Never stop trying to reach your goals, commencement speaker Robert Lopez Andazola told his fellow graduates at the 71st Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell graduation ceremony Friday night at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center.
About 300 people earned associate’s degrees or secondary education certificates from ENMU-R for the 2019 spring semester, with approximately 150 participating in the graduation event. A handful of people receiving bachelor’s or master’s degrees from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales also chose to receive their diplomas at the Roswell ceremony.
Andazola, a 2017 Roswell High School graduate who received a Presidential Scholarship to attend ENMU-R, has earned an Associate of Applied Arts in media arts-graphic design. He plans to attend the University of New Mexico to earn a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
He talked about the importance of pursuing higher education and working toward goals and thanked his family, mentors and friends. He also drew on his love of anime shows for part of his address, saying the Japanese animation tales often speak to real-world issues.
“I am not the type of person that really looks at a lot of those inspirational quotes that you see on (social media),” he said, “but there is a quote from an anime show called ‘Naruto’ that speaks out to me. The quote goes like this, ‘Failing doesn’t give you a reason to give up, as long as you believe.’ … To me, this quote is telling me that no matter what, I must not give up what I want to achieve in the future. Even if doesn’t look like I can do it good, I must believe that I can. As long as I am able to reach my goals, I will not stop trying to reach them. The same goes for many of us here. Many of us worked through hardships and never gave up because we wanted to make a better life for ourselves.”
ENMU-R President Shawn Powell congratulated the group for their efforts while also acknowledging the contributions of the people around them who helped in their accomplishments.
“Tonight, we are here to celebrate you, our students, soon to be our graduates, for the courage and determination to continue your education in spite of all the challenges you faced along the way,” he said. “Thankfully, you had many people supporting you and keeping you focused on your goal to graduate. All of us at ENMU-Roswell share in your success.”
A video of the commencement ceremony is expected to be posted to ENMU-R’s YouTube channel by next week.