CollegeAmerica Fort Collins to Celebrate Its 2017 Graduating Class


By Manda Perkins Published on June 5, 2017

FORT COLLINS—On June 15, 2017, graduates of the CollegeAmerica Fort Collins campus will celebrate their educational strides and achievements at the 2017 commencement ceremony, held at 5 p.m. at the Timberline Church.

An institution that offers career-focused degree programs in the areas of healthcare, IT and business, CollegeAmerica is proud to present diplomas to 24 hard-working students this year, most of whom are non-traditional students.

Tiabria Smith: An Accounting Grad with a Master Goal

Tiabria Smith didn’t take the most traditional path to earning a degree. She started taking classes at CollegeAmerica after struggling to find success and encouragement at a local community college. Knowing she wanted to pursue a career in accounting, Smith said she was immediately drawn to the accelerated, career-focused programs offered at CollegeAmerica.

“I really enjoyed that the classes were smaller, especially for accounting,” Smith said. “I got a lot of one-on-one attention which was awesome and much needed.”

Not only did the small class sizes help give Smith the educational experience she needed, but having faculty and staff to help guide and mentor her throughout her degree program gave her the encouragement and confidence to jump-start her career in the accounting industry.

Smith graduated with her bachelor’s degree last year and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in accounting through another institution. She’ll be attending this year’s commencement ceremony to celebrate the graduation of her younger brother, who enrolled at CollegeAmerica after seeing his older sister thrive.

Shelly Christy: A Mom and a Success Story

Valedictorian and medical specialties graduate Shelly Christy is yet another example of a non-traditional student finding success at CollegeAmerica. After multiple attempts at making college work for her, Christy found it was too difficult to work a full-time job, take classes, and raise her young family.

It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with two life-threatening pulmonary embolisms at the age of 30 that Christy became unwaveringly determined to succeed in earning a college degree.

“I was laying in the hospital and I thought, ‘I’ve never done anything for myself—I’m always doing stuff for other people,’” Christy said. “So I literally got out of the hospital and found CollegeAmerica. I loved that they have flexible schedules and part online and part on-campus classes. So I signed up and I’ve never once looked back.”

Not only is Christy valedictorian of this year’s graduating class, but she is also the first person in her family to attend and graduate college. She is graduating summa cum laude as a member of Alpha Beta Kappa, an honor society that recognizes excellence in the arts, sciences, trades, business and technical studies.

“It was a lot of work,” Christy said. “I did it for my kids. I have a 12-year-old and a seven-year-old and I wanted them to see that it doesn’t matter how old you are. If you have a goal, you can still accomplish it; you don’t have to give up because of a number.”

As valedictorian, Christy is preparing to give her commencement speech before the ceremony.

“I just hope I make it through my speech without crying,” Christy said. “It’s my story, you know? It’s about my perseverance. I’m nervous, but I think it will be good for my kids to see and my parents are so proud. More than anything, I’m just excited.”

For more information about the CollegeAmerica Fort Collins campus, visit https://www.collegeamerica.edu/locations/fort-collins.

About CollegeAmerica

CollegeAmerica provides career-focused higher education to students in Arizona and Colorado. Offering degree programs in healthcare, business, and technology, CollegeAmerica is committed to preparing professionals for meaningful careers. For more information, visit www.collegeamerica.edu. CollegeAmerica is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.