By Haley Watson, Correspondent
Texas A&M University Central Texas celebrated their 9th spring commencement ceremony Saturday, May 13, at the Bell County Expo Center at 7 PM. Out of 314 graduates, 239, dressed in blue gowns, received Bachelor Degrees, and 74, dressed in black gowns, received Master Degrees.
“Our students are fearless,” said Karen Clos, Executive Director for Advancement and Alumni Services.
Approximately 40 percent of the student population at A&M Central Texas are military affiliated. Any graduate who is a military veteran can be identified by maroon stoles worn over their gowns.
“One of the central purposes of this institution is to serve those here in the military, and also provide distance learning to those across the globe.” said Dr. James Hallmark (Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.)
After all the graduates were lined up and ready to walk, Inaugural President Marc A. Nigliazzo asked them three questions.
“Who were you when you first came to A&M Central Texas? Who were you when you were in your degree work? And who will you be every day for the rest of your life after you walk across the stage?”
With excitement in their voices the graduates responded, “Warriors,” to each of the questions.
Following the final pep talk provide by Nigliazzo in the gathering room, the 1st Cavalry Division Band played “March of the Warriors” as the faculty and graduates marched into the auditorium ready to begin the journey to the rest of their lives.
Following A&M tradition, Nigliazzo presented Student Body President Cadet Josh Chatham with a class ring in recognition of his outstanding leadership and service. Out of the 314 graduates, 14 earned the honor of being recognized as distinguished graduates by maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. The distinguished graduated are:
Patrick Charles Leech, Betty Elaine Latham, Bradley Philip Steimle, Jessica Lynn Toothman, Kimberlyn Truesdell, Felix Alaniz III, Brittney Nicole Anderson, Jasmine Janae Gaines, Timothy Howard Jones, Brian Kieth McCutcheon, Sr., Ronald James Sursa, Valentyna Sofia Torres, Debreah Shawn Chism and Elwood E. Verduin.
The 1st Team Honor Guard presented the posting of colors, Mr. Larry Davis sang the National Anthem and the ROTC Cadet Commissioning was directed by Brigadier General Robert F. Whittle, Jr. Whittle commissioned five cadets into the active duty Army as Platoon Leaders to be in charge of between 30 and 40 soldiers.
“Today’s a special day graduates, you know that,” said Dr. James Hallmark, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “As you prepare to walk across the stage and begin the next chapter of your life, I don’t know what your future will hold. I do know that your future will be bright and you will be well prepared for it. Each of you should be proud of what you’ve accomplished and we certainly are proud for you.”