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Texas State University hosted three summer commencement ceremonies on Saturday where 1,400 candidates for bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees were expected to participate. Above, Dr. Kelly Damphousse speaks to the graduates during his first commencement ceremony as university president. Below, a mortarboard says “My destiny is my own.” Daily Record photos by Lance Winter

PRESIDENTIAL FIRST: TXST’s new president celebrates first commencement ceremony

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Graduation is a special time in the lives of friends, families and certainly the graduates. But this summer, graduation was extra special for Dr. Kelly Damphousse. On Saturday, the 10th President of Texas State University delivered his first commencement at the University to the class of 2022.

“It’s always a great day to be a Bobcat. It’s especially so today as we take this time to celebrate you,” Damphousse told the soon to be graduates during the first of three ceremonies on Saturday. “Over the years, I’ve had the honor of speaking and many commencement exercises, and they’re all very special to me. But because this is my first Texas State graduation is what is even more special. You will always be my first and I’m honored to share this moment with you.”

Texas State University said more than 1,400 candidates for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees were expected to participate in its three commencement ceremonies on Saturday.

Damphousse told those attending Saturday morning’s ceremony that it may feel like they are closing a chapter of their life.

“Indeed, today’s graduation symbolizes the end of your college career but also symbolizes the beginning of life after Texas State,” Damphousse said. “While no one can predict the wonders in store for you, new beginnings are also a perfect time to reflect on what brought you to this place.”

“Several courses shaped your journey here in Texas State. First your values, your dedication … you set your path to stay the course through all the late-night study sessions, exams, rigorous coursework and pandemic protocols you didn’t just survive but thrived.”

Damphousse said it was through their sheer will and determination they’re celebrating today.

“For that, Bobcats, I’m so very proud of you,” Damphousse added. “I hope that you reflect on the other forces that brought you here as well. Take a moment to think of those people that led you here. Perhaps the serendipitous moments that may have caught you by surprise, like meeting a classmate who became your lifelong friend. How cool is it that you may be actually sitting next to that person today.”

“There are people along the way that helped keep you on the right path, like a professor, who inspired you, or an advisor or an RA that helped you deal with a difficult situation.”

Damphousse told those said thinking about the journey may surprise you.

“Back in the day, I nev er would have predicted that I would become president of Texas State University. Like almost half the students in this graduation ceremony I was a first-generation college student,” he added. “In fact, attending college didn’t even cross my mind until April of my senior year of high school.”

Damphousse said his story has never been about him. It’s always been about the people he’s met along the way, who stood at a fork in the road and showed him that college was not only an option but a pathway to a different life.

“I often speak about the five people that changed my life. Each one of them was an educator,” Damphousse said. “If you look back on your time here, I bet there was someone at Texas State, a faculty member or staff member who made a difference in your life. Perhaps it was a family member or a mentor as well. If you haven’t already done so I encourage you to do this. Thank them.”

He said you will never know how grateful they are for your words of encouragement that you acknowledge what they’ve done.

“As you sit here reflecting on all you’ve accomplished and those who helped make this day possible. I encourage you to also consider the possibility that you now have the opportunity to do the same thing for others,” Damphousse added. “Your Texas State degree and the journey you took to earn it, have equipped you to change our world for the better. They empower you with the skills and leadership qualities our world desperately needs now more than ever.”

Damphousse finished by saying he hoped they would always be curious, be a lifelong learner, and to never stop growing.

“More importantly though, I hope you understand that you are now uniquely positioned to help others by standing in the gap for those who can’t stand for themselves,” Damphousse said. “To be honest, you will be able to reach people that none of us as a platform could ever reach. Make that your goal in life to be someone else’s life altering person.”

Dr. Dionicio “Don” Flores — a member of the Texas State University System Board of Regents and a Texas State Distinguished Alumnus — served as the keynote speaker during the 10 a.m. ceremony on Aug. 6.

Flores spoke during the commencement ceremony for degree candidates from the McCoy College of Business Administration, College of Applied Arts and Graduate College.

Texas State hosted a commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon for degree candidates from the College of Fine Arts and Communication, College of Education, College of Health Professions and Graduate College followed by a ceremony for degree candidates from the College of Liberal Arts, College of Science and Engineering, University College and Graduate College Saturday night.

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