Two of the three commencement speakers for the Spring 2017 graduation ceremony have been chosen. UTSA will welcome both Dr. Juliet Garcia and Congressman Will Hurd to address the new graduates.

Congressman Will Hurd, representative of the 23rd district of Texas, will speak at the May 13, 4 p.m. ceremony. He will address the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning; College of Business and College of Engineering graduates.

“I very much look forward to speaking at UTSA’s commencement ceremony,” Hurd said. “UTSA produces some of the best and brightest my home town has to offer.”

Hurd was born and raised in San Antonio. He attended John Marshall High School before leaving for Texas A&M University. Before being elected to the 114th Congress, Hurd was an undercover CIA officer and a senior advisor to a cybersecurity firm.

“As a former computer science major, I particularly enjoy seeing the cybersecurity program continue to grow and mold our next generation of industry leaders. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Class of 2017,” Hurd said.

Dr. Juliet Garcia, senior advisor to UT System Chancellor William McRaven for community, national and global engagement, will speak at the May 14, 2 p.m. ceremony which includes both College of Education and Human Development and College of Sciences graduates.

“I was thrilled to be invited to speak at UTSA’s commencement ceremony in one of my favorite cities, home to one of the most dynamic, exciting campuses in the country,” Garcia said.

Garcia served as president of UT Brownsville (UTB) for 22 years. She played an integral role in the creation of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She was the first Mexican-American female to head a U.S. college when she was named president of Texas Southmost College, which later became UTB.

Time magazine named Garcia one of the top 10 college presidents in the nation; in 2014, she was named one of the top 50 world leaders by Fortune magazine.

“UT San Antonio plays a pivotal role in preparing the next generation of human capital in a city poised to be the next major metropolitan area in the United States. We know that San Antonio’s future is inextricably linked to the success of UTSA,” Garcia said. “A hallmark of the culture at UTSA is that it honors its history and tackles the challenges of the future, and that makes it a very special place.”

The speaker for the May 13, 10 a.m. ceremony has yet to be chosen. This speaker will address the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, College of Public Policy and University College graduates.

Traditionally Dr. Ricardo Romo, former UTSA president, served as the keynote speaker for 56 of 59 graduation ceremonies since December 2008.

Exceptions include George C. Wright, President of Prairie View Texas A&M University spoke at one of the May 2012 ceremonies; Julián Castro, the San Antonio mayor at the time; and Nancy Kudla (President of the Kudla Family Foundation) who delivered speeches at two different ceremonies in May 2013.

The primary goal of commencement speakers is to inform and inspire graduates. For some students, a new speaker is welcomed. Drake Brown, senior political science major, believes inviting Hurd was a good decision.

“I saw Congressman Will Hurd speak at my girlfriend’s graduation at St. Philip’s College in 2015. His speech was solid; he spoke about not giving up,” Brown said.

Joe Izbrand, chief communications officer for UTSA said the third speaker for the May 13, 10 a.m. ceremony will be announced soon.

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