The Hamilton-based Bitterroot College UM has 10 graduates this week. That may seem like a small number. However it's a very special group, with 70 percent of those grads as the only members of their families to ever graduate from college.

Victoria Clark of Bitterroot College is extremely proud of them, saying, "It means that student is the first person in their family to ever graduate college. Parents didn't go to college, siblings didn't go to college, and they're the first one. And it's pretty darn exciting."

They will be wearing a special "First Generation" designation at the graduation ceremony Friday, May 13, at 4:30 p.m. The graduation ceremony will be in the college gym at 103 South 9th Street at the corner of 9th and Main in Hamilton. The graduates will dress in cap & gown and the ceremony is open to all whom the graduates have invited; no tickets or reservations needed. There will be a short reception after the ceremony.

And the majority of the class will be the first in their families to graduate. Clark said, "I think it just shows how important the college is, especially for those particular students. It's quite a milestone and this is life-changing."

The Bitterroot College UM graduates are also invited to participate in the Saturday graduation ceremonies at the University of Montana, as part of the group graduating from Missoula College at 2 p.m.

There are two ceremonies May 14 for 1,800 students at the Missoula campus Saturday. The morning ceremony at 9 a.m. will be for the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education, the Department of Public Administration and Policy, the College of Health, and the College of Business.

The 2 p.m. ceremony will include the Missoula College, the College of Humanities and Sciences, and the College of the Arts and Media. Both ceremonies will be at the Adams Center.

Due to construction on the Missoula campus, parking will be VERY limited Saturday. Those who have limited mobility will be able to use Parking Lots Z and Y. UDash shuttles will provide free Park and ride services. Otherwise, you're urged to carpool and arrive early.

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