The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will host its first commencement on Dec. 19, with one ceremony on the Brownsville campus and two at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo.
A total of 2,063 students will graduate: 1,506 will receive a bachelor’s degree, 547 a master’s and 10 a doctoral degree, according to Patrick Gonzales, assistant vice president for University Marketing and Communication.
The graduation planning committee began organizing the commencement ceremony since the beginning of the fall semester. New symbolic artifacts will be presented by the young university, along with special guests who pioneered the formation of UTRGV.
Havidán Rodríguez, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, explained the significance of the new traditions of the graduation mace, or staff, and the medallion of the president of UTRGV, Guy Bailey.
“We should have a new and beautiful mace representing the RGV and the coming together of two institutions,” Rodríguez said. “We will also have a brand-new and beautiful medallion that the president will use. These two new artifacts were designed with a brand-new institution in mind and were designed and developed primarily by UTRGV students. Commencement will have elements from both legacy institutions.”
Kristin Croyle, vice president for Student Success, said the mace and medallion were designed by students and
faculty last year for the new institution.
“One of the traditions that I like personally [is] that the university has a mace,” Croyle said. “It’s a beautiful ceremonial object that typically someone from the faculty carries in at the beginning of the ceremony.We couldn’t use the old maces because they typically have the university seal on them and they have special meaning. For the new mace, the design will have a special meaning for the institution.”
UTRGV will have guests of honor instead of a keynote speaker at each ceremony. The guests will be officials that began and advocated for the new institution, such as chancellor of the UT System at the time of the formation of the university,Francisco Cigarroa, state Senators Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa(D-McAllen) and Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville).
“We’re going to honor some officials, some UT System officials and a couple of elected officials who played a significant role in the formation of UTRGV,” Gonzales said. “So, we wanted to use this first ceremony to honor those folks instead of having a keynote speaker.”
The Brownsville ceremony for all colleges will take place at 9 a.m. on the Student Union lawn. At the State Farm Arena,
the ceremony for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Sciences will begin at 2 p.m., followed by the College of Business and Entrepreneurship, the College of Education and P-16 Integration, the College of Fine Arts and the College of Health Affairs at 6 p.m.