Godines Receives First Music Degree in TAMIU's History

Two years ago, Ramón Godines, (photo) who had concluded two years of music study in guitar at Laredo Community College, was ready to transfer out of Laredo to continue his education.

But today, Godines, 28, is still here. On Friday, May 9, he will proudly walk the graduation isle as the very first student to receive a Bachelor of Music degree from Texas A&M International University.

"I'm pretty excited," Godines said, referring to his academic accomplishment, "My plans are to hopefully get into teaching at a local school."

Godines said that at the end of his initial two years of study, he had choices to attend many universities outside of the city.

But he said he stayed in Laredo because his teacher, Dr. Gilberto Soto, also chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, told him TAMIU would soon offer music degrees.

TAMIU currently offers the bachelor of arts in music, bachelor of music and bachelor of music with all-level certification.

"At that time, my wife and I were having a baby and we were buying a house already," Godines explained, "My wife is a kindergarten teacher here and if I were to go out of town, that would have meant staying far away from my family, and I didn't want to do that."

Godines, who in April presented the first senior recital in the University's 30-year history, said he is glad his hometown University offers undergraduate degrees for music students who wish to pursue their academic dreams in Laredo and South Texas.

"I think it's really great for people who don't want to go out of town. It's a nice opportunity for them, plus, there is a great need for music educators in town," Godines said, "It's a great way to keep music instructors in Laredo."

Students following Godines' footsteps will soon enjoy classes in the $21.5- million plus Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, schedule to welcome students this Fall.

For further information about music programs at TAMIU, please contact Dr. Soto in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, at 326-2649, e-mail gsoto@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in Pellegrino Hall, 215 B.

University office hours for the Spring semester are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Effective May 15, office hours will be 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The University will be closed on Fridays.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu