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Graduation Dreams

By Judith Mae Aguilar
On June 11, 2014

Photo Credit: Judith Mae Aguilar

The day, May 17th, had finally come — Graduation Day for the students of Texas A&M International University. It was with excitement and enthusiasm that those students stepped into the Kinesiology-Convocation Building (KCB) to the end of their educational journey.

            This year, a total of 583 graduates walked the stage during the three ceremonies that were spaced out throughout the day. The College of Arts & Sciences started off the day at 8:30 a.m., followed by the College of Arts & Sciences and Sanchez School of Business at 11:30 a.m., and concluded by the College of Education and College of Nursing & Health Science at 3:00 p.m.

             Families and friends of the graduates crowded the KCB eager to see their student obtain their bachelor, master, or doctoral degree. Then, the shining moment began as the graduates started marching into the building to “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the TAMIU Symphonic Band. Each student had an enormous smile on their face as they took their seats while family and friends shouted for joy.

             The commencement speaker for the ceremonies was Regent for the Texas A&M University system, Charles Schwartz. Dr. Ray Keck, TAMIU President, introduced Regent Schwartz as a distinguished Texas lawyer, who graduated from the University of Texas in 1977 and Harvard Law School with an Master in Law (LL.M) in 1980. His speech garnered many laughs and a few questioning faces — when he made reference to Animal House (1978) — which after the first ceremony he made certain to explain for those who may not have known of the film. All in all, his commencement speech was moving and thought provoking.

             During each ceremony, distinguished student scholars also presented moving messages to their fellow graduates. In the first ceremony, there were two speakers, Ignacio Ramon Alaniz, III, who earned a BS in Biology, Magna Cum Laude, and Ricardo Pedraza, Jr., who earned a BA in Biology with a minor in History, Summa Cum Laude. Carla Reyes, graduating with a BA in Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude, was the student speaker in the second ceremony of the day. In the last ceremony of the day, the student speakers selected were Valerie Garza, earning a BS in Communication Disorders, Magna Cum Laude, and Iris Santos, who earned a BS in Nursing, Summa Cum Laude.

             One of the most moving and memorable moments took place in the second ceremony of the day. Nathian Mambru Gomez was attending TAMIU to earn a master’s degree, unfortunately, the dream of walking down the aisle to accept a degree that many were able to fulfill that day could not be completed. Nathian Gomez died in March while pursuing his dream, but his mother, Maria de Lourdes Gomez, had the honor of accepting his Master of Entrepreneurial Studies degree that was awarded to him posthumously by TAMIU. She held the diploma high as the family and friends of Nathian shouted in joy. A fellow master’s graduate also had Nathian’s name embroidered on his own master’s hood — sharing his hood since Nathian could not wear one.

             And so, TAMIU has sent out another group of graduates out into the world with their degrees, new knowledge, and some good advice. Summarizing Regent Schwartz, dreams should be followed and reached for, but be reasonable and remember that dreams can always change and a person can always learn to adapt to those changes.


(Judith Mae Aguilar may be reached at


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