The University of Montana Western awarded a record 481 degrees to 395 students at commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 7, 2016.
The record follows the admission of the university’s largest class of first time students in fall 2015.
“Montana Western is a truly transformative and remarkable institution that has quietly instilled in you the skills you will need to succeed in any endeavor that you undertake,” commencement speaker Nathan Boll told the Class of 2016
“When I was sitting where you are now, just three short years ago, I still did not know precisely what I was going to be when I grew up, but I knew I was ready to take on the world and I know, now, that so are you,” Boll said.
Boll, a 2013 Montana Western grad, recently completed work as a Mirzayan Graduate Fellow to the Space Studies Board at the National Academy of Sciences.
He is currently taking classes at George Washington University toward a second masters degree in international science and technology policy at the Space Policy Institute.
The Class of 2016 included graduates from 22 states with 77 percent coming from Montana.
Honors graduates made up 51 percent of the class including 46 percent cum laude, 33 percent magna cum laude and 24 percent summa cum laude.
Also featured at the commencement was Montana Western library director Mike Schulz who received the Distinguisned Service Award.
Schulz has served as Montana Westerns library director for almost 27 years and graduated from Western Montana College in 1979 and later earned his masters from UMW.
Retiring professor Sheila Roberts and long-time university employee Donna Rouse served as chief marshalls at the ceremony.