It was the end of the college era, but the beginning of a new career and a bright future as 623 students received degrees from Texas A and M University-Kingsville during two spring commencement ceremonies held Friday, May 11, in the Steinke Physical Education Center.

It was the third largest graduating class in over 30 years, coming close to spring 2005 which set the record at 641. This also was the second largest number of bachelor's degrees (478) granted in 30 years, just under the 480 given in spring 2005.

The keynote speaker was J. Philip McCormick, C.P.A., Kingsville native and alumnus of Texas A&I University. McCormick received his bachelor's degree in business administration, cum laude; and a master's degree in business and economics from Texas A&I University. He is currently chairman of the board of the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Foundation Inc.

He currently is a director and audit committee member of Renaissance Capital Growth and Income Fund III Inc., director and board committee chairman of a privately owned manufacturing and distribution company with $200 million in annual sales and is senior advisor to Stonehenge Capital Company LLC, a private equity firm.

There were 478 bachelor's degrees and 133 master's degrees given. Fourteen graduates received doctoral degrees. Two students received two degrees each.

Among the bachelor's graduates, 129 were from the Texas A&M University-Kingsville System Center-San Antonio.

The majority of the members of the spring class of 2007 were from Texas with 564 from the Lone Star State. Thirteen were from other states and 46 were from other countries when they entered the university.

The most frequent county of origin was Bexar with 151 graduates, followed by Kleberg with 75, Nueces with 72, Hidalgo with 34 and Jim Wells with 29. More than half the class, 57 percent, were women. Sixty-four percent of the graduating students were minorities.

Of the bachelor's graduates, more than 38 percent entered the university as first-time freshmen while the remaining graduates were transfer students. The average age of those receiving bachelor's degrees was 27. The average age of a master's graduate was 31 and the average of the doctoral students was 41. The oldest graduate was 54 and the youngest was 21.

Five of the graduates were university employees earning two bachelor's, two master's and one doctorate.

The College of Education led the way granting 179 degrees from all levels. It was followed by the College of Arts and Sciences with 164 and the College of Business Administration with 121. Rounding out the list, the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering had 111 graduates and the College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences had 50 graduates.

Local and area graduates:

Agua Dulce: Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering: Matthew Alan Estrada, cum laude; Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology: David Rosalio Diaz, magna cum laude

Alice: Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science: Irma Gomez; Bachelor of Arts: Oseas Vela; Bachelor of Business Administration: Martin Alvarado Jr., Higinio Garcia Jr.; Bachelor of Fine Arts: Jesus Adrian Rodriguez, magna cum laude; Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering: Kenneth Ositadinma Nwosu; Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering: Eulalio Orta III; Bachelor of Science in Human Sciences: Marivel Rodriguez; Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology: Christopher John Hinojosa; Bachelor of Science: Kelly Ann Dawson, cum laude, Perla Garza, Nicole Jeanette Hayzlett, cum laude, Theresa Diane Phillips, summa cum laude, Erika Razo, Carrie Marie Winston, summa cum laude; Bachelor of Social Work: Priscilla Martinez, Annette Medellin, Susan Jenae Thompson, magna cum laude; Master of Science: April Michelle Taylor, Jay Manning Viertel

Ben Bolt: Bachelor of Science: Yvette Everett-Villanueva, Roxanne Godinez, magna cum laude

Benavides: Bachelor of Business Administration: Delisa Marie Carrillo; Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering: Tomas Cardenas III; Bachelor of Social Work: Angelita Salinas Garcia; Master of Science: Linda Vasquez-Stockwell

Falfurrias: Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science: Patricia Ann Tijerina; Bachelor of Arts: Jessica Marie Cuellar, cum laude, Gina Nicole Pena, cum laude; Bachelor of Business Administration: Daisy Lynn Vela-Garza; Bachelor of Science: Mikayla Boerjan, Roberto Roel Castillo, Jessica M. Quintanilla, Salvador Antonio Ramon, Paul Silvas Jr.; Master of Science: Criselda M. Benavides, Marcos Jacinto Benavides,

Orange Grove: Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science: William Ward McClendon; Bachelor of Science in Agriculture: Angela Radcliff Scott, summa cum laude, Samantha Jo Srp, magna cum laude; Bachelor of Science: Regina R. Villarreal

Premont: Bachelor of Science in Agriculture: Raul Ray Hinojosa; Bachelor of Science: Robert Ramirez

Realitos: Bachelor of Science: Jessica Nicole Garcia

Refugio: Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science: Philip James McGuill

San Diego: Bachelor of Arts: April San Miguel, cum laude; Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering: Samantha Michole Everett Torres; Master of Business Administration: Celeste Ann Morales, Nora P. Morales; Master of Science: Sonia Garcia, Yvonne J. Munoz

Sandia: Master of Science: Lindsey Kay Kunz