RIO GRANDE VALLEY – MAY 27, 2020 – A long-standing tradition during UTRGV’s Commencement Week has been the Veteran- and Military-Affiliated Graduation.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ceremony will take place curbside at both campuses. The ceremony is held to show appreciation for the military graduates and highlight their service to the country.

This semester, 53 veterans and 47 military-affiliated earn their degrees from UTRGV.

The first ceremony will be from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, May 28, at the University Center parking lot at the UTRGV Edinburg Campus. The celebration moves to the Brownsville Campus from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, May 29, at the west side of Calvary Hall and the Bookstore.

During the curbside ceremony, graduates will drive up to the curb to pick up their graduation stoles. Representatives from community agencies will be on the sidewalk and by their vehicles with posters and signs cheering the graduates.

Graduates also will be invited to have their pictures taken at the UTRGV sign. Social distancing should be observed, and everyone is encouraged to wear a mask.

Brownsville native Arturo de la Garza, a U.S. Army veteran, will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from UTRGV. He credits his family and the staff of the UTRGV Military and Veterans Success Center for helping him fulfill his dream of earning a college degree.

“The challenge I had in college was a little bit of a reduction in learning ability due to a traumatic brain injury. I suffered five concussions because of bomb explosions during my deployments,” he said. “I was able to push right on through my challenges. Did I want to give up? Absolutely. Did having those people to support me keep me from making that horrible mistake? Without a doubt!”

De la Garza isn’t done with college yet. He has been accepted into the UTRGV Disaster Studies Master’s Program and plans to apply to the Texas Game Warden Academy.

What: Curbside Celebration for Veteran & Military Graduates When: Thursday, May 28 (UTRGV Edinburg) and Friday, May 29 (UTRGV Brownsville) Where: UTRGV Edinburg campus – University Center Parking Lot (map); UTRGV Brownsville campus, West Side of Calvary Hall and the University Bookstore (map)