Temple College hosted its 97th annual commencement ceremony Saturday, honoring more than 700 students who earned associate degrees or certifications.
Nearly a thousand people gathered at the Bell County Expo Center to celebrate the milestones and champion the next steps of the class of 2023, members of which can now transfer to four-year universities or take the next steps in their career journeys.
“This is a college degree that you earned, and no one will ever be able to take that away from you,” Dr. Christy Ponce, Temple College President, told the graduates. “This is your new beginning to start a new career, or advance in your career path, or transfer to a university. Whatever next step you take, I encourage you to follow your dreams and always keep on learning.”
Among the graduates were dozens of high school students who attended Temple College’s Texas Bioscience Institute (TBI) classes in Temple and Hutto, Legacy Early College, and Ready for Early Access to College in Hutto (R.E.A.C.H.) programs. Many of those students graduated Saturday with associate degrees before they graduate from their high schools in the coming weeks.
“We know you will go on to be successful in any career path you choose,” Ponce said. “We are very proud of you, and we want you to know that your Temple College family will always be here cheering you on along the way. Take today’s successful milestone, and let it be the beginning of many more successful milestones in your life to come.”
On the stage to provide the invocation were Esmeralda Ruelas-Olivares and her daughter Tatiana Olivares. They graduated together Saturday. Esmeralda, who serves on the Rockdale City Council, graduated with her nursing degree. She served Temple College as president of the Associate Degree Nursing Student Organization. Daughter Tatiana, a TBI-Hutto student, graduated with an associate degree and will soon head to the U.S. Naval Academy.
Also on the stage to participate in the ceremony was Ebony Gebrehawariat, who earned her nursing degree. She served as president of the Lambda Theta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was an All-Texas Academic Team Scholar. Ponce described Gebrehawariat as a “change agent who is very active on and off campus helping individuals in our community.”
The commencement ceremony provided the opportunity to recognize Dr. Christopher Krejci, associate professor of English, who was named the Claudia and W.T. Barnhart Outstanding Teacher of the Year.
Krejci spoke to the crowd and encouraged the graduates to help others as others have helped them along the way.
Following the ceremony, the new graduates exited the arena along a path lined on both sides by the Temple College faculty and staff, who applauded, high-fived, hugged and celebrated with them.
The Temple College summer semester begins May 30. Registration is open for both summer and fall semesters.
ABOUT TEMPLE COLLEGE
Temple College is “Your Community’s College,” a dynamic and growing community college that equips thousands of Central Texas students with the knowledge and skills for 21st-century success. Temple College, which has campuses in Temple, Hutto and Taylor, offers more than 75 degree and certificate programs to students who seek to earn credits for transfer, graduate with an associate degree, or complete a certificate for fast entry into the workforce.
Founded in 1926, Temple College has enjoyed a reputation for academic excellence for 97 years. It is nationally recognized for its exceptional programs, from visual and performing arts to competitive athletics. The College has become one of the state’s premiere institutions for healthcare providers’ education and training, advanced manufacturing, and workforce development programs. The faculty and staff are committed to providing exceptional quality instruction.