By Martin J. Kidston
by Martin J. Kidston
The Havre Daily News
Monday, May 10
More than 400 graduates joined in commencement Saturday at Montana State Univertsity-Northern to become the last class to graduate this millennium.
In a Northern gym packed to the hilt, next years student senate leaders Stacey Roth and Brian Kelly led the procession into the gym for seating, where Chancellor Mike Rao took the helm.
Were gathered here today, he began, speaking over an eager crowd, to celebrate the accomplishments of MSU-Northerns most vivacious class, the class of 99.
Other speakers included Interim Vice Chancellor Barber and Lynn Hamilton, member of the Montana Board of Regents for higher education. Hamilton spoke briefly about the difficult and changing times of todays universities. She told students that through sacrifice and hard work they have become more knowledgeable and more marketable, while succeeding in opening new doors.
You have trained to become critical thinkers ... to open new doors ... to open your eyes, to make a difference, she said. You have moved upstream on the river of knowledge, closing one door while opening another.
Raymond Thompson, founder and chairman of the board of directors for Semitool, Inc. of Kalispell presented the graduation address Opportunity Knocks, hinting at future challenges and the road yet untraveled.
In the back of your minds, you must be wondering, where to from here? Well, perhaps some ideas and guidelines Ive learned along the way some the hard way might be helpful, Thompson said.
I submit to you that protecting your integrity is a long term responsibility.
If you cannot hold yourself in high esteem, you cannot possibly hold others in high esteem.
If you think you missed opportunities because you held onto integrity, you can be sure that other opportunities will come your way.
The greatness of the people around you is a direct measure of your own greatness.
Members of the class of 1949 were on hand, decked in yellow attire to accept honorary 50-year degrees. The class of 1999 followed, lining up row upon row, clad in red gowns with markers of distinction for Summa Cum Laude and other academic honors. Barber offered the degrees while Rao handed out the congratulations.
Your wisdom has grown, you are more disciplined, more responsible. Youve learned how to learn, and to utilize what youve learned, Hamilton said. Youre college education will change your lives forever.