Good morning good morning and welcome to the 211th commencement of Tarleton State University. This is a magnificent day for the university as these graduates join the ranks of distinguished Tarleton alumni, during this our centennial year as a member of the Texas A&M University System. To open this ceremony the colors will be presented by the Texan battalion color guard the national anthem will be sung by graduating senior music major Crystal Smith and she will be accompanied by the Tarleton Wind Ensemble. Following the national anthem the invocation will be given by Dr. Kyle McGregor, vice president for the division of advancement and external relations. Gentlemen, please remove the caps and I ask all who are able to remain standing for the posting of the colors the singing of the national anthem and the invocation. Please join me in the invocation. On this commencement day while we have all traveled different paths to reach this milestone today we’re of one mind and one heart and giving thanks for these students and for all they will accomplish. As we reflect on all that has passed and all that is yet to come we are mindful of the many people to whom we owe thanks families that encouraged education teachers and mentors who shared their knowledge and experience friends who provided support and helped make a lifetime of memories. We ask that these graduates reflect the core values of this university as they use their knowledge and abilities to act with integrity standing up for what is right, to serve and lead others with compassion, to foster a culture of civility kindness and inclusion, to respect and shape traditions for our time to set a, standard of excellence and strive always to reach it may the gratitude we feel today inspire each of us to bring even greater joy into our lives and the lives of others amen. Please be seated. Graduates, this is a glorious day as we celebrate your achievements. Today is a milestone for you and for your families and your friends. We know that you’ve worked hard you’ve sacrificed and I expect many of you have dreamed of this day, you’ve also taken different paths to get here. When I address the class of 2017 as you entered in August of 2013, I remarked that there were only a hundred and twenty weeks of classes between the convocation t-shirt, that many of you are wearing then, and the cap and gown, that you wear today. Many of you took a different route you’ve transferred from other colleges and other universities. For others the time since starting college is best measured possibly in decades rather than months or years, because you have finished something that you started a very long time ago but whatever the journey you are here now to claim your diploma and to celebrate your victory, congratulations class of 2017. Today, you join the ranks of Tarleton alumni connecting always to your alma mater, we’re very very proud of you. A lot has happened since most of you came to campus three or four more years ago. Peyton Manning retired with a Super Bowl win, Jeff Gordon retired with 93 NASCAR wins, and one of our favorites Tony Romo ended his cowboy career. I thought there were Tony Romo fans here. Many of you left Facebook to your parents and possibly your grandparents and now you live instead on Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. Much happened to the campus along the way as well new programs and majors were added, groundbreakings and ribbon-cuttings, newly renovated residence halls, and academic spaces. In the summer of 2015 we welcomed John Tarleton back to campus. His statue on alumni Island has generated new traditions including taking selfies with JT and Oscar P on graduation day. Members of this class have committed themselves to Tarleton’s core values of tradition, integrity, civility, leadership, excellence, and service. Fisher Rinderknecht, of Glen Rose, is already a successful entrepreneur thanks to a boyhood love of flying remote-controlled toy helicopters. He recently founded Flight Research Productions this past fall, it is a remote-controlled drone photography company offering services for real estate, construction, agriculture, weddings, business marketing, and a whole lot more. And just a few months away ago actually a few weeks ago he took first place in the Erath Business Plan competition and won a very sizeable reward. with initiative, leadership, and a Tarleton degree he’s certainly off to a great start. Reuben Martin, pursued excellence as a world-class athlete who traveled around the globe competing in judo as part of his education program. He did an internship at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Now we wish Ruben well as he competes to be a member of the US Olympic team. I celebrate each member of this class today and I thank each of you for your contributions to the University in a classroom, on campus, and the community and beyond. As you move on know that you take Tarleton with you friends that will last a lifetime and a network of faculty and staff who want to hear from you often. I expect your phones are filled with photos of your time as a student and I trust that your heart is filled with wonderful Tarleton memories. As educated men and women as Tarleton graduates much is expected of you. I ask you to continue to live our core values keep them close as they will be a compass in a world that is going to be challenging and changing. And now it is fitting I think on this special occasion that I offer you just a few few final words of advice and because it is Mother’s Day weekend we start with this your mothers were probably right just because everyone else is doing it it doesn’t make it right for you. Save a little and give a little out of every paycheck you earn. In the words of Emerson “don’t be pushed by your problems be led by your dreams” and then, especially for those that you have grown up with a cellphone in your hands, try to have a conversation occasionally that doesn’t include typing. So the mothers like that one too. From now on remember that everything is an elective, but keep on learning and then finally keep