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As we write this, Montana Tech’s leaders are greatly and correctly focused on the institution’s future. The university is positioning itself as a “special focus” school, as opposed to a regional one. The intricacies and import of that will weigh heavily as key decisions are made over the next few months.

But as Marcus Aurelius said, “It is not the weight of the future or the past that is pressing upon you, but ever that of the present alone.”

And even as the strategic planning process bubbles along, it’s very important to recognize what an absolutely splendid “present” the university is enjoying.

On Saturday, Montana Tech staged its 118th commencement, conferring some 697 degrees and certificates to 582 students.

For the first time ever, the school granted doctorates. Also for the first time, Montana Tech awarded bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

These are enormous accomplishments for the institution. They are a credit to its current leadership, and that of the Montana University system.

Many of these graduating Orediggers will stay in the state – and in Butte, making their future our future. They will apply the university’s famous emphasis on solutions to real-world problems to the communities where they live, including here.

We offer our congratulations and best wishes to Tech’s 2018 graduates, and to the university’s faculty and administration, which have made each of these graduates’ educational journey a success story.

We are particularly proud of the graduates with local roots who are the first or among the first in their families to attain a college education, and offer the sincere hope that they will use that education to enhance family, community and the overall prosperity of Butte.

Never have the links between community and university been more important here; our futures are inextricably tied. All of us in Butte should be grateful for the strength and vitality of this great school as it moves into its 119th year.

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