Commencement Close-Up: Willie James Black Jr. values symbol of accomplishments

ring ceremony
ring ceremony
ring ceremony

Top photo: UTSA student Willie James Black Jr. with his new UTSA ring
Middle photo: Gage E. Paine (UTSA vice president for student affairs) presents ring to Black
Bottom photo: The whole family admires the ring: From left are Willie James Black Jr., Lisandra Black (wife), Taina Black (daughter), Willie James Black Sr. (father) and Willie James Black III (son)

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(May 8, 2012) -- As another academic year wraps up, many UTSA students are preparing for the final leg of the road to graduation. At this point in a student's academic career, momentum becomes important; the UTSA ring and ring presentation ceremony inspire students by reminding them of just how far they have come.

More than 260 UTSA students received their rings at a May 7 ceremony in the Convocation Center on the Main Campus. Alumni and students who have completed 60 credit hours are eligible to participate in the ceremony.

Willie James Black Jr., one of the students receiving a ring, will receive his doctoral degree in educational leadership on May 11. The graduate student understands the ring can have many meanings to various students.

"I feel like it was important for me to get a ring to signify my accomplishments, and I wanted some kind of connection to UTSA," said Black. "UTSA is a prestigious university -- we are moving toward Tier One status -- and is a place I can really be proud of."

Black admitted that the road to graduation was overwhelming at times, but gives credit to the tremendous support from his family, who were enjoying the evening celebration.

"I'm very proud of my husband," said Lisandra Black. "It's been a long road. Now we can finally rest and look forward to celebrating his achievements."

Regardless of major, graduation is the one goal most students have in common. As UTSA continues to grow, so do the traditions of the university. The ring forms a symbol that connects students past, present and future.

The UTSA Office of Alumni Programs administers the UTSA ring program. For more information, call 210-458-4133 or visit the UTSA Alumni Programs website and select "Official UTSA Ring."