Valdez is the Adams State Fall Commencement Speaker

Left, Armando Valdez is the Adams State University Fall Commencement Speaker. Right, Mathew Burcin, Escondido, Calif., will deliver the Student Speaker Commencement.

ALAMOSA  Armando Valdez, recently appointed State Director of Director of the United States Department of Agriculture-Rural Development for Colorado, is the Adams State University Fall Commencement Speaker. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, in Richardson Hall Auditorium. Adams State will award 147 associate degrees and 88 bachelor’s degrees.

In 2006, Valdez started his dream job at Adams State as assistant professor of management. After 15 years in the School of Business, he leaves with mixed feelings. “Teaching in a small rural college has a greater impact for our community than a larger university has for its community. Adams State provides opportunities which would not exist without the presence of ASU, not only for educational opportunities, but for community engagement with arts, sciences, sports, cultural exposure, and economic development.”

He admires Adams State students for their intelligence, resilience, empathy, and openness to diversity. “We have amazing students at Adams State who strive to find that pathway which will change their lives and the lives of their families.”

Armando took an active leadership role in the School of Business. He created and served as the director of the health care administration program and was integral in the development of the agribusiness program. He was instrumental in developing the latest water studies program on campus in partnership with the Adams State Salazar Rio Grande Center del Norte.

During his tenure, Armando received the Presidential Teacher Award in 2010; the Student Engagement in Teaching Award in 2008 and 2015; and the Excellence in Advisement Award in 2013.

A native of the San Luis Valley, Valdez operates the family farm and ranch, Valdez Land and Livestock, LLC, with his wife and children. Valdez is a 16th generation American, who can trace his roots back to northern New Mexico, in the early 1600s. His family first arrived in southern Conejos County in the 1860s. “I am very proud of our family history.”

Mathew Burcin, Escondido, Calif., will deliver the message from the Class of 2021. Burcin, a cellular molecular biology major, first came to Adams State on a soccer scholarship. “The professors have always been very supportive and available to help. It is why I did so well. They know me and conveyed a sense of belonging.”

Chair Michele Lueck will deliver a greeting from the Board of Trustees and William Lipke, D.M.A., and Matthew Valverde, D.M.A. will perform “Sin tu Amor” by Miguel Sandoval (1903-1953) as the special music.

Due to Plachy Hall renovations, the ceremony will be held in the Richardson Hall Auditorium. Students receiving a degree must reserve tickets for guests. The ceremony will also be livestreamed at