Commencement Speakers

Spring 2024 Commencement Special Guest Speaker

Kelly Damphousse, Texas State University President.

Dr. Kelly Damphousse

President, Texas State University

Dr. Kelly Damphousse serves as the tenth president of Texas State University, with campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. As a first-generation college student, President Damphousse knows the life-changing impact that higher education can have on a student’s life.
Kelly was adopted as a child and was raised in a small fishing village in northern Canada. His adoptive parents took in foster children throughout his childhood, which left him with a passion for creating a just society. He had two early ambitions, the first being to become a goalie in the National Hockey League. After a failed attempt at a hockey tryout, he pursued his second dream to be a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer.
In pursuit of this dream, Kelly earned an associate degree in law enforcement from Lethbridge Community College in Canada and later worked as a prison guard for three years. He was encouraged by a former instructor to earn a criminal justice degree at Sam Houston State, where he met his future wife, Beth. Kelly now considers Texas to be his “home state,” and he has since earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in sociology from Texas A&M University.

President Damphousse began his academic career at the University of Alabama and then at Sam Houston State University, before joining the faculty at the University of Oklahoma. His research areas have focused on terrorism and the criminal justice system. Before moving back to Texas in 2022, Kelly served as the chancellor at Arkansas State University for five years.

Past Commencement Speakers

  • 2023 (Fall) Dr. Barbara Mink, ACC Board of Trustees Chair and founding member of the Austin Community College District
  • 2023 (Spring) Dr. Harrison Keller, Commissioner of Higher Education for the State of Texas and chief executive officer for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
  • 2022 (Fall) Afua Bruce, Principal of the ANB Advisory Group LLC
  • 2022 (Spring) Mr. Abdul Subhani, President/CEO of Centex Technologies
  • 2021 (Fall) Mr. Pete Winstead, founding shareholder of Winstead PC, & Mrs. Tomi Winstead, founding member of KLRU’s Producer’s Circle
  • 2021 (Spring) Edward Escudero, President/CEO of High Desert Capital, LLC, and Margarita “Margie” Escudero, critical care-certified registered nurse and El Paso Community Supporter
  • 2020 (Fall) Sen. Kirk P. Watson, Founding Dean of the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs
  • 2020 (Spring) Reverend George V. Clark, pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church
  • 2019 (Fall) Massey Villarreal, CEO and President of Precision Task Group, Inc. (PTG)
  • 2019 (Spring): Dr.Philip Uri Treisman, Distinguished Teaching Professor, The University of Texas at Austin; Founder and Executive Director of UT Austin’s Charles A. Dana Center
  • 2018 (Fall): Dr. Thomas M. Hatfield, first President/CEO of the Austin Community College District
  • 2018 (Spring) Dr. Rufus Glasper, President and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College
  • 2017 (Fall) Roy Spence, Co-founder and Chairman, GSD&M and Co-founder/CEO, The Purpose Institute
  • 2017 (Spring) Dr. Byron McClenney, former community college CEO. and Dr. Kay McClenney, founding partner of Achieving the Dream
  • 2016 (Fall) Gus Garcia, Former Austin Mayor, founding member, ACC Board of Trustees, and Marina Garcia, Educator and Community Volunteer
  • 2016 (Spring) Art Acevedo, Austin Chief of Police 
  • 2015 (Fall) Belle S. Wheelan, Ph.D., President, Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools
  • 2015 (Spring) Dr. Walter Bumphus, president/CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, and Dr. Aileen Bumphus, executive director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence Gateway Scholars Program
  • 2014 (Fall) Victor Hwang, Executive Director of the Global Innovation Summit
  • 2014 (Spring) Dr. Dan Arvizu, Director & Chief Executive of National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • 2013 (Fall) Ben Barnes, Former Lieutenant Governor of Texas
  • 2013 (Spring) Andres Alcantar, Texas Workforce Commission Chairman
  • 2012 (Fall) Wilhelmina Delco, Former Texas State Representative, founding member, ACC Board of Trustees, and Dr. Exalton Delco, Former ACC Vice-President, Academic Affairs
  • 2012 (Spring) Dr. John Roueche, UT-Austin Community College Leadership Program, and Dr. Suanne Roueche, Editor, NISOD Publications, Senior Lecturer, College of Education, UT-Austin
  • 2011 Kirk Watson, Texas State Senator
  • 2010 Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, President, Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools
  • 2009 Wilhelmina Delco, Former Texas State Representative, founding member, ACC Board of Trustees
  • 2008 Donna Howard, Texas State Representative
  • 2007 Mark Strama, Texas State Representative
  • 2006 Richard Oppel, Editor, Austin American Statesman
  • 2005 Toby Hammett Futrell, City Manager, City of Austin
  • 2004 Gustavo Garcia Austin Mayor
  • 2003 Reynaldo Garcia, Executive Director, Texas Association of Community Colleges
  • 2002 Della May Moore, Outgoing Board of Trustees member
  • 2001 Carole Keeton Rylander, State Comptroller
  • 2000 Will Davis, Founding Member, ACC Board of Trustees
  • 1999 Kirk P. Watson, Mayor, City of Austin
  • 1998 Congressman Lloyd Doggett, U.S. House of Representatives, District 10
  • 1997 Dr. Richard Fonte, President, ACC
  • 1996 Barry Waite, Senior Vice-President Motorola
  • 1995 Dr. Donald G. Phelps, W.K. Kellogg Regents Professor, UT
  • 1994 Dr. Bill Segura, President, ACC
  • 1993 Dr. Charles A. Green, Chancellor, Houston Community College System
  • 1992 Dr. Manuel J. Justiz, A.M. Aikin Regents Chair in Education Leadership, UT
  • 1991 Rod A. Risley, Executive Director, Phi Theta Kappa
  • 1990 Lawrence Williford, Sr. VP Corporate Relations, Allstate Insurance Company
  • 1989 Hon. Parker McCollough, Texas House of Representatives
  • 1988 Larry Jenkins, VP, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company
  • 1987 Dr. William H. Pickens, Executive Director, California Postsecondary Higher Education Commission
  • 1986 Gonzalo Barrientos, State Senator, District 14
  • 1985 Dr. Dan Angell, President, ACC
  • 1984 Dr. Lorrin Kennamer, Dean, College of Education, UT
  • 1983 Raymond Bynum, Commissioner, Texas Education Agency
  • 1982 J. J. Pickle, Congressman, 10th Congressional District
  • 1981 Br. Stephen Wlash, President, St. Edward’s University
  • 1980 Dr. Kenneth Ashworth, Commissioner THECB
  • 1979 Wilhelmina Delco, State Representative District 37-D
  • 1978 Carole McClellan, Mayor, City of Austin
  • 1977 Lloyd Doggett, Member, Texas Senate
  • 1976 Jimmy Snell, Mayor Pro Tempore, City of Austin
  • 1975 Gonzalo Barrientos, Texas House of Representatives
  • 1974 C.C. Colvert, Professor Emeritus, Community College Education, UT

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