Approximately 1,700 Aggies are scheduled to receive their degrees during Texas A&M’s summer graduation activities that kick off Thursday (Aug. 9) with a commencement convocation address by Gary Blair, who led the university’s women’s basketball program to the pinnacle of success and in the process, raised the institution’s visibility statewide and nationally.
Coach Blair will speak at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Rudder Auditorium. The degree candidates will be formally presented their diplomas during two ceremonies ― at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. ― Friday (Aug. 10) at Reed Arena.
“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,” said Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin, who announced Blair’s selection for the honor of addressing the university’s summer graduates. “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 the 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.
For a listing showing the academic colleges that are included in each of the two Friday ceremonies, click here.
Commencement convocation and the graduation ceremonies are open to the public.
The Association of Former Students will conduct its “Drive Thru & Get Your Decal” program from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday for those students who will be receiving their new degrees and desire to have Texas A&M alumni stickers placed on their vehicles at the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center. The Association will host “The Next Tradition” graduation party for Texas A&M’s newest former students at the alumni center from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, when they will be offered free food and drink, career search advice, a free professional photo under the Haynes Aggie Ring Replica, a chance to learn more about their new role as former students and given another opportunity to obtain an alumni decal.
Media contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services at (979) 845-4662