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Texas Tech Announces Winter Commencement

Nearly 2,000 students will graduate Friday and Saturday during four Texas Tech University ceremonies at the United Spirit Arena.

Written by John Davis

Students graduating.

Nearly 2,000 students will graduate Friday and Saturday (Dec. 17 and 18) during four Texas Tech University ceremonies at the United Spirit Arena. Texas Tech alumna and NASA flight director Ginger Kerrick will serve as commencement speaker for these ceremonies.

Commencement exercises for the College of Arts & Sciences begin at 4 p.m. Friday. The Graduate School ceremony follows at 7 p.m.

The Colleges of Education, Visual & Performing Arts, Human Sciences, Architecture and the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering, as well as students receiving university studies degrees will attend the exercises beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday. A ceremony for the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Mass Communications, the Rawls College of Business, the Honors College and University College follows at 1:30 p.m.

The School of Law Hooding Ceremony begins at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Allen Theatre in the Student Union Building.

Commencement Speaker–Ginger Kerrick

Ginger Kerrick

A Texas Tech University alumna and lead station flight director at NASA will serve as speaker for December commencement exercises.

Ginger Kerrick, who earned her bachelor’s degree in physics in 1991 and a master’s degree in physics in 1993 from Texas Tech, is the first female Hispanic flight director at NASA. She pursued her dream of working at NASA since she was 5 years old.

“I don’t believe I would be where I am today without Texas Tech,” she said during a recent interview. “Along the way through my career here at Texas Tech, people have helped me come here, people have helped me stay here and have helped me graduate from here with two degrees. That set me apart from some of the candidates who were applying to NASA. So, without that opportunity, I don’t know if I would be at NASA today.”

School of Law Commencement Speaker-John Huffaker

A member of the Board of Regents of the Texas Tech University System, John Huffaker, will deliver the main address at the December Hooding Ceremony of the School of Law.

Robert Withers, a School of Law joint degree (JD/MBA) student from Dallas, will be the event’s student speaker. Withers, a graduate of Texas A&M University, is a member of the TTU School of Law’s 2010-2011 Board of Barristers. Michael Hatfield, associate dean for research and faculty development, will be the Hooding Professor.

Huffaker, of Amarillo, was appointed to the Board of Regents of the Texas Tech University System on Feb. 6, 2009. He is a member of the Audit Committee and the Facilities Committee. His term expires on Jan. 31, 2015.

He is an attorney and a shareholder in the Amarillo law firm of Sprouse Shrader Smith P.C., and his practice areas include agricultural law, bankruptcy, banking, commercial litigation and employment law. He is board certified in civil trial law. A native of Tahoka, Huffaker earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Texas Tech University School of Law in 1974. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in agriculture from Texas Tech in 1970.

Banner Bearers

Outstanding students, selected based on all-around achievement, will carry banners representing their respective colleges.

  • Linnsey Christine Sheldon, an accounting and agricultural and applied economics major from Dumas, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources
  • Peter Matthew Longoria, an architecture major from San Antonio, College of Architecture
  • Jessica Claire Smith, a psychology major from Lubbock, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Alisha Rhea Laseman, a multidisciplinary studies major from Henrietta, College of Education
  • Jessica Haleigh Allen, an early childhood development major from Lubbock, College of Human Sciences
  • Garrett James Saltzman, an advertising major from Albuquerque, N.M., College of Mass Communications
  • Nicole Kathleen Baxter, a music major from Wichita Falls, College of Visual & Performing Arts
  • Michael Robert Klausing, a mechanical engineering major from Plano, Whitacre College of Engineering
  • Derek Adam True, a marketing/management major from Dallas, Rawls College of Business
  • Heather L. Thomas, a history major from Lubbock, Whitney N. Neal, an architecture major from Brady, and John A. Hamilton, an honors arts and letters and Spanish double major from Fort Worth, Honors College
  • Tina Gaumond, a doctoral candidate in mathematics from Las Vegas, Graduate School
  • Joncarlo Iyescas, a university studies major from Red Oak, and John Edward Thompson III, a general studies major from Dallas, University College.

Highest Ranking December Graduates for each College

Also recognized during commencement exercises will be bachelor’s degree candidates with the highest grade-point-averages in their respective colleges. Highest ranking December graduates for each college are:

  • College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources: Linnsey Christine Sheldon, an accounting and agricultural and applied economics major from Dumas
  • College of Architecture: Peter Matthew Longoria, an architecture major from San Antonio
  • College of Arts & Sciences: Joseph Chase Ashworth, a history major from Snyder; Annelise Brooke Blessen, a Spanish major from Levelland; Christopher Michael Corbin, a history and philosophy double major from Lubbock; Constance Ruth Haugneland, a mathematics major from Katy; and Shani Bhagwan Patel, a biology major from Plano
  • College of Education: Alisha Rhea Laseman, a multidisciplinary studies major from Henrietta
  • College of Human Sciences: Jessica Haleigh Allen, an early childhood major from Lubbock; and Meaghan Jean Moore, an early childhood major from Waxahachie
  • College of Mass Communications: Garrett James Saltzman, an advertising major from Albuquerque, N.M.
  • College of Visual & Performing Arts: Nicole Kathleen Baxter, a music major from Wichita Falls
  • Whitacre College of Engineering: Michael Robert Klausing, a mechanical engineering major from Plano
  • Rawls College of Business: Justin Cole Radzwill, a finance and accounting double major from Houston; Derek Adam True, a marketing and management double major from Dallas; Amy Wilhelmina Wharton, a marketing and management double major from Houston; Lana Michelle Drake, an accounting major from Deer Park; Telyssa Ann Anderson, a general business and pre-professional health double major from Jacksonville; Audrey Ann Neubauer, an international business major from Bitburg, Germany; Sarah Elise Banner, a marketing major from San Antonio; Kendall Marie Edmondson, a marketing major from Royse City; and Kathleen Marie Ficken, a marketing major from Tyler
  • University College: Pavan Kumar Attaluri, a general studies major from Fort Worth

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