‘Onward Without Fear’
STC graduates 3,300-plus during spring commencement exercises
South Texas College conferred an estimated 3,300 degrees for spring 2021. STC conducted its commencement virtually, but for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the college introduced new live features that kicked off commencement exercises ahead of graduation on May 15.
Success in college has come through an unflinching motivation to succeed, and by being surrounded by positive people, according to Gabriel Gomez.
Among the thousands of graduates receiving their degrees from South Texas College May 15, Gomez said he made it a personal philosophy to never make or accept excuses for why he couldn’t achieve success.
As a hearing-impaired student in the Architectural & Civil Engineering Technology program (AEDT) at STC, Gomez said he has worked hard to overcome his challenges.
Along with his Associate degree in Architectural and Civil Engineering, Gomez said his dedication also enabled him to receive cooperative education hours at Halff Associates, Inc. as a civil drafting technician, and possibly a future career as a CAD Technician.
“I am a first-generation college student and STC gave me a sense of comfort,” Gomez said. “I felt at home, and people around me were very welcoming and made my transition from high school to college easier with the resources and support services offered.”
More than 3,300 degrees were conferred from STC divisions including the Division of Business, Public Safety and Technology; Liberal Arts; Math, Science, Information Technology and Bachelor Programs; Nursing and Allied Health; and Social and Behavioral Sciences.
STC graduated 1,644 dual credit students who earned their associate degree and certificate while still in high school.
STC conducted its commencement virtually, but for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the college introduced new live features that kicked off commencement exercises ahead of graduation on May 15.
A live ceremony broadcast aired graduation morning, designed to reflect the college’s traditional in-person commencement.
The event consisted of a processional, followed by a live address by interim STC president Dr. David Plummer as well as video segments from deans and faculty. Dr. Plummer pronounced the graduates and led the traditional turning of the tassels during the live broadcast.
To you graduates, you have earned every right to feel proud in your accomplishments, and beyond the career or path you have chosen, your job will be to redefine this world, and to make it a place absent of judgement, to make it a place where the journey is without hate and where everyone is valued. This my challenge to you. It’s impossible to live without falling, but go onward without fear.”
“On behalf of our faculty, staff, administration, and Board of Trustees we extend a sincere congratulations to our graduating class of 2021 for your hard work, dedication, and perseverance during the challenging times we have faced,” Dr. Plummer said during his speech to students. “You are to be commended for rising above the adversity faced during your educational journey.
“You found a way and managed to continue to pursue and fulfill your dreams, and if that was not enough, all of you endured a pandemic while successfully transitioning to new educational platforms and adherence to social restrictions,” he said. “Despite the unprecedented times faced, today we celebrate and honor you, our graduates, as well as your parents, families, spouses, children and friends.”
Students were asked in April to begin submitting personal messages and photos, which were then put on a web slide printed with the student’s name, degree, field of study, and honors. STC also shared social media videos of faculty congratulating graduates leading up to the virtual ceremony.
“Change can be frightening, but like you, we on the Board are faced with the responsibility of moral resolve, and there is a deep appreciation for your trust as we navigate the beginning of a new chapter in our college history,” said Board Chair Rose Benavidez, acknowledging the first graduation without former President Dr. Shirley A. Reed. “Today this is about you and the history you are making…to you graduates you have earned every right to feel proud in your accomplishments, and beyond the career or path you have chosen, your job will be to redefine this world, and to make it a place absent of judgement, to make it a place where the journey is without hate and where everyone is valued.
“This my challenge to you,” Benavidez said. “It’s impossible to live without falling, but go onward without fear.”