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Spring 2017 class graduates from MSU Denver

President Jordan received a surprise proclamation from Gov. Hickenlooper and commends students for working hard to earn their diplomas.

May 17, 2017

President Stephen Jordan received a proclamation from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper during MSU Denver
President Stephen Jordan received a proclamation from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper during MSU Denver's Spring Commencement on May 12.

MSU Denver’s longest serving president, Stephen M. Jordan, Ph.D., gave his final commencement address May 12, prior to his planned retirement on June 30.

In recognition of his 12 years of service – setting the University on a path toward becoming a preeminent urban university – Board of Trustees President Michelle M. Lucero surprised Jordan with a proclamation from Gov. John Hickenlooper naming May 12, 2017, in honor of Jordan.

The president congratulated the class of 2017, emphasizing the hard work of the graduates and the obstacles many overcame to arrive at this moment.

“You made it,” Jordan told the enthusiastic scholars. “You have transformed your own life. You have the tools required to help others transform theirs, as well.”

The University held two ceremonies at the Denver Coliseum: one at 9 a.m. for the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the School of Education graduates, and another at 2:30 p.m. for the College of Business and College of Professional Studies. Master’s graduates participated in the ceremony that corresponded with their college of study.

This semester’s graduating class included 543 students of color, led by 340 Latino students. An estimated 1,659 students received bachelor’s degrees. The number of students who completed master’s degrees was 165, with 104 in social work, 42 in teaching and 19 in accountancy.

Christopher Escobar, the spring 2017 President’s Award recipient, delivered the student address during the morning ceremony and Elizabeth Hubbard, the spring 2017 Provost’s Award recipient, addressed the graduates at the afternoon commencement. Having earned a 3.99 GPA, Escobar graduated with a degree in political science. He will be attending law school and plans to be a voice for underrepresented communities. Hubbard graduated with a degree in human services with a concentration in addiction studies, having earned a 3.98 GPA. She plans to continue her work as a full-time drug addiction counselor.

Students attending MSU Denver
Students attending MSU Denver's Commencement on May 12.

Among the hundreds of graduates was Janet Hernandez, who won a Fulbright scholarship – the first Fulbright in the University’s history. “People whose parents didn’t go to college aren’t supposed to win Fulbright scholarships. But they do at MSU Denver,” Jordan proudly told the students and guests.

The spring 2017 class included 15 ASSET graduates and spanned a wide range of ages, from 18-year-old biology major Noah King to 66-year-old individualized degree major Deborah Manaols. Consistent with national higher-education trends, women continue to outpace men, representing 58 percent of the graduates.

Transfer students made up 69 percent of the graduating class, and 5 percent of the class were veterans. Thirty-seven percent of graduates were first-generation students, 39 percent were Pell-eligible and 26 percent secured STEM-focused degrees.

The graduates’ top five majors in order were: biology; criminal justice and criminology; psychology; management; and nursing. One hundred and seventy-four students are seeking teacher licensure.

Video of commencement will be available soon at:

Photos of the ceremonies can be found on social media (scroll to the links at the bottom of the page).

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