A total of 1,077 graduates are expected to march in four commencement ceremonies Saturday at The University of Texas-Pan American Fieldhouse, including the first graduates for master of science degrees in social work and criminal justice and master of business administration degrees for physicians.
The ceremony for graduates from the College of Arts and Humanities, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and College of Health Sciences and Human Services will be at 9 a.m., while graduates from the College of Education will march at noon, and graduates from the College of Business Administration and College of Science and Engineering will have their commencement at 3 p.m.
Students receiving their doctoral and master1s degrees will walk at 6 p.m. This includes the first graduates for master of science degrees in social work (13 students) and criminal justice (four students), as well as master of business administration degrees for physicians (21 students).
In addition, this commencement is the last for students receiving an associate degree in nursing. The program has been closed, with the last class admitted in fall 1998.
Three speakers are scheduled to address the four groups of graduates: Rick Diaz, KRGV-TV news anchor, will speak at the 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ceremonies; Carole Keeton Rylander, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, will speak at noon; and George Muñoz, president and chief executive officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corp., will speak at 3 p.m.
Diaz is news anchor on KRGV-TV's Eyewitness News at 6 p.m. and host of Con Mi Gente, which airs every Monday and Tuesday. He also is consultant for community television programs at UTPA.
Diaz began as a night photographer for KRGV-TV in 1967 while attending Pan American University. He was promoted to reporter and weekend news producer in 1969 and to weekend news anchor three years later.
In 1976, he was named news director for KRGV-TV and anchor of the 6 p.m. newscast. He retired as news director in 1998 but continues his duties as anchor.
Diaz has received numerous individual awards, including Journalist of the Year and the Texas School Bell Award. His news department has been recognized for Best Investigative Reporting, Best Newscast, Best News Coverage, Best Produced News Series and Best Spot News Coverage.
Rylander is the first woman in history elected Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Last year, she was the first recipient of the Friends of Texas Taxpayers Award from the Citizens for A Sound Economy, and she was recognized as one of the Texas Women of the Century by the Women's Chamber of Commerce of Texas.
Rylander began her career as a public school teacher, was elected to the Austin School Board and served as president of the Austin Community College Board of Trustees. She was on the Texas Railroad Commission and a two-term appointee to the National Petroleum Council.
She serves on the Board of Directors of the John Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University. She also is on the Advisory Council of the Texas Alliance for Math and Science.
Born in Brownsville, Muñoz has served as president and chief executive officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation since 1997. Before this position, he was chief financial officer of the U.S. Treasury Department.
Most of Muñoz's career has been in international law and business. He was a partner in the law firm of Mayer, Brown and Platt (at Chicago), and was a principal with former Senator Adlai Stevenson in an investment banking firm focused on international transactions. He also headed his own law firm concentrating in corporate and international business.
Muñoz holds four college degrees from top universities. He has a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School, a Master's in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a Master of Laws in Taxation from DePaul University and a business degree from The University of Texas at Austin. He is a licensed attorney and certified public accountant.
Introducing the speakers will be the top graduates at each ceremony. At the first commencement, the top graduate is Evelyn Gonzalez of Pharr. At the noon ceremony, it is M. Susana Reyna of Mission, and at the third ceremony, it is Rogelio Solis of San Juan and Jeffrey Pierce of Edinburg.
The 1,077 prospective candidates for degrees include five candidates for doctoral degrees, 239 candidates for master's degrees and 833 candidates for bachelor's and associate's degrees.
Graduates are asked to arrive one hour before their commencement begins. For more information, contact the Office of Admissions and Records at 956/381-2201 or 381-2206.