Medal Of Honor Recipient To Keynote WNMU Commencement

Dec 10, 2012

Silver City, NM – Drew Dennis Dix, decorated military veteran and retired United States Army major will deliver the keynote address at the Western New Mexico University fall commencement ceremony on Friday, December 14.

Born in West Point, New York, and raised in Pueblo, Colorado, Dix joined the US Army in 1962. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division where he was deployed to the Dominican Republic for his first combat tour. Following graduation from the Operations and Intelligence Course, Dix attended Spanish language and High Altitude training courses before being deployed to the Republic of Vietnam.

In Vietnam, Dix was assigned, as a lone American, to ahighly classified CIA project with the mission of eliminating enemy infrastructure. Dix later held various positions with groups such as the Airborne Division, Special Forces groups, the JFK Warfare Center and the Joint Special Operations Support Element (JSOSE).

As a Special Forces Sergeant, during his first tour detailed to the CIA, he became the first enlisted man in the US Army Special Forces to receive the Medal of Honor.

Two graduates will be delivering student response speeches at the ceremony. Catalina Claussen is earning a Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and will speak on behalf of the graduate degree candidates.

Claussen teaches English at Aldo Leopold High School. She previously earned a master’s degree from Prescott College. The theme of her speech is to give back to the community and that receiving an education is a gift that should be shared to help build a stronger community.

Cluassen has lived in Silver City for 17 years. She isoriginally from Alberta, Canada and is married with two children.

Rusty Nations will deliver the student response speech for the undergraduates. Nations, a native of Morenci, Arizona, is earning a Baccalaureate degree in Computer Science.

Nations is currently a network support specialist for Silver Consolidated Schools. He previously earned an Associate degree in Computer Networking from WNMU.

Nations’ speech will focus on overcoming adversities and finding success. He is married and has two children.

The ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Theatre. It can be viewed live online at