A total of 406 graduates participated in the 66th Annual Southwest Texas Junior College Commencement Ceremony held May 11 before a standing-room-only crowd at the Uvalde Honey Bowl Stadium.
Taking part in the ceremony were December 2012 graduates, May 2013 graduates and August 2013 candidates for graduation.
"It was a cool, cloudy morning with no rain. Perfect weather for a commencement ceremony,," said SWTJC Vice President for Student Affairs Blaine Bennett, Ph.D. "My thanks goes out to all our staff whose hard work made this year's ceremony run so smoothly. It was a great day."
A total of 784 graduates were listed in this year's commencement program, with 404 receiving the associate of arts degree in general studies, one earning the associate of arts in teaching and 17 awarded the associate of science degree. An additional 96 students earned the associate of applied science degree in a variety of technical programs and 266 students received basic certificates and certificates of completion.
SWTJC Uvalde Catholic Club president Thelma Martinez of Crystal City delivered the invocation. SWTJC instructors Paul Kimble and Diane Underwood led the singing of The National Anthem. SWTJC Del Rio Associate Vice President Derek Sandoval was master of ceremonies
Ismael Sosa, Jr., Ph.D., SWTJC president, introduced college trustees and honored guests, and SWTJC President-Elect Hector E. Gonzales, Ph.D., introduced keynote speaker Congressman Pete P. Gallego of the 23rd Congressional District of Texas.
SWTJC Vice President for Academic Affairs Mark Underwood, Ph.D., recognized honors graduates and outstanding students from individual programs.
Underwood recognized associate degree recipients Carolina Alexander and Daniela Y. Ortiz of Eagle Pass, George Melchor, Jr., of Uvalde and Mark D. Scheller of Del Rio for maintaining perfect 4.0 grade point average (GPA) in earning their degree.
Certificate recipients recognized for a perfect 4.0 grade point average include: Jacob Castillo and Joshua Castillo, Del Rio; Sylvia M. Covarrubias and Juan X. Gomez, Eagle Pass; and San Juanita Castillo, Quemado.
Summa cum laude (3.9 to 4.0 GPA) honor graduates from Uvalde include Sanette N. Bermudez and George S. Melchor, Jr., both of Uvalde.
Students from Eagle Pass earning summa cum laude recognition were Carolina Alexander, Samantha D. Alfaro, Karla A. Fuantos, Anabel Garcia, Luis A. Martinez and Daniel Y. Ortiz. Del Rio student Mark Sheller was also a summa cum laude honoree.
Magna cum laude honor graduates (3.7 to 3.899 GPA) from Uvalde include John R. Dabbs, Melodie A. Hocker, Jessica E. James, Juan A. Longoria, Jr., Rachel M. Richter and Humberto Torres, Jr.
Uvalde area magna cum laude graduates were Diane L. Snavely of Crystal City, Robertjos B. Castillo and Juan B. Lara of La Pryor, Carolyne Fowler of Hondo, Melissa J. Felder of Utopia, Shauwna Mason of Batesville and Beth Ann Wojtkowiak of Knippa.
Del Rio students graduating magna cum laude were Azayra V. Campos de Cardenas, Gilberto Castillo, Janet Martinez, Alfonso D. Tavaris and Elaine S. Byrd of Laughlin Air Force Base.
Earning magna cum laude honors from Eagle Pass were Veronica K. Duenes, Ana Lopez Jose A. Ramos and Ashley N. Sifuentes.
Cum laude honor graduates (3.6 to 3.699 GPA) from Uvalde were Cristian Sandoval, Ramon Saenz, Jennifer Vasquez and Erica D. Velez. Uvalde area cum laude honorees were Hannah M. Hocker of Leakey and Sierra K. Jackson of Sabinal.
Eagle Pass area cum laude honorees were Mayra A. Chavarria, Veronica B. Garcia, Prabavathy Kannan, Brianna I. Mendez and Gustavo R. Salas, all of Eagle Pass, and Marcela V. Crispin of Quemado.
Del Rio students graduating cum laude were Betzabe G. Encinas, Ana Leticia G. Hernandez and Crystal L. Ochoa, as well as Brittany Weatherby of Laughlin Air Force Base.
Outstanding students in various technical programs were also recognized including: Deyanira Logo of Del Rio and Anabel Garcia of Eagle Pass, Administrative Information Technology; Michael A. Juarez of Crystal City, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Technology; Jacob Castillo of Del Rio, Automotive Body Repair Technology; Moises R. Vasquez of Batesville, Automotive Technology; San Juanita Castillo of Eagle Pass and Cecilia Rivera of Uvalde, Child Development; Wendy A. Lopez of Eagle Pass, Computer Information Systems; Sylvia M. Covarrubias of Eagle Pass, Cosmetology; Sarita Y. De Leon of Uvalde, Criminal Justice; and Juan B. Lara of La Pryor, Diesel Technology.
Other outstanding technical program students were: Eunice R. Palacios of Del Rio and Laurel Honer of Hondo, Management; Clarissa D. Steck of Del Rio, Radiologic Technology; Emily Smergut of Del Rio, Registered Nursing; Rosie M. Burke of Del Rio, Rupal Vallabhbhai of Eagle Pass and Raul de Jesus Valdez of Uvalde, Vocational Nursing; Erik J. Longoria of Crystal City, Welding Technology; and Ramon Saenz, III, of Uvalde, Wildlife Management.
The Uvalde American Legion Post #26 Distinguished Achievement Award was presented by Underwood to Jose Guadalupe De La Cruz, III, of Uvalde and Hannah N. Ellis of Gulfport.
SWTJC trustees including Maria Elena Lara, Dr. Harry O. Watkins and Rodolfo R. Flores of Uvalde, Victor Lopez and Dr. Antonio H. Rivera of Crystal City, and Anita Shackelford of Leakey, all took part in the presentation of degrees and certificates.
Jason Schlichting of Uvalde provided music for the prelude, processional and recessional.
Following the ceremony, graduates and their families attended a reception hosted by the college in the Matthews Student Center on the SWTJC Uvalde main campus. Mariachi Los Vaqueros de SWTJC provided musical entertainment at the reception.
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