WSU, USU grads get degrees under their belts

Dec 12 2009 - 1:02am

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(BETH SCLANKER/Standard-Examiner)
(BETH SCLANKER/Standard-Examiner)

SLIDESHOW: Weber State University December graduation commencement

OGDEN -- A man receiving his fifth degree, a working mother of five and a trio of family graduates were among those participating in commencement exercises this weekend at Weber State and Utah State universities.

By the end of today, more than 3,200 students at both schools will have walked across the stage amid cheers and flashing cameras in recognition of receiving a college degree.

In Ogden, more than 1,300 graduated during Weber State's 134th commencement ceremony at the Dee Events Center on Friday. Utah State expected to have nearly 1,900 graduates at its two commencement ceremonies in Logan on Friday and today.

Among the Weber State purple-and-black robes on Friday was Mike Sellers, a Wyoming resident and the chief nursing officer at Tooele's Mountain West Medical Center. He received his fifth degree from the institution.

Sellers, a husband and father of four with a 114-mile commute, previously received degrees in nursing and health administration from WSU in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1992. He picked up his Master of Science in Nursing degree on Friday.

"The demand to move forward in a career demanded higher education. I kept going back to school," Sellers said.

"Am I done? I don't know, at least for a while."

Sellers, who earned a 4.0 grade point average, chose Weber State because it was close to his hometown of Evanston, Wyo., and provided a quality education. He credits a demanding schedule and an amazing wife for his being able to earn this degree in five semesters while working full time.

"It feels good to be done. I feel a big sense of personal accomplishment," said Sellers, whose wife, Diane, also is a nurse.

Rosemary Christensen, a 34-year-old mother of five, graduates today in Logan.

More than 12 years after finishing high school, the Brigham City resident decided it was time to earn a degree in business management.

With kids ranging in age from 5 to 14, she enrolled, earned a 3.9 GPA and served in many leadership roles on the USU-Brigham City campus as she pursued her degree.

"It feels amazing," Christensen said. "My husband and I took it semester by semester and worked together."

But Christensen isn't done. She has been accepted into the Master in Business Administration program at USU and hopes to graduate again in 2011.

Christensen hopes her story can inspire others.

"You are never too old to accomplish something. Education is important."

Layton resident David Madsen and his daughters, Dixie and Holly, all received their associate degrees from Weber State on Friday.

For him, it was a special moment to share with his girls after taking night classes over several years.

"It's an interesting feeling," said Madsen, who works at Hill Air Force Base. "I have been going to school a lot longer than they have."

Hundreds of family and friends congregated in Weber State's Dee Events Center to honor their graduates Friday. WSU awarded an honorary degree to Pamela J. Atkinson, who was also the commencement speaker.

Atkinson, a longtime health care practitioner and community activist/advocate, asked graduates to stay awake long enough to hear one thing: "You all have the power to make a difference in others' lives, as well as your own life."

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