New Graduates Join Ranks of 50,000+ Islander Alumni

Published: August 03, 2018

New Graduates Join Ranks of 50,000+ Islander Alumni
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – “There will be many opportunities for you to chase your dreams. Push forward, no matter what obstacles you may face. After all, it’s not about how many times you fall but how many times you get back up."
These words, shared by Ed Cantu `81, echoed through the American Bank Center on Aug. 4, as more than 530 Islander students graduated from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Cantu, Islander alumnus, immediate past president of the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi National Alumni Association, and chair-elect of the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Athletic Fund, was invited back to his Alma Mater to usher the summer 2018 graduating class into the next stage of their journey.
"Have dreams, yet more importantly, have goals,” Cantu said. “What’s the difference? A dream exists only in your mind, while a goal is a written plan with determined deadlines. Focus on your goals, work hard, work smart, and your dreams will come true.”

One graduate with big goals is Dr. Amy Thornberry, who is part of the first cohort of Islanders to graduate with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). During her time as a doctoral student, Thornberry utilized nursing theory and research to develop a pilot project that influenced more than a dozen of her co-workers at a local refinery to quit smoking.

“DNPs take research and apply it to real-word situations, and from what I can see, it’s working,” said Thornberry. “I’m excited that my smoking cessation project has been successful, and I want to disseminate it to other industries.”

Jeremiah Watson, Aransas Pass native and military veteran, also walked the stage while looking forward to the newest chapter of his life. He thanks his wife and three children for his motivation for graduating.

“My dream job is to work in theoretical or computational neuroscience,” said Watson, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a minor in philosophy.

Raed Alsodani is an international student from Saudi Arabia who learned about A&M-Corpus Christi from an online search.

 “The environment was the main reason I came here,” said Alsodani, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science – Clinical Laboratory Science. “I love the beach!”

Alsodani was the president of the International Student Organization during his time at A&M-Corpus Christi and he considers many of his fellow students his adopted family.

“Unfortunately, my family from back home wasn’t able to come to the ceremony today, but my two best friends that I met in Corpus Christi brought their families,” said Alsodani, who hopes to return to the Island University for a master’s degree in chemistry.

“My ultimate goal is to go to medical school and become a pathologist,” said the Cum Laude graduate.

In his final words to graduates, commencement speaker Cantu encouraged the group to stay connected to the University, which has an alumni base of more than 50,000.

I urge you to apply the knowledge you gained at this University to make a difference in your life and make a positive Islander Impact in the lives of others,” said Cantu. “Your life is about to change. Embrace the change and know that you are ready. You are, and always will be, an Islander Forever.”