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South Texas College graduates more than 3,000 students

Addressing the thousands of graduating students at STC’s May commencement, South Texas College President Dr. Shirley A. Reed took a moment to reflect with students moving on to the next stage of their lives.

“Graduating from a college or university is an honor few receive. Many of you are the first in your family to receive a college degree.You had the dream of making this day happen, and all of us were here to support you on the long way to graduation,” STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed told graduates. “We want to let you know how proud we are of each and every one of you. We are here to honor you, the graduating class of 2017.

South Texas College conferred more than 3,000 degrees during its May 2017 commencement ceremonies, which took place on Friday and Saturday, May 12-13. In addition, STC saw it’s largest graduating class of dual credit students in its history. Nearly 800 dual credit students graduated with degrees in Liberal Arts from STC on Friday.

“We have had four commencement ceremonies, and overall for May we have had over 3,000 graduates,” said Matthew Hebbard, STC VP of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “This is why we are here. When you see the student crossing the stage and shaking Dr. Reed’s hand, it reflects what we do here at the college. When we get up in the morning, this is what keeps us motivated to keep helping students complete their degrees.”

STC awarded 147 Bachelor’s degrees, 2,292 Associate degrees, and 1,117 Certificates during its four commencement ceremonies. The college is one of the only two-year institutions in the nation to offer Bachelor’s degrees to students.
Faces in the crowd
Adrian Silva, a student from Hidalgo High School graduated with an Associate of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. Silva, who began taking college classes as a freshman in high school, says he will be continuing his education at the University of Texas in Austin in pursuit of a pre-law degree.

“The learning curve may have been a bit rough, but you get used to the process. The experience has been fun and STC makes the process very accessible,” Silva said about receiving his degree while still in high school. “This whole system benefits everyone who goes through it, and it’s really a unique opportunity, especially in our area and our education level. This has really been a step up, and it has really helped us.”

A wife and mother of two, Leticia Burgos graduated with honors after being out of school for more than 20 years. She shares that her journey was a little discouraging because of language barriers, however with the support from her husband and the drive to succeed, she received her Associates degree in Secondary Education.

“For me it wasn’t easy. There were countless times that i needed help,” Leticia said. “Today I stand with emotions that I can’t even describe. I feel great. For me it’s awesome to say that this is the day I was waiting for the last 2 years. I’m getting my Associates and this is something to be proud of.”

Humberto Zuniga believes that architecture runs in his blood. A migrant student, Zuniga graduated from Donna High School in 2011 and then enrolled at the former University of Texas – Pan American to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering and after a year changed his degree to Rehabilitation Services.

Recalling his early years when he tagged along with his father at his architectural firm in Mexico before he suddenly passed away, Zuniga says how that would shape his future career choice.He graduated with an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Architectural Engineering and Design Technology.

“My father Juan Zuniga was an architect in Mexico. I remember going to job sites and looking at all the drawings he had done for his company but when I was 6 years old, he passed away,” Humberto said.

“I guess I always had a mind for architecture and understood it well because it runs in my blood,” he said. “Now that I am here I see the life my mom saw for me. I overcame so much in my life and I didn’t even realize it because I blocked all those bad memories. All those unfortunate events led me to this day. I have worked hard my entire life and had to face struggles day in and day out. My dad had a plan for me and my family, and now it is time for me to finish was he started. I will continue my education and make my mother proud and show her that everything she did for me was not in vain.”

STC offers more than 119 degree and certificate program options in a variety of liberal art, social science, business, math, science, technology, advanced manufacturing and nursing and allied health fields of study. With more than 150 agreements with colleges and universities across the nation, transfer opportunities for students who wish to continue their education beyond STC’s offerings are also available.

For more information regarding South Texas College, including registration for summer and fall 2017, visit or call 956.872.8311.


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