Graduates from the Island University’s Five Colleges Receive Diplomas at Commencement

May 17, 2014

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – More than 950 students, representing Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s five colleges, received their diplomas during the Spring 2014 commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 17 at the American Bank Center arena.

The first ceremony, which included the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science and Engineering, was at 10 a.m.

During this ceremony, business leader and philanthropist Bernard Paulson received an honorary doctorate of humane letters for his vision of and dedication to establishing an engineering program to A&M-Corpus Christi.

The second ceremony, which included the College of Business, the College of Education, and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, was at 2 p.m.

The graduates include:

  • Petty Officer Dustin Smith, who will join the U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School in the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Collegiate Program. Smith completed exams and interviews that normally take six months in only three months. He is expected to be working on state-of-the art projects as an Engineering Duty Officer in six years.
  • Alyssa and Trenton Dawson and Ashley Garza and Marcos Garcia, two married couples all accepted to dental school to continue the passion they nurtured at the Island University.
  • U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Matt Johnson, who attended the Island University through the Green to Gold Program of the Army, spent at least 8 hours a week in ROTC, carried 12 to 15 credit hours each semester, and is raising 14-month old twins with his wife, Autumn.  Johnson will continue in the Army, training for the next four months in Fort Gordon in Georgia and then on to Fort Carson in Colorado, the first station in his three-year commitment.
  • Myra Barrera, a first-generation college student from Freer who volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate to represent and advocate for the best interests of a youth placed in the child protection system because of abuse or neglect. 
  • The first group of First-Year Islanders, a program that builds a foundation for a successful University career with special opportunities to students during their first year. First-Year Islanders are wearing a special medallion they received at Convocation in 2010.

The commencement keynote speaker was Karen Urban, President of the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Foundation.

Urban has a background in education, and a commitment to the Corpus Christi community. She was a faculty member and dean for a dental hygiene school, and currently serves on various boards in the Coastal Bend including the Christus Spohn Health System Board, the Art Museum of South Texas, Clowns Who Care, Coastal Bend Community Foundation and the Advisory Board of American Bank. She was recently named as the public representative of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.