Community College nursing Student of the Year Corine Schweikert addresses her classmates and audience members at the nursing pinning ceremony Friday at the Moffat County High School auditorium. A total of 18 nursing students in the Class of 2011 received pins.

CNCC Craig campus graduation facts/figures:

Craig campus graduates:

• 2009 — 80 graduates, 38 walked

• 2010 — 100 graduates, 25 walked

• 2011 — 140 graduates, 57 walked

Craig campus degrees/certificates by type for 2011:

• 12 associate of arts

• 11 associate of science

• 29 Associate of applied science

• 3 associate of general studies

• 85 certificates, including nursing assistants, cosmetology, automotive, massage therapy and accounting

Craig campus “outstanding scholars” by program:

• Associate of arts — Mindy Shue

• Associate of science — Elizabeth Vlasik

• Automotive technology — Justin Shinn

• Business — Samantha Bouwens

• Cosmetology — Janese McAndrew

• Industrial electrician — Keith Zulian

• Massage therapy — Cassie Moon

• Nursing — Hestia Chase

• Power plant technology — Victoria Morgan

Source: Mary Morris, CNCC director of community education and public information

Russell George, president of Colorado Northwestern Community College, said the school had to break out as many chairs as it could for Saturday’s commencement ceremony.

“We had this sea of colors of the robes,” George said. “Gosh, there was just row after row after row. It just was fun.”

Much of that, he said, was due to Craig campus students, who made the 100-mile drive to Rangely to participate and made up nearly half the graduates at the ceremony.

Mary Morris, CNCC director of community education and public information, said 57 of about 120 students who walked in Saturday’s ceremony were from the Craig campus. Last year, 25 students from the campus walked in the ceremony.

“It was on everybody’s minds how many folks were here and it was very uplifting,” George said. “It was fun because we are one college and the more we do together as two campuses, the better for us all, so for there to be that kind of interest and willingness to make the drive and come down and share in the fun, it was really, really nice to see.”

Morris said 140 Craig students total graduated from CNCC this month, which includes 85 certificates and 55 associate degrees.

She said the graduating class also includes five Moffat County High School seniors who graduated from the school before high school graduation May 28.

For the Craig campus, the number of graduates is up from recent years.

In the 2008-09 academic school year, 80 Craig students graduated from CNCC, and the number went up to 100 last year.

In a separate ceremony Friday at the MCHS auditorium, the Craig campus hosted a pinning ceremony for 18 graduates who earned an associates of applied science degree in nursing, which was attended by CNCC staff including George and Craig campus dean Gene Bilodeau.

The ceremony included a “presentation of pins” which was followed by a symbolic lighting ceremony that pays homage to Florence Nightingale.

“The pinning ceremony represents a right of passage in nursing,” Bilodeau said in a statement. “Although it is experienced by thousands of new nursing graduates across the country each year, the pinning ceremony at CNCC is unique and individualized to celebrate the hard work, dedication and accomplishment of our graduates.”

Corine Schweikert was named Student of the Year at the ceremony.

With two new buildings scheduled to open north of The Memorial Hospital in the fall, George said he believes the participation of the Craig campus will continue to increase.

“To have this beautiful physical location … I think is just going to really bring CNCC of age in Craig and Moffat County,” he said. “I think we’ll see a huge growth in the programs and students.”

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