Graduate takes on roll of commencement speaker

Aidan McCown

Members of the graduating class of 2018 will see their last day as Golden Eagles on May 12, but they will notice that for the first time at LCCC their commencement speaker will be a fellow student.

President Dr. Joe Schaffer and Student Government Association President Constance Woolhether will be speaking at graduation. This year’s commencement speaker, however, will be student Aidan McCown.

McCown is an education major and said one day he would like to do something related to speech.

“I knew that I’ve been wanting to teach for a while,” McCown said. “I’m actually coming back as an older student, so I knew exactly what I wanted.”

Being a non-traditional student, McCown said he once attempted college at Sonoma State University in California right out of high school, but he failed out.

“I couldn’t lock in a way that was very productive,” McCown said. “Locked into all the wrong things, if you will.”

After staying in California for a while, McCown said he did not really know what he was doing with his life and was not getting things done that were productive for his future. That is when his brother told him to come to Cheyenne, which he said was the next step to do the right thing for his future even though it had been a while since he had attended school.

“This time around I’m coming back a little older, I’m here to work,” McCown said. “I’m here to get stuff done, so it was just a little bit different experience and I think it’s a story that resonates with a lot of people.”

McCown said his commencement speech will focus on how he never thought he would come back to college, his difficult journey to get to LCCC and how school can be a scary, intimidating milestone.

“But at the end of the day when you know that you can conquer something that is scary and intimidating, you know you can conquer anything,” McCown said.

As a California native, McCown said it was valuable to come to school in Wyoming where the world works very differently and that his experience at LCCC has been positive.

McCown said he is not stopping with his education and plans on attending a four-year university with thoughts of a master’s degree in mind.

“Commencement is all about the students,” Joshua Petersen, a LCCC communication instructor, said. “It is a celebration of your accomplishments.”

In the past Schaffer, the Foundation and others could suggest names, and Schaffer would then send an invitation to the chosen speaker. However, Petersen said that the school has gotten feedback from students the past few years saying that they weren’t connecting with the outside speaker.

The idea was presented to Schaffer and a few others, Petersen said, and all agreed it would be a good change of pace to select a student.

A total of six students were nominated and four auditioned in front of three judges: Petersen; Troy Rumpf, manager of Strategic Communications and Marketing; and Stacy Maestas, registar.

Each student presented their speeches in front of the judges and were asked a series of questions at the end. All judges had a score sheet that included four categories: professionalism, organizational pattern, language and delivery. Within each category the students was then scored advanced (three points), proficient (two points), and basic (one point). The students could earn up to a total of 12 points.

The commencement ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. May 12 at Storey Gymnasium. Wingspan will offer a live broadcast of the ceremony on its YouTube channel and at



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