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Carroll College celebrates 114th commencement ceremony

Posted at 8:57 AM, May 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-12 10:57:13-04

HELENA — Carroll College celebrated its 114th commencement ceremony Saturday.

The commencement ceremony opened with an honor song from members of Montana's Blackfeet Tribe. It was the first time in the school's history that a traditional indigenous song had been incorporated into the ceremony.

Carroll's class of 2024 is made up of 265 students from 22 states, including Montana, and eight different countries, including the United States.

The class of 2024 faced many challenges, some unprecedented. Many of the graduating seniors started college at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was a challenge noted by Dr. Ashley Beck during the Faculty Address.

"As the global pandemic taught us, one never knows what might happen from one minute to the next to change one's life," says Beck

Carroll College celebrates 114th commencement ceremony

The class of 2024 navigated quarantines and remote learning. Saturday's celebration may be the first traditional graduation ceremony they get to attend.

Josephine Howlett, who majored in Communication Studies, reflected on those early days and how they helped prepare her for the challenges ahead.

"So I did start in the fall of 2022. Part of that changed how we were able to interact with each other. Freshman and other students weren't allowed to mingle too much," says Howlett, "so I think that has really encouraged me to be more personable open and sharing."

During the ceremony, Carroll's leaders recognized many student and faculty achievements.

That includes those of biology major Ben Held, who received the 2024 Michael Murphy Award for Outstanding Collegiate Citizenship.

Carroll College celebrates 114th commencement ceremony

Held played football for the Saints and has been heavily involved in Special Olympics.

"There's just all these special programs that you can get involved with if you really want to here at Carroll. And that's what really set me up for what's after, because I really got the change to experience everything I wanted," Held told MTN.

The commencement ceremony also included special recognition for members of the classes of 1964 and 1974.

Carroll President Dr. John Cech, in his address to students, reminded them of the tumultuous times we live in, from the pandemic to civil unrest, as well as conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine. Cech told the graduates it is up to them to use the skills and knowledge they have learned to address these challenges.

Cech told the crowd, "Science tells us how; Humanities tell us why. I hope each of you is graduating with a sense of both how and why, because that will mean you are truly fitted, not for School, but for Life."

Carroll College celebrates 114th commencement ceremony