Michelle Garcia didn't have to travel far to receive an excellent education.
Garcia - who will graduate from The University of Texas-Pan American on Saturday, May 11 with a bachelor's degree in biology - said while some of her high school friends moved away from the Rio Grande Valley to attend college, she decided to stay close to home because she knew she would be well prepared to enter medical school.
"What I feel I gained (by attending UTPA) is interpersonal skills," she said. "I learned how to multitask, how to be a mentor, I learned to have a lot of patience."
During her time at UT Pan American, Garcia was involved in many extracurricular activities that allowed her to serve her community and guide new students through their college experience. She also was part of the Cancer Prevention Institute of Texas-UTPA summer research program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where she participated in research on endometriosis in the center's Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.
Garcia said she was able to develop strong ties with her professors and fellow students at UTPA and is excited for students who will be attending the new university that is forming from the unification of UTPA and The University of Texas at Brownsville.
"I like how the University is growing and becoming what I hope it will be one day," she said.
The University will award degrees to almost 1,800 students in three ceremonies at the McAllen Convention Center, 700 Convention Center Blvd., McAllen.
This spring, UTPA will graduate 330 students from the College of Health Sciences and Human Services and 342 students from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the first ceremony, scheduled for 9 a.m. Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben O. Villarreal (BS '86) will be the keynote speaker.
At the 1 p.m. ceremony, 304 students from the College of Arts and Humanities and 293 students from the College of Education are anticipated to receive their degrees. Border Capital Bank President and CEO Joe Brown (BBA '84) will be the keynote speaker.
The University will confer degrees upon 195 students from the College of Business Administration, 120 from the College of Engineering and Computer Science and 212 students from the College of Science and Mathematics at the 5 p.m. ceremony. Robert Franco Jr. (BBA '78),senior vice president of Texas Capital Bank and member of the Texas Economic Development Corporation, will be the keynote speaker.
For more information, visit the University's graduation website.