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Courtesy of Marketing and Communications

Over 550 graduates are ready to cross the stage to receive their degrees during two commencement ceremonies to be held at the Steinke Physical Education Center at Texas A&M University-Kingsville Friday, Dec. 16.

At the 1 p.m. ceremony, graduates from the Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences and the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Business Administration will receive their degrees. At the 4 p.m. ceremony,graduates from the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering and the College of Education and Human Performance will cross the stage.

Students receiving their master’s and doctoral degrees will be recognized within their academic colleges.

During the commencement ceremony, Dustin Schwandt, Student Government Association president, will present the Distinguished Student Awards. Seferino “Nino” Mendietta, president of the Javelina Alumni Association, will present a university ring to one deserving graduate. Jim Schwertner, member of the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System, and Guy K. Diedrich, vice chancellor for federal and state relations for The Texas A&M University System, will bring greetings.

Lt. Col. Richard P. Spainhour will represent the A&M-Kingsville ROTC and will commission three cadets. Christopher Michael Duncan, Nicholas William Laurenz and Jose Arturo Quintero will be commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army. Quintero is a Distinguished Military Graduate.

The keynote speaker for both ceremonies will be Dr. Jacqueline “Jacki” Thomas, Regents Professor of French in the language and literature department. She was named Regents Professor in 2001 and remains the only female Regents Professor at the university.

In 2010, she was given the Order of Academic Palmes award, an honor given by the French government to those who have excelled in promoting the French language and culture around the world. She also is regional representative of the American Association of Teachers of French and until recently was director of the Center for Teaching Effectiveness.

Thomas has been at the university since 1981 when she started as a graduate assistant. She has her bachelor’s degree in French with honors from Hull University in Yorkshire, England.  She has master’s degrees in educational curriculum and instruction with a minor in foreign languages from Texas A&M University and in English from Texas A&I University, and her doctorate in bilingual education from Texas A&I.

She has earned the William J. Hall Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Distinguished Teaching Award, and was a nominee for the Minnie Piper Foundation Award. She was selected to give the university’s annual Faculty Lecture in 1996.