Commencement Spotlight

Sam Houston State University graduates have made remarkable strides in their lives to reach commencement day. Here are a few examples of Bearkats graduates, who have demonstrated a “can-do” spirit through challenges and service, and remind us of the many ways Sam Houston State is preparing students for meaningful lives of achievement.


Brianne Russell

Brianne Russell

“I couldn’t have completed my time at Sam without staying up late studying with my friends, great professors, my internship supervisors and my family’s support.”


Previous Semesters

  • Spring 2021
    Rachel Menchaca

    Rachel Menchaca

    “The School of Music, The College of Education, and Sam Houston State as a whole, have helped me accomplish the soul, the musician, the student, and the educator that I was meant to be.”

    Dustin Gaona

    Dustin Gaona

    After completing 47 hours of core curriculum through Brazosport College, Gaona continued his educational journey at SHSU in 2019 and just two years later, he is happy to be graduating. While his studies at SHSU may have been brief, he certainly made an impact with the campus community, recently earning the ‘Outstanding Freshman Leader’ Sammy Award.

    Ariana Horner Sutherland

    Ariana Horner Sutherland

    “Coming all the way from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, I was happy to find a family in the School of Music here at Sam. I will never forget the connections and memories I've made here with the incredible faculty and students.”

    Jonathan Owens

    Jonathan Owens

    As a first-generation student starting out a SHSU, Jonathan Owens was faced with the many challenges of navigating through a brand-new world with little experience. Despite the struggles, he found the support he needed and the spirit of perseverance to pull-through and earn a degree.

    Eric Webster

    Eric Webster

    “Service toward the wellbeing of others is not a switch that can be turned on or off. It is something one must choose to embrace. It is during disastrous times and experiences such as these, that the meaning of, "The measure of a Life is its Service" is truly understood.”

    Adrian Lira

    Adrian Lira

    “I was very impressed by the representation and diversity of the faculty in the Counselor Education program. This was instrumental in my decision to apply and attend the graduate program. It was the first time that I was taught and, ultimately, mentored by professors who shared my ethnic and cultural background, and who understood the intricacies of being bilingual and providing services in languages other than English.”

    Christian Hockless

    Christian Hockless

    “Learning more about myself has really helped me understand my work ethic and transformation from a kid with ideas, but was too self-conscious and insecure, to someone who speaks up as a leader.”

    Jessica Caceres

    Jessica Caceres

    “My mother taught me that the adversity can bring perspective, and my grandmother showed me the strength found in humility. After I graduate, I hope to live a life that is worthy of their sacrifices.”

    Jordan Johnson

    Jordan Johnson

    Jordan Johnson has been the Sam Houston State University student body president since May 2020. During her time at SHSU, she was also a part of the Orange Pride, served as co-executive director of the Center for Diversity & Intercultural Affairs, was the 2020 Miss Piney Woods Pageant winner, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Alpha Kappa Psi.

    Katie Willard

    Katie Willard

    Katie Willard currently serves as an inventory specialist with SHSU Facilities Management. She is the recipient of the Wood Matthews Scholarship Fund, the Loretta J Hankins Endowed Scholarship, the John C. and Wilma McAdams Memorial Scholarship, the Joe M. MacKenzie Scholarship, and the Jim Stevens Information Technology Scholarship.