Sabra Artichoker doesn’t know what she’s going to do with her degree in anthropology and sociology. Neither does Zachary Scurrah, who graduated from Fort Lewis College on Saturday with a degree in economics. But that’s OK, said commencement speaker and FLC history professor Michael Martin.
“To know you can confidently say ‘I don’t know,’” Martin said. “Embrace the unknown.”
Hundreds of parents, siblings and friends packed into Whalen Gymnasium at FLC to celebrate the hard work more than 180 graduates put into getting their bachelors of art or science degrees.
Student body president Chance Salway encouraged his fellow graduates to embrace failure – Thomas Edison, he said, did not fail 10,000 times in inventing the light bulb but rather had 10,000 opportunities to learn how to do something the wrong way. Embracing failure is paramount when to comes to being successful, he said.
“The liberal arts education that you learned here will give you something you’ll take with you always: perspective,” Salway said in his address to his peers. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your goals.”
Sidney Kabotie, who graduated with a bachelors of arts in anthropology, said he has learned how to be a better listener in school, something he hopes will help him in his post-graduate journey. And if it was not for his professors, he would not have learned that important trait, he said.
“My teachers, they’re the biggest reason I got through college,” he said. “They changed my whole perspective on learning.”
Chrystianne Valdez graduated with a bachelors of science degree in psychology, an education she plans to extend into graduate school, she said. Valdez was a college athlete, playing for the FLC volleyball team, something that she said was both challenging and rewarding.
“I learned to be part of a team, how to multitask,” Valdez said.
And while Scurrah is unsure what he wants to do with his economics degree – he’ll probably go surfing, first – his mother, Nicole, said FLC changed her son for the better.
“He really left his comfort zone and did something completely different than what he’d ever know,” she said.
This isn’t the end of the road for many graduates, but rather the beginning of discovering who they are going to be and how they are going to impact the world, said FLC President Tom Stritikus.
“We have such an inspiring group of faculty, students and staff,” he said after the ceremony. “We look forward to all the work they’re going to do in their communities.”