Mesalands Community College held its commencement ceremony Friday. This year the college had its largest graduating class with a total of 84 graduates, two of whom were honorary degree recipients.
Phillip O. Barry, president of Mesalands Community College, presented David Murphy and Miriam Murphy of Oklahoma City with honorary degrees. The Murphys have been big supporters of the college for the past five years. They have not only provided a scholarship to fund the entire college education for a Tucumcari High School graduate, this couple has also provided five scholarships each year to allow students to participate in the paleontology “summer digs.” In addition, the Murphys started the Murphy Endowed Geology Scholarship and most recently established the David L. and Miriam L. Murphy Museum Fund.
“It’s very seldom that private individuals have such a profound effect on a college that would warrant the college to award honorary degrees,” Barry said. “In the Murphys’ case, their philanthropy is even more appreciated because they live outside the state of New Mexico, and still saw the value of this college.”
The Murphys were surprised to be awarded such an honor, but were also very humble.
“My wife and I are honored to receive these degrees, but we are undeserving of this honor,” Murphy said. Mrs. Murphy said the special ones in this case are the students, and they should be commended for their hard work.
Jerónimo Dominguez, vice provost of distance education programs and services at the University of New Mexico, gave the commencement speech at the graduation ceremony. He congratulated the students and encouraged them to further their education.
“Failure is not an option,” Dominguez said. “You must continue to do what’s needed to improve your life and this includes continuing to invest in your education.”
Also at the graduation ceremony, Rose Chavez, student services specialist at Mesalands, received her bachelor of science degree from Franklin University.