Visions

by | May 31, 2023 | Home Life, Uncategorized

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I was privileged to attend the graduation ceremony at Montana State University in Bozeman this week. The cowboy’s grandson graduated with a degree in nursing and is off to do great things at a Seattle children’s hospital. Two seatings…we went to the afternoon session with about 1,000 students. It was fun to see them finish their college degrees, laughing with their friends and family, not knowing what will come in the years ahead. They each have a vision of what their lives will be like. Some visions will be achieved, others not so much, and I have crossed all my fingers and toes hoping that they come through.

The university president, Dr. Waded Cruzado, is a firecracker speaker and had the audience, students and guests, in the palm of her hand. I am a big proponent of education, learning of any type, formal or informal, especially vocational education, which provides specialists for the many services we need in life. Do I know how to fix a broken toilet or replace a broken pane of glass?  Heavenly days, no! The list of vocational services that I don’t know how to do is endless, thank heavens others have these skills!  I aspired to a formal education and although I was always too broke to buy the graduation robes, my education earned me a good living all these years and I thank my family, friends, and teachers who inspired me to attend college. It was gratifying to see all these young people who stuck it out and finished what they started. Their horizons, whatever they may be, beckon. 

Dr. Cruzado recognized students from long ago, classes of 1973, 1963, and 1953. About 30 showed up from the class of 1973, 50-years ago, and about 20 students stood to be recognized from the class of 1963. The class of 1953, 70 years ago, had about 8 people show up. They would be in their mid-80s. Congratulations to them. Yikes, in 1953 I was only seven years old! 

She recognized the many Native Americans who received degrees, some in traditional costume of buckskin and many with feathers hanging from their black mortarboards. The two largest groups at this ceremony were nursing and agriculture. Good for them!

The guest speaker, Robyn Jones, (I doubt you’ve heard of her) received an honorary doctorate degree from Dr. Cruzado. She is a woman who educationally had gone no farther than receiving her high school diploma, but she had a vision, probably much different from the vision she had as she finished high school and married the next month. She saw the need for nurses and improved medical facilities in rural Montana and decided to donate a hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) to Montana State University. This didn’t just happen. She had raised six children and started a lucrative business along the way, then approached Dr. Cruzado with her vision for rural Montana several years ago. Dr. Cruzado worked many hours with Robyn and her husband Mark to put together the largest donation of any kind to any Montana university. Robyn’s vision and her story were heartwarming with hundreds of students now receiving an education because of her. And rural Montana health care has received a real boost. 

I was ready to jump on the college bandwagon right then, getting another degree, wondering where it could lead this 77-year-old-bobbysoxer. I might still do it, even though it would put a dent in our travel plans. The cowboy is all for it, but I’m thinking his vision is to wink at those flirty coeds or brag to his friends that he’s dating a college girl!  It’s a thought. 


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Gail Cushman:
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