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TAMIU Celebrates Spring 2017 Commencement Exercise Friday Posted: 5/18/17

TAMIU Celebrates Spring 2017 Commencement Exercise Friday


Kate Rogers
Kate Rogers  

A total of 733 candidates for graduation are expected to participate in Texas A&M International University’s (TAMIU) Spring 2017 Commencement Exercise, Friday, May 19 at 4 p.m. at the Laredo Energy Arena.

This graduating class will be the largest in the University’s history and heralds a new tradition for the University: Fall and Spring Commencement Exercises will now be held at the Laredo Energy Arena. The Ceremony’s estimated duration is 2.5-3 hours.No tickets are required for entry. As no reserved seating will be available, seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

TAMIU President Dr. Pablo Arenaz said that while having ceremonies on campus has been the University’s standard, the dynamics of growth no longer make this an option.

“Friday’s graduating class is the largest in the University’s history, and we are no longer able to accommodate the Ceremony on campus in a manner that enables graduates and all their family and friends to attend and celebrate their achievement together.  While mindful of our University budget and resources, Commencement is a milestone celebration, and all who have had a role in the students’ journey must share comfortably in this celebration,” Dr. Arenaz said.

In light of the expense that Commencement exercises entail, the University will also no longer host a Summer Commencement, Arenaz noted. Summer graduates can participate in either applicable Spring or Fall Ceremony.

Friday’s Spring 2017 Commencement Speaker is Kate Rogers, executive vice president of The Holdsworth Center. The Holdsworth Center is a non-profit organization focused on impacting the quality of public education available to Texas students through transformational leadership development. Created by Charles Butt, CEO of H-E-B, it honors his mother, an educator and lifelong philanthropist.

Rogers is the former vice president of Corporate Communication and Health Promotion for H-E-B. She led the H-E-B Health and Wellness Task Force, H-E-B’s Statewide Advisory Board on Health and oversaw all internal and customer-facing initiatives related to health and wellness. Some of those initiatives included the Slim Down Showdown and H-E-B’s Nutrition Services, a program designed to educate partners, customers and the community on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition, fitness and regular health screenings.  She also created and launched the company’s early childhood literacy program, Read 3, which provides an in-store experience, a community outreach curriculum and access to free and affordable books to ensure all children begin their school experience with an opportunity to succeed. Most recently, Rogers led the development of the Centers for Applied Science (CAST) to support San Antonio students in reaching their maximum potential while also helping to fill local workforce needs.

She is a native of Corpus Christi and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in advertising/public relations from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.  She is a graduate of the Leadership Austin class of 2000 and the Leadership San Antonio class of 2005. In 2006, she was awarded Ford’s Salute to Education Award for her work creating the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards, the largest monetary awards program in the state honoring outstanding public school teachers, principals and districts. She currently serves on the Boards of the Witte Museum, the San Antonio Sports Foundation, SA Works and was the chair of the 2016 San Antonio Heart & Stroke Walk.  

The Student Respondent for the Commencement Ceremony is Jessica Aimee Villalón, graduating summa cum laude with a 3.92 GPA and a Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies with concentrations in English, history, and philosophy. Villalón has received numerous TAMIU scholarships and honors, including the Provost’s Scholarship, STARS Scholarship, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Honor Roll, and Dean’s List. She also graduates with a TAMIU Trailblazers completion, a co-curricular leadership initiative. She has served as part of the Honor Council, the TAMIU Pre-Law Association, and the TAMIU Orchestra as a violinist.

Additional Distinguished Student Scholars and their respective Colleges or Schools are Raúl Moreno Jr., representing the A. R. Sanchez, Jr. School of Business; Liabette Rodríguez-Diaz, College of Arts and Sciences, and Alexa Carolina Vásquez, College of Education.

For more information, please contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 326.2180, email or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.



Jessica Aimee Villalon

Jessica Aimee Villalón