Congratulations Islanders! Class of Fall 2019 Graduates Walk the Stage


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – With a 16 percent increase over last year, 1,027 Islanders walked the stage at the American Bank Center in downtown Corpus Christi during the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Fall 2019 Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 14. This largest graduating fall class in the University’s history joins the ranks of nearly 50,000 Islander alumni.

Excitement filled the room as Islander graduates, dressed in black gowns and caps, followed a procession of faculty members who had mentored their growth during their time at the University. Cheers from family, friends, and loved ones echoed as students took their seats to eagerly await the conferral of degrees. Dr. Kelly Miller Quintanilla, President of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, addressed the graduating students with warmth and encouragement.

“Each of you has proven you are a leader. And you are the future, the future of this University, this state, this nation, and this world,” Miller Quintanilla said. “No matter where life may take you, no matter what level of success you achieve, never forget, you are an Islander forever.” 

 For Hanna Beth Patton-Elliott, graduation is the culmination of a higher education goal that began 18 years ago. After years of juggling family and work responsibilities so that she could attend classes on a part-time basis, Patton-Elliott has earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies summa cum laude.

“After I had my first son, I started pursuing my degree at the university, then I found out a short time later I was due with my second son,” Patton-Elliott said. “Ever since then, I’ve been attending school part time until three years ago when I was finally able to manage going back to school full time. So four kids and lots of jobs later, I’m now a second grade teacher at Montclair Elementary School, and today I am graduating.”

Ashley Ventura, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, said her family experienced several major hardships along the way so graduation is an especially poignant moment.

“Today means everything to me and my family, especially my parents. They sacrificed so much for me to get here and for this day to even be possible,” Ventura said. “We lost our home to Hurricane Harvey back in 2017 – so it means a lot to be here today because there were so many times I thought it wasn’t going to be possible but everything that happened just pushed me to try even harder.”

Jontre Vean recalled long semesters in the classroom during a four-year journey that culminated in earning a Bachelor of Arts in Music.

“I’ve been through many semesters with countless hours in class, never taking less than 17 hours a semester in my four years. It’s been a lot – some semesters, I even took 22 hours,” Vean said. “But everything I’ve done at the University, I’ve done to enable myself to help teach my future music students that they can develop their own character and grow in their own way through music.”

At 72, Hilda Gomez said she’s accomplished a great deal in her life. However, she never stopped yearning to earn a college degree – and now she has one: a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences.

“I have held many jobs, but all with low pay and lots of hours because I was missing my diploma,” said Gomez. “I was supposed to graduate last semester but had an aneurysm. I was able to overcome that, work hard, and come back to school and now walk the stage. Anytime I come across a young person, I always tell them keep going to school because it’s with your degree that you’ll go far. “

Paulette Guajardo, Corpus Christi City Council Member at-Large, served as the fall 2019 commencement speaker. Guajardo, an Islander alumna herself, graduated from the Island University in 2000.

“In the end, your success will all be measured by what you leave on this earth. How will you inspire, shape, and formulate your world?” Guajardo asked the graduates before adding: “The degree in your hands is an entree to your future success. Your future is still unwritten. Be bold, be strong, be fierce, be tenacious, be inquisitive, be kind, and most importantly, be inclusive and have the time of your life.”

Fall 2019 Commencement 10 a.m. Ceremony

Tune in to our live stream of the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Fall 2019 Commencement ceremony being held at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX on December 14, 2019 starting at 10 a.m.

Fall 2019 Commencement 2:00 p.m. Ceremony

View the live stream replay of the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Fall 2019 commencement ceremony held December 14, 2019 at the American Bank Center.