COLLEGE STATION, May 7, 2013 – More than 7,100 Texas A&M University students are scheduled to receive diplomas in ceremonies beginning Thursday and continuing through Saturday – which would result in another record graduating class for the state’s first public institution of higher education.
The expected record number of graduates includes more than 1,400 receiving master’s or doctoral degrees and 129 receiving Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees.
Additionally, approximately 275 students are scheduled to receive degrees at Texas A&M’s branch campuses, including an estimated 191 at Texas A&M University at Galveston and 87 at Texas A&M University at Qatar.
Activities begin at 2 p.m. Thursday with the veterinarians receiving their degrees in Rudder Auditorium following an address by R. H. (Steve) Stevens, Jr., a 1962 Texas A&M graduate and former member of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, who serves as chairman of the board of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Earlier this year, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus, the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of the university.
Commencement convocation, featuring an address by Congressman William H. “Bill” Flores, will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, also in Rudder Auditorium. Commencement convocation is a relatively new Texas A&M tradition in which all members of a graduating class have the opportunity to assemble together, along with family members and friends in an informal setting.
Cong. Flores is a 1976 Texas A&M graduate who has a long history of support for and service to his alma mater, including a term as chairman of the board of The Association of Former Students.
“Congressman Flores honors us by addressing our spring graduates, their families and their friends, and I am confident that he will bring an engaging message that will be both informative and inspirational,” Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin said in announcing the commencement convocation speaker. “I know he has a great story to tell because of his days as a student at Texas A&M, followed by a successful career in the private sector and his current service as a distinguished U.S. Congressman representing the 17th District of Texas.”
Full biographical information about Cong. Flores can be viewed at http://flores.house.gov/about-bill/.
Commencement convocation, graduation exercises and the commissioning ceremonies are open to the public, university officials noted.
To accommodate all of the degree candidates and their families and friends, the university has arranged for an additional commencement ceremony—bringing the total to six—with the degree candidates set to receive their degrees in a schedule aligned by the academic colleges with which they are affiliated.
Those ceremonies will be held Friday and Saturday at Reed Arena, with three each day: at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. A listing of colleges that will be included in each ceremony can be viewed at http://graduation.tamu.edu/ceremon.html.
Additionally, two honorary doctoral degrees will be awarded. The recipients are Robert G. Bergman, an internationally acclaimed chemistry professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and Adrian Smith, the architect who designed the world’s tallest building and is a former Texas A&M student. They will receive their honorary doctorate when the ceremonies are held for the colleges from which their nominations originated. Such honorary degrees are conferred only after concurrence by the administration, the Faculty Senate and The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
Commissioning ceremonies for an estimated 80 graduating members of the Corps of Cadets who will be entering one of the four branches of the armed services will be held in conjunction with the 7 p.m. commencement exercises Friday.
Continuing a tradition initiated last year in acknowledgment of the university’s commitment to honoring veterans, all graduates who have prior military service will be given be given special commemorative red, white and blue cords are invited to wear them as part of their academic regalia. Their cords will be available at a reception for all active duty and veteran Aggies on Wednesday (May 8) from 3:30 to 6 p.m. in the Stark Galleries on the first floor of the MSC.
Texas A&M’s top student awards for graduating seniors—the Brown Foundation-Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student Award and the Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award—will be presented during the ceremonies at which the recipients receive their diplomas. Identities of the three students will not be revealed until their names are announced and they are invited to come forward to receive their citations and cash awards.
The two recipients of Texas A&M’s 2013 Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award, Dr. Lawrence S. Brown of the College of Science and Dr. Helen Reed of the Dwight Look College of Engineering, will be formally introduced their college’s commencement exercises. It is the most prestigious faculty honor bestowed by the university and includes a $25,000 stipend to each winner and the lifetime title of “Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence.”
The Inspiration Award for Exceptional Secondary Education will be presented to Chad Cryer, a history teacher at Bryan High School, and John Williams, who teaches government at Fort Bend Christian Academy in Sugar Land, at the Friday morning ceremonies. Recipients of the award, believed to be the only one of its type given by a public university in Texas, are selected on the basis of the best nominations submitted by graduating seniors whose lives were impacted by the teachers they nominated. Recipients of the award are given the opportunity to present the diplomas to the students who nominated them. They also receive personal stipends and cash awards for their schools. Both students will be receiving their degrees from the College of Liberal Arts.
The Association of Former Students will continue its “Next Tradition” program in which it offers new graduates a “drive-thru” opportunity to have representative decals placed on their vehicles and, joined by family members, attend come-and-go open houses at the Clayton Williams Jr. Alumni Center. The “drive thru” will be held from 1-5 p.m. Thursday and the open houses will be held from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.