This year’s spring commencement marked a major milestone for the Mays Executive MBA Program. The program welcomed its first group of students in 1999. And, after two years of giving up their weekends and commuting to The Woodlands, all 40 members of Class I attended the ceremony to receive their hard-earned advanced business degrees.

“This class had a definite dynamic,” said Kathy Thompson, a Class I participant and vice president for information technology planning and process management for Verizon. “After going through the program together, we decided we all had to support each other and walk across the stage to receive our degrees. We feel like it’s the final and is very important to us as a group because it is the last time we’ll all be together.”

Approximately 200 of the class’ family and friends came to campus from around the country to attend graduation and a luncheon hosted by the Executive MBA Program Office.


“Receiving this degree is very important to them,” said Julie Orzabal, associate director of the program. “This was a very successful class and they really set the precedent for the classes following them.”

In addition to attending graduation festivities, many of the Executive MBA students have ordered Aggie rings, excluding those who received their bachelor’s from the University of Texas at Austin, said Orzabal with a laugh.

Regardless of the fact that they aren’t considered “traditional” A&M students by many because they met off campus, for Thompson obtaining her ring in August will be the final rite of passage into the Aggie family. “I feel a very strong kinship with the other participants and with Texas A&M,” she said. “Receiving a ring and becoming a part of the Aggie Network is all part of earning the degree.”