Commencement 2008

Clear blue skies and Golden’s towering mesas provided a spectacular backdrop for the 134th Commencement ceremony that took place May 9 on Kafadar Commons.

President Scoggins, flanked by faculty in full regalia, welcomed eager students and proud families and friends to campus. A total of 512 seniors crossed the stage that morning to collect their degrees, passing by the flags of the many nations represented by the Class of 2008.

Dr. Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, delivered the commencement address. With oil that day reaching an all-time high, he made predictions on the impact of escalating prices: “It accelerates innovation, it accelerates change and I think oil will lose its monopoly position in transportation…innovation responds to need,” he said, adding, “There’s an additional reinforcer—climate change.”

At a time of high anxiety when it comes to energy, the Class of 2008 will face no shortage of exciting professional challenges. Yergin spoke to the interesting times ahead, noting, “A week ago when I was working on this speech, oil was $110 a barrel, today it is $126.” With average one-year placement rates for Mines graduates holding steady around 99%, and starting salaries in the $60,000 range, this year’s graduates have ample career opportunities.

Graduating senior Marc Anthony Guerra reflected on the Mines experience during his student address. “Time and time again, we’re told how prestigious this school really is… the students, the faculty, the staff and the graduates before us made Colorado School of Mines what it truly is today.”

Celebrations had begun the night before commencement, as more than 500 guests filled the Student Recreation Center for the Graduation and Alumni Banquet. Student, faculty and alumni award presentations kicked off the festive occasion. Keynote speaker and Nobel Prize-winning physicist James Cronin congratulated graduates on their achievements and spoke on the importance of science to society’s welfare.

As the Class of 2008 joins the extended community of Mines alumni and is welcomed by industries eager for their skills, the future looks bright for next year’s graduates as well—all 185 Fall Career Day booth spaces were sold out less than three days after registration opened.

Such tremendous demand for Mines graduates is a powerful testament to the School’s relevance in these complex and challenging times.

(Daniel Yergin and James Cronin’s speeches are available under “Web Extras”)

Honorary Degree Recipients
Daniel Yergin: internationally respected authority on energy, international politics and economics; chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA); executive vice president of IHS, parent company to CERA; Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The
Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power

James W. Cronin: emeritus professor of physics at the University of Chicago; 1980 Nobel Laureate with fellow physicist Val L. Fitch for their discovery of violations of fundamental symmetry principles in the decay of neutral K-mesons

Mary F. Wheeler: world-renowned expert in massive parallel-processing; Ernest and Virginia Cockrell Chair in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, University of Texas at Austin

Distinguished Achievement Medalist
Vernon A. “Bud” Isaacs, Jr. ’64: chairman and chief executive officer of the RIM Companies

Mines Medalist
Charles J. Baroch ’54: mayor of Golden from 2002 to 2008; former executive director of Golden Civic Foundation, president of Hazen Research and chief executive officer of WASTREN