The jubilance of Commencement continues with the celebration of graduates from the colleges of Science, Engineering, Health Sciences, and School of Pharmacy at 7 p.m.
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At 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, the University of Texas at El Paso’s Ceremonial Brass Ensemble fervently ushered in the start of Spring Commencement 2018 in the Don Haskins Center with a rendition of the processional tune “Pomp and Circumstance” in celebration of more than 900 eager spring and summer graduation candidates from the College of Liberal Arts.
The procession kicked off the first of three graduation ceremonies for the University on May 12, 2018. As UTEP President Diana Natalicio told the graduates in her Commencement address, the day carried “a special promise of bold new beginnings and unlimited possibilities.”
That was true for Cassandra Corinne Moreno, who earned her bachelor’s degree in English and American literature with a minor in Chicano studies and was eager to start a new chapter in her life as a teacher of secondary education. When she first attended UTEP, she had no idea what she wanted to do until her work as a student employee for the GEAR UP program sparked a love of teaching.
“My college experience has been a lot of trial and error, but I loved the journey,” Moreno said with a smile. “Being a student employee and having the opportunity to work with students daily for four years made me realize I am passionate about teaching and want to incorporate Chicano studies into my lesson plans. UTEP gave me opportunities to discover who I am and what I want to do as a career.”
Earning a college degree has been a long time coming for Andres Steve Freitekh, who started at UTEP in 2010. Today he received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice to fulfill a promise he made to his grandfather, who encouraged him to never give up, and to his father, whom he never met. His father was a month away from graduating with an engineering degree from UTEP when he passed away. Freitekh, a baby at the time, grew up and made a promise that he would earn his degree on behalf of his father, who did not get a chance to.
Through a series of trials and tribulations, Freitekh made good on his promise to his father and grandfather, who died recently, and he is excited about what his future holds.
“Everything is looking up and coming together now,” he said. “There are a lot of new beginnings for me. I am now a college graduate and am also getting married in June. I love UTEP and appreciate the education I received that has well prepared me for a career with the federal government. I plan to utilize everything I learned moving forward.”