Record-Setting Commencement Graduates More than 1,280 Islanders

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – While some people know the term “commencement” to mean graduation, it’s also defined as a beginning or a start. May 21 signified a new beginning for 1,286 Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi graduates as they took the next step toward their future.

Dressed in the traditional cap and gown and adorned with various cords and stoles to represent their myriad accomplishments, Islanders filled the American Bank Center arena while eager friends and families gathered to cheer their loved ones on. This year’s ceremony included the largest number of graduates to walk the stage in a single semester in the university’s 75-year history.

Duncan Godell '22, who received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, was a member of the Islander Army ROTC. He also earned the title of Distinguished Military Graduate, a designation that comes from Cadet Command and is reserved for the top 20% of cadets nationwide based on a variety of factors.

“I really enjoyed all the student outreach programs and activities at the Island University. I was able to get invaluable training and education, and I made friends here that will last a lifetime,” Godell said. “It is very satisfying and exciting to know that I have accomplished a goal that took me years to achieve, and my life has only just begun.”

Godell commissioned as an officer with the United States Army on May 20 and will be attending the Armor Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Alexa Mendoza '22, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, says that being a part of the Honors Program, spending time in the Mary and Jeff Bell Library, and music were constant sources of support during her time at TAMU-CC.

“I used music to help get me through the challenges of the pandemic, and I even learned how to play the ukulele to help me unwind and relax. I also loved going to the library, especially during my favorite week, Banned Book Week,” Mendoza said. “I feel fortunate that I had the support I needed through the Honors Program, and that support allowed me to complete my Honor’s research project during my last year as an undergraduate.”

Mendoza says she plans to pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice and criminology.

Matthew Meza ‘22, who earned a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies, says that he will carry the lessons he learned at the Island University with him for a lifetime.

“My time with A&M-Corpus Christi gave me an incredible experience that will transfer over to my professional career. I grew my skills in marketing and communication through my participation in multiple organizations and internship opportunities,” Meza said. “My degree provided me with the perfect balance between creative and academic knowledge. Because of that, I know that I have the potential to be a leader in any profession I decide to pursue.”

After graduation, Meza accepted a position with the Corpus Christi City Hall as the city photographer. Meza hopes to one day become a marketing director for Starbucks or the official photographer of the President of the United States.

Mrs. Liza Wisner '04, '07 was this semester’s commencement speaker. Wisner was a finalist on NBC’s “The Apprentice” and is an expert in diversity, equity, and inclusion talent development. Through her organization,, her mission is to end “technology poverty” by bridging the digital divide. In her speech, Wisner encouraged the assembled Islander graduates to live in the present and to live B.O.L.D.

“I want you to remember that when the going gets tough and when you don’t feel like you can make it happen, showing up as the best version of yourself will make it happen,” Wisner said. “Believe in yourself every day, feed yourself positive optimizing thoughts every day, and surround yourself with the light every single day. The life of your dreams is made up of the seemingly tiny decisions that you are making daily.”

Dr. Kelly Miller, President and CEO of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, shared parting words with graduating Islanders before they embarked on the next leg of their journey.

“I would like to express my sincere congratulations,” Miller said. “Each of you has made and will continue to make a great impact on our community. Whether you are near or far, know that your Islander family is proud.”