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Retiring president speaks to graduates at SWT spring commencement

Date of release: 04/29/02

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS More than 2,000 students are expected to cross the stage at Strahan Coliseum during Southwest Texas State University’s May commencement ceremonies.

The Friday, May 10, ceremony will see degree candidates from the College of Liberal Arts undergraduate and Graduate College participate in the evening commencement ceremony beginning at 7 p.m. in Strahan Coliseum.

The first Saturday, May 11, ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. and will include candidates from the Colleges of Applied Arts, Business Administration, and Science.

Candidates from the Colleges of Education, Fine Arts & Communication, and Health Professions will participate in the Saturday afternoon ceremony at 2 p.m.

Andrew Russ, graduating from the College of Business Administration, will offer comments at the Saturday morning ceremony. Russ is also the recipient of the LBJ Outstanding Senior Award. Ryan Sprott, graduating from the College of Liberal Arts, will offer comments at the afternoon ceremony.

During the Saturday morning ceremony, Miriam Mustaffa will be presented the Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award. Mustaffa will receive a bachelor’s degree with a major in both criminal justice and Spanish and minor in psychology. The Beretta award is given to a graduating senior female for excellence in leadership, scholarship, character, potential and loyalty.

There are 1,649 candidates at SWT for bachelor’s degrees this spring and 376 candidates for graduate degrees.

President of SWT, Jerome Supple, will address the students at each of the three ceremonies this May. Supple is retiring at the end of August 2002.

“It will be like swinging the best dance partner ever into the arms of another, a heart-wrenching experience,” Supple said when announcing his retirement last year.

For Supple and for SWT, it has been a remarkable dance, indeed.

During Supple’s presidency, SWT has raised admission standards, improved student retention, established several new enrollment records, begun offering its first doctoral programs, successfully completed the university’s first major gifts capital campaign and increased the amount of research funding.

Supple began his dance with the SWT community in 1989. He came from the State University of New York System, where he had progressed through the academic ranks from chemistry faculty member to acting president, serving at campuses in Plattsburgh, Fredonia and Potsdam. He holds degrees from Boston College and the University of New Hampshire and served a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley.