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Press Release

Record number expected to graduate from Metro State on Sunday

2008 DNC host committee president Elbra Wedgeworth to deliver commencement address


Posted: December 12, 2007



(Denver, Colo.) — Elbra Wedgeworth, former Denver City Council president and current president of the Denver 2008 Democratic National Convention host committee, will address a record 1,064 graduates at Metropolitan State College of Denver's commencement Sunday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center.

Wedgeworth served as City Council president from 2003 to 2005 and was City Council president pro tempore from 2001 to 2002. She has more than 16 years of experience working in Denver city government, with the unusual distinction of having served in all three branches. In April of this year, Wedgeworth was named Denver Health's chief government and community affairs officer, responsible for all governmental legislative matters on the local, state and federal level and community outreach.

She will address the largest fall graduating class in the College's history - a 13.2 percent increase over last fall. Twenty three percent are students of color. There are many inspiring stories among the record number of expected graduates. Below is a sample:

Claudia Janiszewski - Eleven years after taking her first class at Metro State, Janiszewski is graduating with a degree in non-profit organization administration and development - her first degree. It's been a long, but rewarding road for Janiszewski, who established her own non profit agency, Organization for the Support of Albania's Abandoned Babies (OSAAB), in July 1997. In December 2002, Janiszewski received the "President Civil Merit Medal and Decree" by the President of the Republic of Albania. It was also in 2002 that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is cancer free now. Her organization made world news when U.S. First Lady Laura Bush visited the OSAAB "Angel's Cradle" nursery in the Tirana maternity hospital while on her visit to Albania in June of this year.(more information available at http://www.osaab.org/)

Darla, Danea and Joshua Buell - A family of three at a graduation usually means two people are in attendance to support the one who is graduating. Not in the case of the Buell family. All three will graduate Sunday from Metro State: Mom, Darla, with a degree in integrative therapeutic practices; son Joshua with a double major in biology and chemistry; and daughter Danea with a degree in behavioral science.

Sharita Clopton - A speech communication major, Clopton is one of 56 African Americans graduating this Sunday and the first in her immediate family to earn a college degree. The Denver native and Manual High School graduate traveled to Ghana for a month-long study abroad program through the College's African and African American Studies program in June 2006. She contracted malaria within a week of her arrival, but recovered and was able to travel with the rest of the group to see slave castles where Africans where held for the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Chajito "Chy" Montoya-Sanchez - A criminal justice and criminology major, Montoya-Sanchez lost two infant children (one to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and battled drug abuse before enrolling at Metro State. The father was convicted of child abuse resulting in the death of their second child and received a 32-year prison sentence. He's up for a new trial in January 2008. The process inspired her to learn more about the criminal justice system and the law. Montoya-Sanchez is now the director of events for LARASA (Latin American Research and Service Agency) and is responsible for various events including their annual luncheon fundraiser, the Bernie Valdez Awards. She is re-married with a healthy 2-year-old son and plans to go to law school.

Ceremony specifics
Commencement will be held on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2007, at 2 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center, at 14th and California streets. The doors will be closed promptly at 2 p.m. for approximately 20 minutes to allow for the graduate processional. The commencement exercises are expected to last until approximately 4:45 p.m.

For more information on the commencement ceremony, go to http://www.mscd.edu/commencement/index.shtml.

The ceremony can be viewed live online during the proceedings. Go to http://www.mscd.edu/commencement/webcast/.

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About Metropolitan State College of Denver

Metro State is a fully-accredited, four-year institution, serving more than 21,000 students. It has the second-largest undergraduate enrollment in Colorado and is one of the largest four-year public colleges in the nation. Metro State enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts 60,000 alumni, 90 percent of whom stay in Colorado after graduation. Visit Metro State at www.mscd.edu.