Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s Largest Class Graduates During Its 10-Year Anniversary Commencement

By University Communications

Friday, 05 17 2019

  • Harold Oliver Conferred with Honorary Degree
  • Texas Stalwart Greg Garcia Recognized with Inaugural Meritorious Service Medal
  • Former State Poet Laureate Delivers 10-Year Anniversary Poem

SAN ANTONIO—In the year of its 10th anniversary, Texas A&M University-San Antonio (A&M-SA) conferred degrees to its largest graduating class, 945, to date. A&M-SA also conferred an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Harold Oliver, a former legislative assistant to the late State Senator Frank Madla, Jr., and recognized Greg Garcia, who became the University’s first-ever recipient of its Meritorious Service Medal. The honorees were instrumental in the creation of bringing a four-year institution, A&M-SA, to the South Side of San Antonio.

A&M-SA is celebrating its 10-year anniversary throughout 2019. In May 2009, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 629, authorizing Texas A&M University-San Antonio as a standalone institution.  In another recognition of this milestone, former Texas Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero was commissioned to write a poem honoring the anniversary and to recite during the May 17, 2019 Commencement, which was held at Joe Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio. The poem, Between the Soil and the Sun, is a passionate writing recognizing the importance of place, community and opportunity that this young University provides. Guerrero is writer-in-residence at A&M-SA.

Oliver, recipient of the University’s second-ever Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, worked diligently to establish Texas A&M University-Kingsville System Center San Antonio, which ultimately led to A&M-San Antonio becoming a standalone university. The late Senator Madla referenced Oliver in his journal as the “stepfather of A&M-San Antonio” for his leadership in the development of bills, riders, and legislative and community support for the establishment of A&M-San Antonio.

Garcia, recipient of the Inaugural Meritorious Service Award, developed grassroots support for a new university from elected officials, community, business and academic leaders. According to the late Senator Frank L. Madla, “Greg Garcia is the real father of A&M on the South Side. He worked tirelessly on not allowing the project to fade into the sunset.” “Like Senator Madla, I and the entire campus community are deeply grateful for the critical role Greg played in garnering support from elected public servants, community leaders, chambers of commerce and academic leadership to bring the A&M-San Antonio dream to life,” said President Cynthia Teniente-Matson.

About Texas A&M University-San Antonio
Established as a standalone university in 2009 and celebrating its 10-year anniversary, Texas A&M University-San Antonio (A&M-SA) is a comprehensive four-year public university that reflects the culturally diverse, heritage-rich community it serves. Situated on nearly 700 acres in South San Antonio, A&M-SA is a Military EmbracingTM institution offering more than 40 undergraduate programs to 6,600 students. Visit tamusa.edu for more information.