wearing purple and be proud to be a Tarleton Texan, because we are very very proud of you. Also very proud of you are the families and the friends who have helped you bring you to this to this day, the support of family, friends, co-workers, and classmates is a vital part of your success. Many of those people are here in this audience today and so this day belongs to you, but it also belongs to your family and friends and we congratulate and thank all of you and so at this time I would like to have the family and the friends with the graduate in the audience if you would please stand and graduates this is your job now I want you to give them an enormous thank you. As they rise, graduates thank your family and friends. At this time I would like to recognize members of the platform group. Would they please stand when introduced and will you please hold your applause until all are standing. Dr. Karen Murray, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Laura Boren, vice president for student life, Dr. Tye Minckler, vice president for finance and administration, Dr. Kyle McGregor, vice president for advancement and external relations, Dr. James Pierce, Dean College of Science and Technology, Dr. Steve Damron, Dean College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Dr. Jordan Barkley, Dean College of Education, Dr. Vimala Pillari, Dean College of Health Sciences and Human Services, Dr. Steve Steed, Dean College of Business Administration, Dr. Credence Baker, assistant Dean College of Graduate Studies, Dean Kelli Styron, Dean College of Liberal and Fine Arts, Mr. Janice Horak, assistant vice president for development, Mr. Mark Holtorf, associate professor fine arts department, Dr. Anthony Pursell, Faculty Senate President, Mr. Kurt Mogonye, staff council president, and Ms. Donna Strohmeyer, chair of the commencement committee. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in thanking these outstanding Tarleton leaders. As was explained before the processional some graduates are wearing colorful cords that represent high achievement and academic honor. Some graduates are wearing red, white, and blue cords representing achievement and honor of a different sort they are veterans who we recognize today for their service to our nation it is their sacrifice and that of their family and friends that allows us to freely pursue life, liberty, happiness, and our education and so I would like to ask all veterans and active or reserve duty personnel in the class or in the audience if you would please stand so we can thank you for your service to our country. Thank you so much and now will the Lieutenant Colonel Marty Deckard please come forward along with cadets Raymond Jones, Julia Kendal, Adam Polk, and Brandon Proctor who will be receiving their Commission’s today. Over the years the sons and daughters of Tarleton have brought honor to this university through exemplary service to our nation insuring our freedom and the opportunity for all to pursue their education. Tarleton has a long very proud association with the ROTC program starting back in 1917 when the program began. During our commencement ceremonies this weekend seven graduates will be commissioned as officers in the United States Army. The Oath of Office will be administered by Lieutenant Colonel Decker. Cadet Jones, political science major from Copperas Cove, Texas, Cadet Kendall, a music major from Temple, Texas, Cadet Pope, a criminal justice major, from El Paso, Texas and Cadet Proctor, a criminal justice major, from Portland, Oregon. Raise your right hand and repeat after me. I state your name having been appointed an officer in the Army in the United States in the grade of second lieutenant do solemnly swear that I will support defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon the office which I’m about to enter. So Help Me God. Congratulations lieutenants. Graduate, this is your day. It is you we are here to celebrate and for this reason a member of the graduating class have been invited to address the commencement audience. Today’s speaker is Flor Turcios, the outstanding graduate in English and languages from Mineral Wells, Texas. Flor came to the United States with her family in 2008 at the age of 12. She plans to teach Spanish where she is able to assist her students as she is a second language learner herself and she knows how challenging it is to adopt to a second language. In addition to teaching Spanish, Flo hopes to encourage, inspire, and lead young people here at Tarleton. Flo was a member of the Renaissance Scholars, the National Society of leadership and success, and Sigma Delta Pi National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society. She volunteered on Tarleton Service Day and as a reader at her parish church. Flo completed a study abroad program in Spain last summer. When she was in kindergarten in El Salvador a five year old Flo was selected to give the graduation speech, it is a day she remembers well. She has said quote, “I never thought that was going to happen again. 16 years later I am graduating with a bachelor’s degree and once again I have the honor to give the commencement speech.” Flo, I congratulate you on both of those honors and all of the work over the years in between that brought you to this day. