Commencement speaker to see Tarleton campus for first time

Roberto Ortiz

STEPHENVILLE (December 12, 2018) — Roberto Ortiz has never set foot on the Stephenville campus of Tarleton State University.

He’ll be there at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, though, standing on stage addressing his fellow graduates at commencement exercises.

Roberto, the outstanding graduate from the College of Graduate Studies, earned his master’s degree in management and leadership, taking online courses the last three years from his home in South Texas.

Holding a bachelor’s degree in information systems from South Texas College and a full-time IT job, he enrolled at Tarleton to improve his résumé for career advancement.

“I have a family and I didn’t want to just stay where I was,” he said. “I decided to move forward, to better myself, try to find other ways to make myself more marketable.”

As he graduated in 2014, a trusted adviser at South Texas College suggested Roberto consider signing up for a master’s program at Tarleton.

It took a few months for the advice to fully sink in.

“It was a big accomplishment, getting my bachelor’s,” he said. “I was the first in my family to finish high school, to graduate from college. But the words resonated with me. He told me to look up Tarleton. I didn’t even know what Tarleton was. He said, ‘Try it out. I’m pretty sure you’ll find it useful.’”

A married family man with daughters ages 8 and 13, Roberto lives in McAllen. Although his job and his studies keep him busy, his few spare hours revolve around his wife and girls.

“The little time I have right now I enjoy being with my family,” he said. “Both of my daughters are competitive swimmers, so we spend a lot of time at the pool.”

During his time studying at Tarleton, Roberto became a member of Delta Mu Delta business honor society.

“My favorite part of my master’s studies has been the challenges,” he said. “Every instructor is different. They each have different ways they deliver instruction. That’s one of the things that has been most interesting for me.

“I think they helped me learn to adapt. To try to understand different perspectives, different points of view, different cultures and different ways of thinking.”

The subject of his commencement speech is the importance of goal setting.

“Not because they’re easy but because they’re hard. Being a Hispanic American, being the first in my family to graduate college — on top of that being the commencement speaker — it’s all a matter of setting goals. Not because they’re easy. They must be hard.

“We don’t know what we can accomplish until we set our goals. If I’m able to accomplish this, anyone can do it. We have to set high goals and commit to doing the work. Once you set your goals and trust the Lord, anything is possible.”

Now with a master’s degree, Roberto is considering continuing his education, perhaps pursuing a doctorate in management.

But those considerations can wait, at least for a while.

“Right now,” he said, “I’m just enjoying the time.”

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