Southwest Texas Junior College will hold its 72nd-annual commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18 starting at 7 p.m. at the Uvalde Honey Bowl. Graduates are requested to arrive at 5:45 p.m. in cap and gown.
According to college registrar Steve Martinez, the two ceremonies will be at 7 p.m. at the Uvalde Honey Bowl unless there is inclement weather.
In case of inclement weather, the ceremonies will take place at the Harvey Kinchlow Gym at Uvalde High School, with the John H. Harrell Auditorium as the overflow where family and friends can watch the ceremony via video.
Graduates have been mailed informational letters which include rain passes for family members.
According to Martinez, 807 graduates are scheduled to walk. That figure includes 378 for liberal arts and 429 for applied sciences.
Liberal Arts graduates are scheduled to receive their diplomas on Friday night, while Applied Sciences graduates are expected to walk on Saturday night.
Derek Sandoval, vice president of administrative services, will be serving as master of ceremonies and will introduce college trustees and administration.
SWTJC student Elizabeth Davidson of Devine will deliver the invocation during Friday night’s ceremony while Diego Marines of Uvalde will provide the invocation on Saturday night. Ruth Alcantar of Uvalde will lead the singing of the national anthem.
SWTJC President Hector Gonzales will deliver a welcome address.
SWTJC director of student engagement and success Randa Faseler Schell, Ed. D., will introduce the keynote speaker.
SWTJC alumnus Elijah Evans will deliver the keynote address on both nights.
Evans, a current graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin and a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, also holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Edward’s University and an Associate of Arts from Southwest Texas Junior College.
During his time at Southwest Texas Junior College, he served as president and parliamentarian for the Eta Beta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, head student ambassador, student representative to the Quality Enhancement Plan Implementation Committee, and lead tutor in the student success center.
He is a recipient of the Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship, named Who’s Who Among Students, and was published in the Nota Bene Literary Journal. He also worked as a mathematics instructor at Uvalde Classical Academy and served as a youth pastor and worship leader at Bread of Life Christian Fellowship.
Vice president of student services Margot Mata will present the graduating class. SWTJC board vice president Dr. Harry O. Watkins and board secretary Dr. Antonio H. Rivera will confer the degrees. Watkins will confer degrees on Friday night, while Rivera will confer on Saturday night.
SWTJC Board of Trustees President Rodolfo R. Flores and members Maria Elena Lara, Victor Lopez, Tony T. Moreno, and Anita Shackelford will be on hand to award diplomas and certificates.
Friends and family are not allowed on the field or track until the ceremony is over. There will be a small section designated with limited seating for disabled community members on the lower area of the track. Additionally, there will be expanded room for handicap parking on the south side of the Honey Bowl and main front entrance.
“We will have a photographer on hand taking photos of the graduates as they receive their diplomas,” Martinez said. “After the ceremony is over, everyone is welcome to come on the field and take additional photos.”
Each night following the ceremony, graduates and their guests are invited to a reception by the clubhouse on the south end of the field.