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Flor Turcios. Good morning Dr. Dottavio, Provost Murray, distinguished stage party, fellow graduates, family, and friends. My name is Flor Turcios it is an honor to have been selected to speak on behalf of the class of 2017. Fellow graduates, although we come from different backgrounds we have all overcome obstacles to get our degrees. What an accomplishment, what a privilege to receive the college education. This is a special moment for me because I never imagined a little girl they used to walk to school by herself in the streets of El Salvador will be here standing up in front of all you today. My parent have instilled in my the love for education. Coming from a middle-class family I remember that we didn’t have much in terms of goods or wealth, but my parents gave my siblings and I something for better than material things. The conviction that we were capable of overcoming obstacles. That education would take us far. When I was twelve years old we came to the United States of America in search of a better future for us in search of better opportunities for us. I did not speak a word of English and I felt horrible for how big the new school was and because I had no idea what people were saying. Yes, I was afraid of failure of not being that good in the challenge, but thanks to the support of my family and wonderful teachers I was encouraged to study to learn the new language and be successful. This experience was a great inspiration for me to become a Spanish teacher. I wanted to help other students in the same way I was hoped. I wanted to guide and lead others down a successful path academically and personally. I came to Tarleton State University to earn my degree in Spanish. Tarleton felt like home from the very beginning. I met the best professors and they supported me in the same way that I have been encouraged before, but now on a larger scale. I learned value of becoming a global citizen very locators are diverse populations through study abroad. I experienced the joy of serving my community through Service Day activities. Our University gave me the tools I need to succeed in the next chapter of my life and because of that I believe I can have a positive impact on future generations. Fellow graduates, our backgrounds are different we have different majors and goals, however I believe we can all relate to having a similar experience when we first arrived here as freshmen. Maybe although English is your native language initially you felt like you had no idea what your professors were saying. Maybe you felt a scary of failing, as I once was. Maybe away any different currency worth many times you reached out to your professors and they helped you to succeed. You have come a long way to be here today. You have struggled you have overcome every obstacle every possible fear you are being courageous and do not give up in the midst of difficult classes, tests, and sleepless nights. Today your night with a beautiful effort let’s recognize that getting a degree is a privilege than that everyone has. An accomplishment not everyone achieves. A milestone in our life. We are proud and grateful for our accomplishments and now we are ready for the next challenge. We should have the desire to give back to others to share our knowledge to open serve others to be better. Let us try to exemplify Tarleton’s core values of integrity, traditions, civility, excellent, service, and leadership. I will leave you with this quote by our second United States president John Adams, “if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more you are leader.” Congratulations to the class of 2017 thank you to the faculty, staff, parents, family, and friends for always supporting us without you we will not be here celebrating today. I hope you all have a beautiful day. God bless y’all. Thank you Flo for your remarks you have represented this graduating class very well. At the heart of a Tarleton education is our distinguished faculty. Their scholarly work creates new knowledge that improves the lives of all of us. As teachers and scholars they define Tarleton’s excellence. The faculty have been partners with these graduates as teachers and mentors challenging and supporting these students as they have worked toward this day from our Texan tour leaders who gave you your first view of this beautiful campus to the team that has organized these seven graduations. Hundreds of Tarleton staff have made Tarleton your home away from home and have helped you reach this day. Like your family and friends our faculty and staff take great pride in your graduation. Will the representatives of the faculty and staff please stand so that we may recognize you. And now we’re to the most important part of the ceremony the presentation of your degrees. I’d like to welcome to the podium Dean Styron to present and recommend the candidates for the baccalaureate degree. Will the candidates for the bachelor’s degree in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts please stand. Provost Murray, the Liberal and Fine Arts have been the core of education since the age of Athens and Rome poets and performers who interpret the human condition through words, art, and music. Social scientists and historians who help us define the problems of our society and search for solutions. Professionals who serve the community and assist in keeping it safe. Watchdogs and storytellers who support our democracy through informing the citizenry and community leaders and teachers who think critically and solve problems in an increasingly diverse and complex society. The College of Liberal and Fine Arts is dedicated to freeing the mind and enriching the spirit. These students are prepared to protect freedom and property to defend rights and encourage excellence and they are prepared to become leaders in their communities, their nations, and the world. On behalf of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts faculty, I certify that they have met all of the requirements for their respective degrees. As Dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, it is a pleasure and an honor to present these students to you. Please remain standing. President Dottavio, these students are candidates for the baccalaureate degree as prescribed by the Faculty of Tarleton State University and the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System. As chief academic officer, I present them to you with both personal pleasure and Tarleton pride. Graduates, by the authority vested in me as president of Tarleton State University I confer the bachelors degree upon those of you who have successfully met all requirements associated with those degrees. You now hold all honors rights and privileges belonging thereto. I charge you as educated men and women of the world to use your education in the service of others. Congratulations graduates.