From Hog eWeekly
It was the end of the college era, but the beginning of a new career and a bright future as 449 students received degrees from Texas A&M University-Kingsville during two winter commencement ceremonies held Friday, Dec. 16, in the Steinke Physical Education Center. There were 270 bachelor’s degrees, 168 master’s degrees and 11 doctoral degrees given.
The keynote speaker for both ceremonies was 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.
The majority of the members of the winter class of 2011 were from Texas, with 351 from the Lone Star State. Fourteen were from other states and 84 were from other countries when they entered the university. The most frequent county of origin was Kleberg with 72, Nueces with 66, Hidalgo with 62, Jim Wells with 254 and Cameron with 23. Fifty-eight percent of the graduating students were minorities and 46 percent of the class was female.
Of the bachelor’s graduates, 57 percent entered the university as first-time freshmen while the remaining 43 percent were transfer students. The average age of those receiving bachelor’s degrees was 25. The average age of a master’s graduate was 28 and the average age of the doctoral students was 45.
For all degree recipients, the College of Arts and Sciences led the way with 169 graduates. It was followed by the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering with 125. Rounding out the list was the College of Education and Human Performance with79, the Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences, with 48 and the College of Business Administration with 28.