SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — Service to the community best describes the keynote speakers for Southwest Texas State University’s May 12 undergraduate commencement ceremonies, with both the morning and afternoon speakers having dedicated much of their careers to serving others.
Margaret E. Dunn, a 1999 Distinguished Alumna of SWT, will speak at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 12, at Strahan Coliseum. Dunn obtained three degrees from Southwest Texas, and then devoted almost her entire career to SWT, recently retiring from her positions as associate professor of curriculum and instruction and as director of the Center for Initiatives in Education. In addition to her work with SWT, Dunn’s expertise in the school dropout problem and juvenile justice has won her appointments on such distinguished committees as the U.S. Department of Education School Dropout Demonstration Assistance Program, the advisory panel for the National Evaluation Dropout Demonstration Assistance Program and the Texas Governor’s Juvenile Justice Task Force.
The 2:30 p.m. ceremony at Strahan Coliseum will feature Richard Tankerson as the keynote speaker. Tankerson is immediate past president of the Board of Directors of the Carver Academy, a project of the David Robinson Foundation. Presently, he is the project manager for construction of the Carver Academy’s pre-K through eighth grade school in San Antonio. Additionally, he serves as president and CEO of an affordable housing development enterprise known as Upward Homes. Tankerson has also served the African Methodist Church as pastor for 25 years and has been elected to numerous boards and commissions.
Degree candidates from the colleges of Education, Fine Arts and Communication, and Science will participate in the morning ceremony. Candidates from the colleges of Applied Arts, Business Administration and Health Professions will participate in the afternoon ceremony.
The student speaker for the morning ceremony is Trish Bode of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. The student speaker for the afternoon ceremony is Tamey Williams of the College of Health Professions.
During the afternoon ceremony, Eric Sean Weaver will be presented the Lyndon Baines Johnson Outstanding Senior Student Award. The SWT Alumni Association presents the award annually. Weaver, who graduated SWT in August 2000, received a bachelor of science degree with a major in clinical laboratory science. He plans to attend medical school to become a general practitioner.
The morning ceremony will host Lafy Stephens, the Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award winner. Stephens, a Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte Scholar, will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology and minor in chemistry.
Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, author and the Ellen Clayton Garwood Professor in Creative Writing in the Department of English at the University of Texas at Austin, will be the keynote speaker at the 7 p.m. College of Liberal Arts undergraduate and Graduate College commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11, in Strahan Coliseum.
Hinojosa-Smith is the author of 14 novels, as well as numerous short stories and essays. His first novel, Estampas del Valle, earned him the coveted Latin literature award, Quinto Sol Prize for Best Novel. His second novel, Klail City y Sus Alrededores, earned him the Casa de las AmZ�ricas Prize for Best Novel. He is probably best known for the Klail City series of novels based on or around a mythical city in South Texas.
There are 1680 students who are candidates for bachelor’s degrees this spring and 376 candidates for master’s.