A total of 785 graduates are expected to march in four commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 14 at The University of Texas-Pan American Fieldhouse.
The ceremony for graduates from the College of Arts and Humanities and the College of Health Science and Human Services is scheduled for 9 a.m., while graduates from the College of Education march at noon.
Graduates from the College of Business Administration and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences will have their commencement ceremony at 3 p.m., and at 6 p.m. students in the College of Science and Engineering and those receiving their doctoral and master's degrees will walk.
Four keynote speakers have been confirmed to speak at the graduation: Dr. Teresa Lozano Long, educator and philanthropist; Coleman Peterson, executive vice president Wal-Mart People Division; Cayetano E. Barrera, a local medical doctor and active community member; and Dr. Jose A. Pagan, UTPA assistant professor of Economics and Finance and director of the UTPA Center for Border Economic Studies (CBEST).
Long - who was the first Hispanic woman to receive a Doctor of Education from the University of Texas - has been a strong supporter of social agencies, colleges and universities and the cultural arts.
As a well-educated Hispanic woman, Long has had her share of firsts. At the Texas Education Agency, she was the first Hispanic woman to work as a research assistant and as a consultant in implementing the Title I Program in Texas, and the first Hispanic woman to be appointed by a U.S. president to the National Council on the Arts (National Endowment for the Arts).
She played a major role in the construction of a new performing arts center in Austin and the University of Texas Institute for Latin American Studies, which was named after her.
Long has held a number of distinguished positions including consultant for the U.S. Office of Education on Migrant Education and Head Start Program, research associate on the Staff of the Governor's Committee on Public School Education and consultant in the Review Section of the Division of Compensatory Education of the Texas Education Agency.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree from UT Austin in 1948, a Master of Education in 1951 and a Doctor of Education in 1965. Meanwhile, Peterson grew up in a Westside Chicago housing project and spent his summers in Alabama on his grandparents' farm.
He studied industrial relations as an undergraduate student at Loyola University. After receiving his bachelor's degree, Peterson went on to earn his master's degree in the same field.
Since Peterson began working for Wal-Mart, the company has increased in domestic and worldwide workforce by nearly 500,000 associates, making it the largest private-sector workforce in the world.
He has received several awards and honors including the SHRM Professional Excellence Award in 1998 and the Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources in 1996.
Barrera - who is originally from Mission - has practiced family medicine in the Valley for 34 years. He attended Baylor University and received a bachelor's degree in chemistry with a minor in biology.
He then attended Southwestern Medical School where received his medical degree in 1963. Barrera interned at the Sacramento County Hospital in Sacramento, Calif. and his family practice residency at the Stanislaus County Hospital in Modesto, Calif.
Barrera was drafted to the U.S. Army in 1966 and served in the First Infantry Division in Vietnam where he was part of the 12th Evacuation Hospital and worked in the seventh M.A.S.H. hospital.
Barrera has served on several boards, including the Rio Grande Valley Historical Collection at UTPA; Hidalgo-Starr Medical Society; McAllen International Museum; and the Rio Grande Boy Scout Council. He is currently chairman of the Rio National Bank Board of Directors.
Pagan has been actively involved with UT Pan American since 1995 as a professor, and recently as director of CBEST, a research program designed to conduct policy-oriented research in four areas: regional economic development and trade; the labor market and immigration; health and environmental policy; and information technology.
Fulbright Scholar, Pagan's extensive experience in economic research has led him to work for distinguished corporations and universities. Pagan has worked for the Centro de Investigaciones Economicas, Facultad de Economia, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, The World Bank and the U.S. Navy Personnel Research and Development Center.
His research has been published in several prestigious journals and magazines. Among these publications are Industrial Relations, Economic Inquiry, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences and the Social Science Quarterly.
Pagan received his doctoral degree in economics from The University of New Mexico; a master's degree in economics and a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Ohio State University.
For more information on graduation ceremonies, contact the Office of Admissions and Records at 956/381-2206. Individuals with disabilities needing assistance or reasonable accommodations must contact the office as soon as possible and graduates are to arrive one hour before their commencement begins.