Gary Blair, who led Texas A&M’s women’s basketball program to the pinnacle of success and in the process raised the university’s visibility statewide and nationally, will be the institution’s summer commencement convocation speaker Aug. 9, announced President R. Bowen Loftin.
“Coach Blair is not only highly successful in leading and inspiring young women to excel on the basketball court, in the classroom and in life generally, but he has also proved to be an extraordinary good-will ambassador for Texas A&M as he interacts with the public and the media in his unique manner, ” Loftin said. ” I am confident he will bring an engaging message that will be well received by our degree candidates, their families and others attending commencement convocation.”
Blair, who has coached at the collegiate level for 32 years, came to Texas A&M in 2003 and has led a steadily improving women’s basketball program, with the Aggies winning the 2011 NCAA national championship. His Aggie teams have participated in seven consecutive post-season NCAA tournaments and he became Texas A&M’s winningest women’s basketball coach in 2010. He is the recipient of numerous “coach of the year” awards and related honors — most recently being elected to be National Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, the first such distinction for a Texas A&M basketball coach. Blair, who grew up in Dallas and began his coaching career at the high-school level, was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
Commencement convocation is a relatively new Texas A&M tradition in which all members of a graduating class have the opportunity to assemble together, along with family members and friends in an informal setting. It is a prelude to the degree candidates formally receiving their diplomas in subsequent ceremonies aligned by the academic colleges representing their major fields of study.
The convocation will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug.9, in Rudder Auditorium.
Graduation exercises will be held the following day across campus at Reed Arena, where approximately 1,700x students will receive their degrees during two ceremonies — at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Commencement convocation and the graduation ceremonies are open to the public.
Media contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services at (979) 845-4662