Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Breaks Record with 1,319 Spring 2023 Graduates

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi hosted a record-breaking spring commencement ceremony as it conferred 1,319 degrees on May 20 – the most degrees earned in a single semester in the university’s history. The ceremony, held at the American Bank Center, was presided over by Dr. Kelly M. Miller, TAMU-CC President and CEO.

Islanders dressed in traditional academic regalia including cap, gown, and tassel, crossed the graduation stage at the American Bank Center to much fanfare. Many students decorated their caps with messages of achievement and gratitude, while others beamed with pride as they were draped by traditional Islander orchid leis, stoles, and honor cords. Each degree represented a personal journey that required focus, sacrifice, and discipline and symbolized the start of a new chapter in each graduate’s lives.

Rebecca DeGregorio ’23, a legacy student whose great-grandmother, grandmother, grandfather, father, and mother are all Island University alumni, received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. DeGregorio said her personal growth is evident in her evolution from a shy student to a confident graduate who is ready to manage her own classroom.

“From my first day as an Islander to now, I believe I have changed by becoming a stronger academic scholar, speaker, woman, and leader. I am more disciplined in solving challenges when they come my way,” DeGregorio said.

DeGregorio will graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

“My grandmother always told me, ‘No one can take away the education you receive.’ While attending TAMU-CC, and with the love and support of my family, I found this to be true because of how impactful my education courses have been in developing me into an educator who wants to learn continuously, be a part of the community, be innovative, and strive for teaching excellence.”

Heather Arjona ’23 earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology after overcoming numerous personal trials and tribulations. The first-generation college student and single mother earned her degree 17 years after graduating from high school thanks to her sheer grit and determination. As she finishes her degree, she reminisced on the moment she first arrived at the Island University back in 2018.

“My best memory as an Islander was traveling over the Ocean Drive bridge. For in that moment, as I passed the large TAMU-CC sculpture, I knew I was doing the right thing,” Arjona said. “When I saw the water and the big TAMU-CC sign, I knew I was going somewhere: away from my past and over the bridge to my future.”

TAMU-CC ROTC Islander Battalion Cadet Command Sgt. Major Anthony Sullivan ’23 earned a Bachelor of Business Management, with cum laude honors. While on the Island, Sullivan discovered his desire to serve in the U.S. Army and has worked hard to grow physically, emotionally, and intellectually to achieve that goal.

“Over the last five years, I have matured greatly,” he said. “One thing I learned from my time here is how to listen. Taking a step back and listening to what the people around me are saying and what is happening around me has allowed me to make more informed decisions and see alternate viewpoints. This skill is essential for critical thinkers and leaders.”

The commencement speaker was Dr. Tito Guerrero, who served the Island University in numerous teaching and administrative roles for over 20 years including serving as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He is now the Director of the Leadership Academy for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

In his address, Guerrero spoke about the remarkable transformation of the Island University during his time of service and reflected on how society at large benefits from the success of students who graduate with an advanced degree.

“Individuals who receive a college or university degree have a higher probability of becoming more engaged in the family, social, and civic activities that serve to strengthen our democratic institutions. They become involved in the social and civic discourse that helps to maintain the democratic principles on which this great country was founded. And the ripple effects of that discourse contribute in important ways to fostering democratic principles around the world,” Guerrero said.

To view a recording of the Spring 2023 Commencement ceremony, visit commencement.tamucc.edu.

Outstanding Islander Graduates – Spring 2023

The Outstanding Islander Graduate award recognizes students who have excelled inside and outside the classroom by achieving superior academic performance, overcoming adversity and hardship, and making a remarkable Islander Impact on campus or in the community. Outstanding Islander Graduates for Spring 2023 include: Omar Arizpe, College of Education and Human Development; Amy Ayala, College of Engineering; Maria Beltran, College of Business; Lindsey Castillo, College of Nursing and Health Sciences; Ricardo Longoria, College of Liberal Arts; and Ally Wilkins, College of Science.