Mother and veteran graduates, earns master’s degree from UT Tyler

Local News

TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Hundreds of students walked across the graduation stage at the University of Texas at Tyler on Friday.

It was raining, but this didn’t stop the college from celebrating students’ accomplishments. People from the class of 2020 and 2021 were present.

Karla Bautista graduated with a public administration master’s degree. She is the first in her family to achieve this. Bautista is the youngest of nine children and a veteran and mother of two.

“I was the first to join the military. Being a first. It’s a proud moment for me and my mom,” Bautista said.

1,697 students are scheduled to graduate. There will be a total of six ceremonies at Patriot Plaza Friday through Saturday. The events are spread out so family and friends have a chance to social distance and enjoy the day.

The university required everyone to wear masks. Ponchos were optional.

It wasn’t the most ideal graduation, but university leaders said they’re proud of every student that crossed the stage.

“It reminds me you know of how far they’ve come, how far I’ve come. It wasn’t too long ago when I was wearing my regalia and actually graduating, so being able to see them take that next step in their lives that’s why I do this,” said Cody Dillard, UT Tyler.

Most of the students graduating are from the school of nursing. With a shortage of medical workers here in East Texas, some of these young adults can help fill that need.

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