Linda Relyea

Jacksonville native graduated with honors from Adams State University

ALAMOSA, CO. (June 28, 2022) – Jacksonville native Mary Benavidez delivered the 2022 Spring Commencement Student Message at Adams State University, in Colorado.

As a first-generation college graduate, Benavidez is an inspiration to those family members still going through their college journey. “I won’t allow myself to hinder my own success by placing imaginary boundaries on my abilities.” She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.

Benevidez inspired fellow graduates to use the experience and skills gained while Adams State students to succeed in the next chapter of their lives. She said the high expectations from professors were balanced with support. “The psychology faculty have been a source of inspiration since the beginning. I was encouraged to get out of my comfort zone and this led me to pushing myself above and beyond what I thought I was capable of.”

Because she received several scholarships, worked with Upward Bound as a high school advisor, and held a paid position as the Associated Students and Faculty Vice President of External Affairs, Benavidez graduated without much debt.

“My on-campus support system consisted of people I learned to trust and look to for guidance. They helped me celebrate my successes and helped me learn from my failures, providing the encouragement that I needed to meet each challenge with determination and a positive attitude.”

Benavidez started Adams State in 1997 but then took time off to raise a family. After receiving an associate’s degree with a community college, she returned to Adams State in the summer of 2020. She was active in AS&F; PSI CHI, the psychology club; and the Adams State Music Educators Society. She received first place in the 2022 Student Scholar Days poster and abstract competition.

“Coming here has defined me, shaped my character, and helped me to mature into the woman that I am today. I will take everything I have learned and apply it to my life after I graduate.”

This fall, she will begin working on her Adams State University master’s in counselor education.


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Mary Benavidez