TAMIU Schedules Spring Commencement Exercises May 14 - 15
Posted: 05/06/2010

TAMIU Spring Commencement Exercises
Scheduled Friday, Saturday May 14-15

Spring Commencement Exercises will take place Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15 at Texas A&M International University outdoors on the University’s Green.

Friday’s ceremony, at 8 p.m., will feature candidates for graduation from the University’s A. R. Sanchez, Jr. School of Business and the College of Education.

Saturday’s ceremony, beginning at 9 a.m. on the Green will include candidates for graduation from the University’s College of Arts and Sciences and College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Over 500 combined candidates are scheduled to participate in ceremonies.

Keynote speaker for Friday’s graduation will be Dr. Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, assistant secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education.

Saturday’s ceremonies will feature keynote remarks by Joe Arciniega, former technology executive and community theater advocate.

Meléndez de Santa Ana was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 24, 2009. In this position, she plays a pivotal role in policy and management issues affecting elementary and secondary education. She directs, coordinates and recommends policy for programs designed to assist state and local education agencies with improving the achievement of elementary and secondary school students. 

Prior to arriving at the Department, Meléndez served as superintendent of the Pomona Unified School District (Calif.) since 2006. During her tenure in this very diverse district serving 31,000 students, three-quarters of whom were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and 44 percent of whom were English language learners, she was directly responsible for the three highest increases in the Academic Proficiency Index in the district's history as well as the second highest gain in the API for all California school districts.

She also designed and launched a mathematics and science magnet school and a charter school for grades 7 through 12 at-risk students. She created a health sciences and an engineering academy as well as a partnership with California Polytechnic University, among other universities, to create a health career pathway.

From 2005 to 2006, Meléndez worked on district-level reform in her position as program manager at the non-profit Stupski Foundation. Her portfolio included the 23,000-student Pasadena (Calif.) School District and the 40,000-student Illinois School District U-46. She also served on the Foundation's Executive Leadership Team.

Joe Arciniega is a former technology executive for Atari and Microsoft who returned his family to Laredo after 27 years in Los Angeles and Seattle. He was Chief Operating Officer of Humongous Entertainment, a software game company, ultimately managing its sale to Atari. He followed that as President of an Internet commerce company through its IPO, and then completed his technology career as a partner-level executive with Microsoft. 

Arciniega is a Laredo theater veteran from the 1970’s, and since his return to Laredo, he has been seen in Arsenic and Old Lace, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, as “El Wiz” in The Wiz, and more recently, as Quixote/Cervantes in Man of La Mancha, which inaugurated the TAMIU Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Theatre. 
 He is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) in Los Angeles, and was a leading member of the AADA Repertory Company. He has served on various charity and business advisory boards, including audiences with government ministers in Japan and China on education issues. He has presided as a speaker for both the Hispanic and Black Congressional Caucuses in Washington D.C. on minority education, technology access for underserved minority communities, and on workplace diversity.

He is a founding member and Artistic Director of Laredo Theater Guild International and is on their Board of Directors. He is also a Board Member and on the Executive Council of the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra.

For more information, visit tamiu.edu/commencement or call the Office of the University Registrar at 326.2205.

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