FLC President Dene Thomas leads the faculty through the December 2013 graduates.
The friends and families of more than 200 Fort Lewis College graduates packed Whalen Gym on a cold, but clear day for December Commencement 2013. Associate Professor of Psychology and Alice Admire Outstanding Teaching Award winner Dr. Susan Kraus offered some advice to the final inductees into the Class of 2013 in her Commencement Address.
| Dr. Sue Kraus
“Think for a minute about the last time you were in these seats: convocation, 4 years ago,” she said. “Think about who you were then and who you are now. So much growth, so much development. I hope that when you look back at your college career you’re as amazed and astounded by yourself as I have been watching you grow and change.”
After looking back, she told the graduates that they should look forward to what’s next. She quoted Socrates’ “An unexamined life is not worth living,” asking the grads to be thoughtful about their life path after college.
“This is just the beginning, the foundation of your future self. Now you get to choose what to do with this foundation and where you go from here.” She added, “I urge you to build your future self in a mindful way, paying attention, on purpose, balanced with compassion.”
She focused on compassion for much of her address. Her research as a psychologist examines how people can find more happiness and contentment in their lives. According to Dr. Kraus, when studying people who have suffered trauma, those with greater compassion suffered less. Preliminary studies with veterans are showing similar results.
“Compassion, both toward self and others, is the most important predictor for adjustment to this new culture and this new environment,” she explained of veterans returning to civilian life.
In addition to compassion, she also spoke about the importance of having passion for what you do. Dr. Kraus’ own life is an example of following your passion, no matter how difficult. She and her husband fell in love with Durango and were determined to stay here. To do that, she worked multiple jobs, including as an adjunct and visiting professor at Fort Lewis College for 13 years, before she was offered a more permanent position.
“Passion is a great guide because it requires that you live the life that you love, wholeheartedly, unabashedly,” she said. “It requires us to embrace our inner geek, to love what we love no matter what anyone else thinks. You can’t fake it.”
“So, although you’ve graduated, I want to leave you one last homework assignment,” she concluded. “Spend some time and figure out what’s most important to you and let that guide all of your choices. Find your dream. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing make changes, make sacrifices to be who you want to be. The payoffs are a lifetime of joy, a lifetime of being who you genuinely are, and nothing can trump that.”
Click here to watch Dr. Kraus’ Commencement Address.
Adventure Education graduates make their outfits unique with climbing rope tassels and hiking boots or Chacos for footwear.
Aranka Hoosein, an Adventure Education graduate from Mumbai, India, and her friend, Erica Behler (Adventure Education).
The Bala Sinem Choir performs the Celebration Song, under the direction of Louis Aragon (in blue vest).
Kristen Britain (Business Administration - Tourism & Hospitality Management option)
poses with one of her favorite professors, Justin McBrayer.
Student marshal Veniece Fagerlin (Exercise Science – Exercise Physiology option) listens solemnly during the ceremony.
GO DEREK! Derek Freeman (Business Administration – Business Administration option) gets some superb support from his family.
Custom mortarboards show a little personality!
Jessa Rae Growing Thunder (Native American and Indigenous Studies) and Latanya Begay (Interdisciplinary Studies – General option) combine traditional dress with their academic robes.
Psychology associate professor Susan Kraus (right) delivers graduation remarks while Dian Jenkins, Director of Disability Services, signs.
Erik Peterson (Business Administration – Agricultural Business option) and his father enjoy the post-ceremony festivities.
Shannon Elizabeth O’Gara-Standiford, a graduate in Public Health, can’t contain her excitement!
Patrick Succo (third from left), a double-major in Chemistry – Biochemistry option and Biology – Cellular & Molecular Biology option, stands with Chemistry professor Les Sommerville (second from left) and his siblings.
Alex Thompson, president of the Associate Students of Fort Lewis College, sneaks a grin at the camera.
Leo Vicenti (Art – Graphic Design option) stands with his proud father: Associate Professor of Sociology Carey Vicenti.
Susan Kraus (center), commencement speaker and winner of the Alice Admire Outstanding Teaching Award, stands with two of her students, Farrahelisa Vorhauer (left) and Elizabeth Murphy (right), both Psychology graduates.
Graduate Nick Wohlers (Business Administration – Management option), poses with a friend.
Zachary Moisey (Business Administration – Finance option) wears his luck wig; his friend Tanner Russell (Interdisciplinary Studies – General option) wears a study abroad sash indicating travel to Germany.