Mesalands Community College’s 2016 graduation will feature a commencement speech from Dr. Barbara Damron, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Higher Education Department .
Damron has more than 30 years of experience as an executive, health care provider, scientist, and educator. Previously, she served on the professional staff for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in Washington, D.C. She most recently was an associate professor at the University of New Mexico.
Damron received a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, obtained a master’s in nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Texas in Austin.
As cabinet secretary for the NMHED, Damron oversees the state’s 28 public institutions of higher education, the four tribal colleges, and more than150 private and proprietary post-secondary institutions.
Damron also chairs the New Mexico Education Trust Board and is a Commissioner of Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. She has received more than 25 state, national, and international awards for her accomplishments.
Ashlee Bradley, Mesalands graduate and dual-enrollment student at Tucumcari High School, has been selected as the student speaker at graduation.
Bradley, has been taking college classes at Mesalands since she was a sophomore at Tucumcari High. Bradley is one of three dual students from Tucumcari High School who graduate this year with associate’s degrees from Mesalands. This is the first time at Mesalands that dual students will be obtaining associate’s degrees from Mesalands, prior to graduating from high school. Bradley will be receiving an associate’s degree in liberal arts and two occupational certificates as a certified nursing assistant and in phlebotomy from Mesalands.
Earlier this year, Bradley was also selected for the 2016 All-State New Mexico Academic Team. For this achievement, she received a full-tuition scholarship for as many as four consecutive semesters at a participating New Mexico public university or college. Bradley will graduate from Tucumcari High School later this month. She plans to become a sports medicine and orthopedic and surgeon.
Mesalands Community College will hold their 2016 commencement ceremony at 6 p.m., May 13, at the Tucumcari Convention Center.