Dinosaur native makes WSC graduation speech

Chandra A. Sheridan presented the student address at WSC.

Chandra A. Sheridan presented the student address at WSC.
DINOSAUR I Dinosaur native Chandra A. Sheridan presented the student address at the Western State College of Colorado (WSC) Winter Commencement on Dec. 18.
Sheridan graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration with a minor in environmental studies.
Sheridan received a standing ovation for her speech, wherein she shared her personal story of tragedy and triumph and advised her classmates to find and do what they love in order to be successful and overcome any obstacles.
Sheridan plans to remain in Gunnison, Colo., with her partner, Dean Powell Davis, and their children, Paden, 3 years, and Lilian, 3 months.
The following is a Q&A with Sheridan as she reflected on her time at Western:
Q: What do you love most about Western State College?
A: I enjoy the intimacy of this small college and community. It’s nice to get to know your professors and know that you’re more than just a number on a grade roster.
Q: Why did you want to be the student commencement speaker?
A: I think that after all I’ve been through, I would like to give back and inspire others to persevere. There is a great truth in the saying, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I want to share that realization with others. If I’m able to inspire one person to overcome some obstacle, then it’s all been worth it.
Q: Name a memorable WSC experience that will stay with you through time.
A: The WSC Foundation 2010 Thanksgiving Banquet with the scholarship donors that was the seed that got this whole commencement speaker idea started. Thank you to all the scholarship donors who helped make college financially feasible. I couldn’t have done it without you!
Q: Have there been professors that have really influenced your growth as a student?
A: John and Karen Hausdoerffer, Jeff Frank and Mark Lung have all inspired me to become a more environmentally conscientious person and have led to my passion for the environmental studies program. All of my professors have been wonderful to get to know and work with; they’ve all challenged me in different ways and I thank them for all of their hard work.
Q: How did you overcome the challenge of having children while attending college and graduating within four years?
A: I’ve become quite the juggler! It’s all about balance and love, and mostly about love. I love school and I love my family and the two have actually been quite complementary. I’ve found that when you love something so much, you make time, even when there seems to be none. It’s been very hard at times, but I love both so much that I couldn’t give either up. I’m one of those people who has to have her cake and eat it too — it might not be easy, but it’s possible and oh so worth it!
Q: What do you hope your fellow graduates will take away from your speech?
A: Everyone will fall at least once in their lives and they will meet obstacles on the way. It’s not about falling; it’s about how you pick yourself up after you’ve hit rock bottom that counts. The obstacles are there to teach you about yourself, about your strengths and weaknesses, about your passion and drive, and in the end, overcoming them makes you a better person.