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Hundreds of UCCS graduates collect diplomas

December 15, 2017 Updated: December 16, 2017 at 5:09 am
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Laura Wolff, a biomedical and Spanish majors student, laughs as she finds her family in the audience before the start of the UCCS fall commencement at the Broadmoor World Arena on Friday December 15, 2017 in Colorado Springs. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

About 500 students graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs on Friday at the Broadmoor World Arena.

Students who completed requirements for bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees in August or December walked across the stage to accept their diplomas.

World-class figure skater and magna cum laude student Max Aaron was among the new graduates.

Just before having his bachelor's degree in business conferred, Aaron, a contender for the 2018 Olympic team, was practicing his quad jumps on a back rink at the arena.

"It's a little ironic that UCCS graduation is at the World Arena," Aaron said in a statement. "Because when I'm not on campus, I'm on the ice there. Campus and the World Arena are where I live."

Aaron completed his finance degree in three years and combined his studies with at least five hours of daily practice on the ice, toward his goal of representing the U.S. in next year's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

"One down, one to go," Aaron said of his two goals. He will compete in the U.S. Nationals in January 2018.

"I know skating can't last forever," the 24-year-old said. "When it comes time to retire, I hope to work with professional athletes, including some of my buddies in the NHL, to help them manage their money so it can last."

Among those congratulating graduates were 14 graduates from 1992 celebrating the 25th anniversary of their graduation.

Linda Hogan, who graduated from UCCS in 1973 and taught creative writing at CU Boulder and Colorado College, was the keynote speaker.

Hogan, of Chickasaw descent and the Chickasaw Nation's Writer in Residence in Tishomingo, Okla., is an award-winning author of poetry, fiction and essays.

An estimated 950 students earned degrees in August or December. About half typically participate in formal ceremonies. UCCS also conducts commencement ceremonies in May.

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