Erick Ruiz-Mercado from Orland graduated from Adams State University, Alamosa, Colo., during the Virtual Fall 2020 Commencement Ceremony on December 5. Ruiz-Mercado received a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Psychology. Adams State awarded 233 undergraduate degrees.

Erika Steenburg gave the address on behalf of the Class of 2020. “We’ve accomplished something that would have been difficult, pandemic or not. We are without a doubt part of the history being written this extraordinary year.”

Adams State Class of 1986 and the first female executive in Adams State’s history, Rosalie Martinez was the fall commencement speaker. She relayed a story of how Adams State helped her overcome her own fears and taught her how teamwork and trust can be empowering.

“I think fear is a big part of the formula for success,” Martinez told the graduates. ‘If you don’t step out of your comfort zone, you’re never going to find out how much more you might have accomplished.

Special music was recorded by the Chamber Choir, featuring Rian Carrillo, alto, and Tyleen Stults, piano.

Over 30 percent of the graduates identify as first-generation and 55 percent are from Colorado with 27 percent from the San Luis Valley.

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