November 28, 2022


CONTACT: Donna Oracion, College Development Director, 575-624-7403

[email protected]




About 80 graduates are expected to participate in Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell’s Seventy-Eighth Commencement Convocation on Thursday, December 8 in the ENMU-Roswell Performing Arts Center, 64 University Blvd. Two ceremonies will be held.

The 5:30 p.m. ceremony will recognize graduation candidates in the Arts and Sciences Education programs and the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) Technology program, in addition to bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates from ENMU in Portales.

The 7:30 p.m. ceremony will recognize graduation candidates in the Health Education programs and Technical Education (with the exception of HVAC) programs. Due to limited space, tickets will be required to attend each ceremony and have been distributed to graduates.

The commencement speaker will be Haily Gonzalez, a candidate for graduation who will be receiving an Associate of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. Graduating 11th in her class at Roswell High School, Haily Gonzalez had many college options to choose from, including enrolling at Stanford and Baylor. She was offered the Presidential Scholarship at ENMU-Roswell and after touring the campus and talking with instructor, Romo Villegas, about the Criminal Justice Program, Gonzalez decided to attend ENMU-Roswell in the fall of 2021. It’s a decision she is happy she made. Not only did Gonzalez take advantage of the Presidential Scholarship, which covers all tuition, fees and other expenses, she also started taking dual credit classes when she was a junior at RHS, earning 4 college credit hours in English.

Gonzalez said the Criminal Justice field has always interested her, and she plans to pursue a career as either a lawyer or criminal investigator. Graduating with an Associate of Arts degree in Criminal Justice, she said ENMU-Roswell has prepared her well and given her the resources and support system she needed to succeed. She said people have their preconceptions about what they think college is going to be like, but she recommends prospective students take a campus tour and reach out to instructors about their programs. “There are so many resources out there that you can take advantage of so you can see how the classes will go.” She said Villegas, who is now the director of the GEAR UP Program, was always very helpful and is a great advocate for students.

Gonzalez also appreciated the variety of student ages and backgrounds in the classes she attended. “People who are scared to come back, don’t be, because it’s so beneficial to have all the resources here and know you are not the only one. It’s never too late to start again. It’s never too late to finish, and whether you attend part-time or full-time, as long as you’re in there, you are getting it done.”

On campus, she served as the Vice President of the Criminal Justice Club and was also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. She is also active in the community with a disaster relief program and works full-time at Sam’s Club at the cashier/service desk.

As the first in her family to graduate from college, Gonzalez said she is most grateful to her mom, Gladys Ocon, who always pushed her to get A’s and inspired her to focus on her education. “As a single mom, she gave me support and everything I needed to make sure I was good, so I owe it all to her.” Gonzalez has in turn encouraged her older sister to return to ENMU-Roswell and is mentoring her younger sister, now a freshman at RHS, to stay on track to attend college.


78th Commencement Program