Photos from ACC’s commencement ceremony are available on Flickr and in a slideshow below. The videos shown at graduation also are posted below.
Gregory Lawson has been a paratrooper for the Army, an operations specialist for the Navy, and a firearms training instructor for the Air Force. But there’s been one title he’s worked 26 years to earn – ACC graduate.
“I began at ACC in 1986, but life and world events sometimes led me in different directions,” says Lawson, who earned his associate degree in English. “I always wanted to finish my education, so it feels so good to finally receive my degree from ACC.”
Lawson was one of 236 graduating veterans honored during ACC’s commencement ceremony at the Frank Erwin Center May 11. It was the first commencement during which ACC paid special tribute to veterans, who received medals in appreciation of their service and stood for acknowledgment.
The ceremony celebrated the accomplishments of 1,377 summer and fall graduates as well as 1,508 candidates for spring graduation. More than 600 students attended the ceremony. | Read profiles of graduates DavidÂ Weaver, Melissa Triece, Lauren Dominguez, and George Washington.
Commencement speakers were Drs. John and Suanne Roueche, who have focused their careers on increasing access to higher education and enhancing student success. Dr. John Roueche is the director of the Community College Leadership Program (CCLP) at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Suanne Roueche is editor of publications and past director of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) and senior lecturer in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Texas at Austin.
During their speech, the Roueches shared words of wisdom for graduates, such as practicing the art of gratitude and not letting challenges stand in the way of achieving goals.
Those words rang especially true for Randal “Splash” Vela. He progressed from developmental education classes in his first semester to graduating with an associate degree in psychology – and as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and one of this year’s Presidential Student Achievement Award recipients. The Presidential Student Achievement Award annually honors two students who, despite personal obstacles, have demonstrated academic excellence, service to ACC and the community, and commitment to ACC values and vision.
“To me, graduation means that hard work does pay off. If you really open your consciousness to what you can become – you can do anything if you believe in yourself,” says Vela. “I never thought I would be a graduate of a community college or a four-year university. Now I know I can achieve that goal as well.”
Jill Brockmann, also a Presidential Student Achievement Award recipient, graduated in December and is already going strong in her career – serving as an adjunct assistant professor for ACC’s Business and Technical Communications Program.
“ACC helped me achieve my lifelong dream of teaching,” says Brockmann. “I’ve attended colleges in California, Kentucky, and New Jersey. I have never felt more comfortable and so welcomed than I have at ACC.”
Video that welcomed graduates and families to the Erwin Center:
2012 graduates reflect on their accomplishment: