Graduates present new era for SWT

Date of release: 04/25/00

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — Southwest Texas State University will acquire three unique alumni after May 13. The graduating class of May 2000 will host SWT’s first two Ph.D. graduates and its third honorary doctorate recipient, Gil Grosvenor, chairman of the National Geographic Society Board of Trustees and of its Education Foundation.

Beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 12, in Strahan Coliseum, Todd Votteler from Dallas and Lisa DeChano from Clarendon, Penn. will become the first-ever Ph.D. recipients of Southwest Texas. During SWT’s graduate commencement ceremonies, both will receive doctoral degrees in geography. Votteler was the first to become a Ph.D. candidate in February after successfully defending his dissertation, Water from a Stone: The Limits of Sustainable Development of the Edwards Aquifer. He earned his bachelor of science degree from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and a master of science from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Lisa DeChano and Todd Votteler will become SWT’s first Ph.D. graduates and will receive their doctorate degrees in Geography during the 7 p.m., May 12 ceremony in Strahan coliseum.

DeChano successfully defended her dissertation, Geohazard Perception in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA, in March. She earned a bachelor of science in general physics from Juniata College in Pennsylvania, a master of science in space studies from the University of North Dakota and a master of arts in geography from Ohio University.

During this year’s 2 p.m. undergraduate ceremony on May 13 in Strahan Coliseum, SWT will honor Grosvenor with a doctor of geographic education, honoris causa. Grosvenor is the third recipient of an honorary doctorate from SWT, in the company of Lyndon Johnson, former president of the United States, who received his honorary doctor of laws degree in 1962 as vice president of the United States and former Lady Bird Johnson, former first lady, who received an honorary doctor of human letters in 1983.

Grosvenor joined the National Geographic Society staff in 1954 as a picture editor after graduating from Yale University. He served as editor of National Geographic from 1970 to 1980, when he became the society’s 14th president. He retired in 1996 as president of the society, the fifth generation of his family to serve in the position.

More than 2,000 students are degree candidates in this May’s graduating class. The expected number of undergraduates to receive diplomas this is 1,644, with 398 graduates from the Graduate College.

Robert Gratz, acting president of SWT, will speak at this year’s graduate ceremony, and Gil Grosvenor will speak at both the 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. undergraduate ceremonies. Rita Sopchak from Rosenberg, who will receive a degree in consumer science, is the scheduled undergraduate student speaker during the morning ceremony, and Jeffrey Jacoby from Duncanville, who is receiving a BFA in theatre, is the student speaker during the afternoon ceremony.