Island University Awards Over 870 Degrees to Graduates at Fall 2021 Commencement Ceremony

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Celebrating perseverance and years of hard work, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi conferred more than 870 degrees during the Fall 2021 Commencement ceremony, held Saturday, Dec. 11, at the American Bank Center in downtown Corpus Christi.

Encouraged by cheers and congratulations from family, friends, and loved ones, the ecstatic soon-to-be Islander alumni lined the stadium ready to walk the stage radiating with Islander pride.

Neiman Ward ’21, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, and says it was thanks to countless hours of hard work and a team of dedicated faculty which made his collegiate journey one to remember.

“I’ve spent so many late nights and early mornings studying and designing so that I could reach this goal,” Ward said. “Each one of my professors pushed me and made sure I gave every project 100% of my time. Even when I thought I was done, I was always pushed to go the extra mile.”

Graduating with a Master of Science in Nursing, Noah Neil Margate ‘18, ’21 reflected on how much his life has changed during his six years at the Island University. From meeting his then-girlfriend – now fiancé – in the nursing program, to studying almost everyday side-by-side in the Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Margate says he’ll never forget the challenges he endured that led him to this moment.

“My biggest thanks go to the two most important women in my life – my mother and fiancé,” Margate gushed. “Without their continuous emotional support, I would not have successfully earned my degree. Today feels blissful – there’s just no other way to describe it.”

Jorge Vargas ’21, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, says one lesson he’s taken away from his time at the Island University is to be fearless.

“It’s okay to fail and be terrible at things when you’re starting out – it’s how you learn,” Vargas said. “If I’ve learned anything, it’s to embrace your failures and shortcomings, work on them, and make a crazy good comeback.”

Vargas says while this culminating moment feels bittersweet, he is excited for the future and is currently preparing to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam in the following weeks.

“The engineering faculty were some of the most encouraging individuals I have ever come across,” Vargas said. “Without them and all of the amazing classmates I had along the way, there’s no way I could have come this far.”

Rob Hall, Group Vice President and General Manager for H-E-B’s Gulf Coast region, was tapped as this semester’s commencement speaker. Hall is a 1989 Texas A&M University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Economics. Sharing words of wisdom and experience with the cohort of graduates, Hall noted that while the road ahead may not be met with ease, it is well worth the journey.

“There will always be obstacles in your life that you will need to overcome,” Hall said. “Be learners of this life, celebrate your achievements, and have a heart for people so that you can make a difference in the lives around you.”

This fall, five Outstanding Graduates were also selected by the TAMU-CC Office of Provost for their remarkable achievements. They include:

Closing out the ceremony, University President and CEO Dr. Kelly M. Miller gave one last word of encouragement to the graduates.

“Each of you have made and will continue to make a great impact in our community,” Miller said. “Whether you are near or far, know that your Islander family will always be proud of you.”

To view a live recording of the Fall 2021 Commencement ceremony, visit