LC Bulletin: Commence the graduations

May 6, 2011. Retrieved online May 9, 2011 from Todd G. Dickson, Las Cruces Bulletin

Marketing major Ginny Van Doren, international business major Rachel Hakeem, chemistry major Brittany Burlbaw and economics major Spencer Diaz try on their caps and gowns Wednesday, May 4, at the Pan American Center, where their graduation ceremony will be held Saturday, May 7. Las Cruces Bulletin photo by Niki Rhynes

More than 3,500 to graduate from NMSU and DACC

In commencement ceremonies this weekend, more than 2,200 are set to graduate from NMSU and nearly 1,400 will take part in Doña Ana Community College’s graduation ceremony.

First up will be DACC’s commencement starting at 7 p.m. Friday, May 6, at the Pan American Center.

Of those getting certificates and associate degrees, the largest group comes out of the programs for health and public service, followed by business and information systems, with technical and industrial studies being the third most popular division, said DACC President Margie Huerta.

The ceremony’s guest speaker will be Ray Rivera, deputy associate director for policy outreach for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, she said. Huerta is now no stranger to the White House after taking part in its efforts to highlight and improve education excellence for Hispanics.

“The White House is recognizing the great things that we’re doing at DACC,” she said.

Along with enjoying sustained enrollment growth and program expansion, DACC has the highest retention rate of any community college in the state, Huerta said.

“We’re just doing things right,” she said.

This year’s honorary degree recipient for DACC is Isidro Peña, owner of Casa Mexicana Tile. Peña came to the Mesilla Valley from Mexico to work in the Stahmann pecan orchards. He went on to start up his own business, Peña Pecan Nursery, and later Casa Mexicana.

Huerta said Peña’s life story should be an inspiration to the DACC graduates, many of whom come from families that migrated from Mexico.

On Saturday, May 7, about 1,500 of an estimated 2,211 candidates for degrees at NMSU will march across the stage at the Pan Am Center in one of two commencement ceremonies – the first at 10 a.m. and the second at 2 p.m. The morning program will include candidates for degrees from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; the College of Business; the College of Engineering; and the College of Extended Learning. The afternoon program will include candidates for degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and the College of Health and Social Services.

Of the degrees to be awarded at NMSU’s Las Cruces campus, two are associate’s degrees, 1,523 are bachelor’s degrees and 686 are graduate degrees. An additional 829 associate’s degrees will be awarded to students graduating from NMSU’s branch colleges at Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Grants and DACC.

NMSU will honor John Papen as well as Herb and Joan Zuhl with honorary degrees during the ceremonies in recognition of their continuing support for the university.

Papen was an executive vice president of Wells Fargo, serving for nearly 50 years in several capacities at the bank. He is now on the bank’s community board. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from NMSU in 1968 and later earned degrees from the Colorado School of Banking at the University of Colorado and the National Commercial Lending School at the University of Oklahoma.

Papen has served many years on the executive board of the NMSU Aggie Sports Association, including as president. He is also president of the NMSU Sports Enterprise Corp., the fundraising arm for athletics.

Read the Las Cruces Bulletin article.

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