Lifelong goals accomplished, lifelong friendships celebrated at commencement

12.20.2016 | By Jeannie Peng Mansyur

When Anthony Ross decided to attend college following six years of service in the U.S. Army, he chose San Jacinto College and accomplished the one goal he “always wanted to achieve” at the fall 2016 San Jacinto College commencement at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

“Getting my degree is something I’ve always wanted because it’s not easy; it means a lot of late nights and studying,” said Ross, who earned his associate degree in business alongside 116 fellow veterans who also earned their associate degrees and certificates. “I came to San Jacinto College because of its reputation among the veteran community, smaller classes, and everyone is always willing to help you.”

Gina Luna, CEO of Luna Strategies, served as commencement speaker and left some parting words of advice to the approximate 900 students who participated in the commencement ceremony.

“Our city is growing and becoming a more powerful force on the international stage,” said Luna. “The returns to you and your community will be remarkable. Always do your best work, and understand the context of your assignments. Your ability to work well with others is paramount. You’re always setting the example for those around you. Never compromise your principles and values, and keep taking risks.”

For LaRyan Lewis, Iesha Horn and Katerra Knight, time at San Jacinto College not only resulted in their associate degrees in paralegal but also lasting friendships. The three friends are members of the paralegal honor society and plan to transfer to four-year universities. Horn is already employed at Stratos Legal.

“I actually chose San Jacinto College because I heard very good things about the college,” said Lewis. “When I found out that they had a paralegal program that was awesome. This was my return back to school after a long time, and San Jacinto College was the best fit for me.”

Dr. Rachel Garcia, physical sciences department chair, led the procession as the 2016 Minnie Stevens Piper nominee. At this semester’s commencement, the youngest graduate was 17 years old, and the oldest was 68. Since 2007, the College has increased the number of certificates and degrees awarded by 161.7 percent, and is ranked 15th in the nation by “Community College Week” for awarding associate degrees. For a photo gallery of the fall 2016 commencement at Minute Maid Park, visit

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Top 10 finalist and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 30,000 students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers seven areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to a four-year college or university or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, call 281-998-6150 or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.