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First-of-its-kind MSU Denver graduation event honors eligible former students who earned associate degrees

First-of-its-kind MSU Denver graduation event honored hundreds of eligible former students
First-of-its-kind MSU Denver graduation event honored hundreds of eligible former students 02:00

As graduation season may be over for most, at MSU Denver, students are still earning their degrees. 

The institution held a first-of-its-kind graduation event that honored hundreds of eligible former students with associate degrees.


"I'm living my best life," exclaimed Lisa Theriot, a now MSU Denver graduate.

Theriot was ecstatic moments after walking across the stage and receiving her associate degree Saturday morning, 10 years later. 

CBS News Colorado Anchor and Reporter Kennedy Cook stopped by the event and spoke to graduates like Theriot who were praised on their success after making the return to school. 

"I decided to go to school because I wanted to inspire my kids to go to school. I am the first person in my family to actually graduate from college," she said. "I served in Germany, I was in Korea, I was taking different classes in different countries to build up these credits and it was just so hard, life happened, I got sick, I got COVID, but I still wanted to continue on." 


It took some time, but Theriot got it done along with hundreds of other students eligible for their associate degrees and it was all made possible thanks to a 2021 bill passed by Colorado legislature. 

"Legislature passed a law to allow four-year institutions to grant two-year associate degrees to those people who had stopped out. It was largely done as a pandemic consideration, but they wrote the legislation saying, 'you can go back 10 years, to look at people who had completed enough credits to have earned an associate degree," said a representative with MSU Denver. 

Out of 4,000 eligible students, 336 elected to receive the honor, while 27 graduates crossed the stage, leaving friends and family proud. 


"She did it, she put in the time and the work," exclaimed a family member of Theriot. 

After crossing the stage and receiving a degree, the graduates are ready to conquer even more. 

"I am about 15 credit hours from my bachelor's. So, I'm coming back here, we're gonna earn that!" said Theriot.

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