Date: Sun, May 5th, 2024

Great Falls College celebrates 250 graduates

2024 commencement ceremony honored 250 graduates Saturday at Montana ExpoPark's Pacific Steel and Recycling Arena.

Great Falls College recognized 250 graduates on Saturday during its commencement exercises at Montana ExpoPark’s Pacific Steel and Recycling Arena.

“I am profoundly honored to join our graduates in celebrating their achievements as we acknowledge you, the 2024 graduating class of Great Falls College,” said Dr. Stephanie Erdmann, CEO/dean of Great Falls College at the ceremony. “Today is about you and your success in completing your programs of study.”

Sixty-two students earned high honors with a GPA of 3.75 or higher and an additional 45 earned honors with GPAs from 3.5 to 3.75.

Many students received multiple degrees, so in total Great Falls College awarded 289 certificates and degrees. Sixteen dual enrolled high school students received their certificates and degrees a month before receiving their high school diplomas, with four receiving their two-year associate degrees.

The 2024 ceremony marked the first year Great Falls College awarded associate degrees in Substance Abuse and Addictions Counseling, Office Management and Supervision and Technical Studies. It also is the first year students earned a certificate of technical studies in Early Childhood Education at Great Falls College.

“Your dedication and fortitude persevered over the challenges presented in your lives while attending Great Falls College,” Erdmann told the graduates.

Earlier in the day, Native American students were presented their beaded eagle feather from a tribal elder in a ceremony honoring their educational achievements. The feathers symbolize respect, honor, courage and wisdom while also signifying an outstanding accomplishment.

Heath Voy, treasurer of the Associated Students of Great Falls College, addressed the graduates.

“When I look at the group gathered here today, I am inspired by each of your journeys,” he said. “Students who have turned their lives around and given college one more shot, students that have stayed up till an unbearable hour studying for their finals, and students who have made the ultimate sacrifice of being away from their loved ones. The theme I find in common amongst these is a desire to better the future.”

So whether you are tig welding a NASA shuttle, going on to pursue your bachelor's, scaling teeth, or inserting an IV -- thank goodness it is you and not me -- I thank you for doing your part in making the world a better place. May this climactic moment be only the beginning of a fulfilling life.”

Brian Tucker, who earned an associate of applied science in welding and a certificate of applied science in Industrial Technology and has worked at Great Falls Public Schools teaching a variety of courses, developing trades programs and mentoring students, gave the keynote address.

He stressed the importance of overcoming self-doubt.

“Do not let anyone, not even yourself, stop the momentum you have started,” he said. “Finally make sure you not only show up, but you show out to make yourself valued and needed wherever you decide this journey called life takes you.”

Scott Thompson, executive director of community relations, announced the name of the River Otter after hundreds of campus and community members participated in a public vote.

“I’m super excited to announce that Mo is the winner,” he said. “It should help us keep the up the Mo-mentum as we build on our brand identity.”

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Record Number: 833