UTPA to hold four commencement ceremonies Dec. 18
By Brig Lopez III, Informational Writer II
Posted: 02/14/2000
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EDINBURG - Twelve hundred graduates are eligible to march in one of four commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 18, at The University of Texas-Pan American Fieldhouse.

The ceremony for the College of Arts and Humanities, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and College of Health Sciences and 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. All doctoral and masters graduates will march at 6 p.m.

Two speakers are scheduled to address the graduates. Pedro Ruiz Garza, regional director for the Southwest Region of the Economic Development Administration (EDA), U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to speak at the 9 a.m. and at the noon events, and Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, state representative for the 15th Congressional District, is scheduled to speak at the 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. graduation ceremonies.

As regional director, Garza oversees all infrastructure development, capacity building and economic adjustment assistance in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Earlier in EDA, Garza served as deputy assistant secretary for program operations. During this time, he accompanied the late Secretary Ronald H. Brown on a Presidential Trade Mission to South America and participated in the 1995 Summit of the Americas.

Garza received a Presidential appointment to the National Commission on Employment Policy, and has been a Board Member of the National Alliance of Business, Jobs for America’s Graduates, the National Hispanic Council on Employment Policy, and a member of the Advisory Commission on Vocational Education for the National Academy of Sciences.

Garza graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelors of Arts degree. A distinguished military graduate, Garza graduated with the highest academic standing the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Class of ’67.

Congressman Hinojosa was first elected to represent Texas’ 15th Congressional District in November 1996. Several of the communities in the South Texas/Rio Grande Valley district include: Alice, Beeville, Edinburg, Falfurrias, Goliad, Ingleside, Mercedes, McAllen, Mission, Pharr, Sinton, and Weslaco.

Prior to his election to the 105th Congress, Hinojosa served twenty years as President and Chief Financial Officer of a family-owned food processing company, H&H Foods.

The Congressman serves on two House committees: Education and the Workforce and Small Business. As member of the House Small Business Committee, Congressman Hinojosa has been very active on the Tax, finance and Exports subcommittee as well as the subcommittee on Government Programs and Oversight.

Born in Edcouch, Congressman Hinojosa attended Mercedes High School and earned a BBA and an MBA from the University of Texas in Austin.

A reception honoring the graduates will be held after each ceremony at the UTPA Sun Dial.