Colorado Springs, Colo. – May 15, 2015 – The 350 Pikes Peak Community College graduates participating in today’s commencement were encouraged to “run their own race” as Olympic gold medalist Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley shared advice and personal stories at PPCC’s 2015 Commencement Ceremony.
“Don’t let fear keep you from having a good start,” Fitzgerald-Mosley said. “You were put on this earth for your own unique purpose, so run your own race and as you graduate stretch yourself and let the Olympic spirit inspire you to reach your personal dreams.”
PPCC President Dr. Lance Bolton added, “I cannot think of a better commencement speaker than the Olympic Gold Medalist in hurdles because many of you have jumped your own hurdles getting here today.”
PPCC’s graduating class is one of the most diverse graduating PPCC classes to date. Totaling 1,645 students, ages 16 – 69, 52 percent received a career or technical certificate while 48 percent received an associate degree. Of the graduating class, nearly one third represented minorities and 13 percent are active military, veterans or dependents.
After participating in a medallion ceremony honoring military and veteran students for their service, PPCC Student Government President, Willie Linson a veteran himself, encouraged fellow graduates to “shake it up like chocolate milk,” as they move on to the next phase of their lives.
Three students were honored for special achievements during the ceremony. Robert Romesburg received the Inspiration Achievement Award, Amner Carmona received the Outstanding Service Award and Lauren Natali was honored with the Student Leadership Award.
Keynote Speaker Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley Bio
In her position at the USOC, Fitzgerald Mosley oversees athlete career programs, the athlete ombudsman’s office, diversity and inclusion, human resources, facilities, NGB organizational development, security, and strategic planning. She also serves on the International Olympic Committee Women and Sport Commission.
Fitzgerald-Mosley previously worked in a variety of roles for the USOC, Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, Special Olympics International and was the president and CEO of Women in Cable Telecommunications. During her position as chief of sport performance for USA Track & Field, U.S. track & field athletes garnered 29 medals in the 2012 Olympic Games, representing the highest medal count for the U.S. in 20 years.
At the 1984 Olympic games, Fitzgerald-Mosley became the first African American woman and just the second American woman to win Olympic gold in the 100-meter hurdles. The 14-time All-American is a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, the Penn Relays Hall of Fame and the University of Tennessee Lady Vols Hall of Fame. A 1984 graduate of University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, Fitzgerald Mosley lives in Colorado Springs with her husband, Ron, and their two children.
Pikes Peak Community College is in its 47th year of operation and has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1975. It is a two-year college offering 158 associate degrees and various certifications in career and technical fields. With four campuses and two military education centers in El Paso County, PPCC serves approximately 21,000 students annually.