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Graduation day ceremonies across the state

Posted at 4:45 PM, May 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:04:22-04

BILLINGS – The oldest college in Montana held its 136th graduation ceremony Saturday afternoon.

Rocky Mountain College graduates marched into the Fortin Gym.

Montana Poet Laureate Lowell Jaeger was the Commencement speaker, telling the graduates he hopes for them to see beyond the limitations into possibilities.

The 251 graduates come from all over the United States and from 10 other countries.


BILLINGS – Across town, MSU Billings graduates heard inspiration to pursue opportunities at the schools 91st commencement at the MetraPark Rimrock Auto Arena.

The MSU Billings University Chorus sang the Alma Mater before 789 received graduation honors.

Chris Nelson, founder and CEO of Zoot Enterprises in Bozeman, was the commencement speaker.

Nelson graduated in 1978 when the school was known as Eastern Montana College.

He told students he pursued opportunities with vigor and had unbelievable experiences.

“If i got what i deserved out of life, yea, probably wouldn’t have worked out this way,” Nelson said. “But I know that God has had His hand and I know that He’s been there every time I’ve fallen down. If there’s any advice that I can give you, is don’t give up. Don’t let other people define who you are.”

Nelson started Zoot Enterprises back in 1990.

Zoot processes more than 350 million loan applications every year.


GREAT FALLS The University of Providence and Great Falls College MSU celebrated their commencements on Saturday at the McLaughlin Center gymnasium.

The University of Providence’s graduating class included 80 Montana students and 270 students from 20 other states as well as a number of international students.

Sister Karin Dufault delivered the keynote address and received an honorary degree for her service.

Great Falls College MSU celebrated the graduation of 323 students who earned their associate degree or certificate.

District Court Judge Greg Pinski gave the commencement address.


BUTTE – “When I say ‘one, two, three’ you say ‘go Diggers,’ one, two three,” Dr. Ron Layton told Montana Tech’s 2018 graduating class.

“Go Diggers!”

It Didn’t take much to get Montana Tech’s graduates motivated during its 118th commencement ceremony Saturday at the Butte Civic Center. About 580 graduates received their degrees and awards before a packed house. The theme for the ceremony was all about dreaming big.

Keynote Speaker Dr. Ron Layton, and Montana Tech alum who works for the U.S. Secret Service told the students simple rules about hard work and staying humble. He stressed that the graduates that no dream is too big for which to strive.

“To dream, is not restricted by your zip code or your bank account. That’s the whole deal, it doesn’t matter where you come from or how much money that you have, so always dream big, dreams are free, they don’t cost you anything,” Layton said.

Three Montana Tech graduates achieved their dream of being the first to earn doctorate degrees since the university first started the program three years ago. The students made a packed to finish together.

“We kind of made an agreement that we’d all finish at the same time and all walk at the same time and nobody would finish in front of the other one, so we followed through with it,” said graduate Richard Ladouceur of Butte.

The three graduates say they are honored to reach the milestone of being the first three to earn their doctorates at Montana Tech.

“It’s really cool to be the first PhD group out of Tech, for Butte, for Tech school, our families and our friends. It’s been quite an experience,” said John Murphy of Durango, Colo.

Paving the way for others to dream big.