Doctoral Candidates Highlight Graduation

December 17, 2018


Woman standing at podium and three graduates seated on stage.
Top: Dania Martinez Diaz gave the student address at Saturday’s commencement ceremony at Wayland Baptist University. Martinez graduated as highest ranking senior with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish education.  Bottom: Three students were among the first to ever graduate from Wayland with a doctoral degree. Jessica Williams, Angelica Landry and Christian Homan were hooded during Saturday’s commencement exercises. The three were among the first cohort to earn their Doctor of Management degree.

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University celebrated a historical milestone Saturday afternoon, recognizing three students who were among the first in school history to graduate with a doctoral degree.

Christian Homan of Albuquerque, N.M., Angelica Landry of Sierra Vista, Ariz., and Jessica Williams of Lubbock were recognized for their accomplishments as member of the first doctoral cohort in school history. A fourth member of the cohort, Howard DeMotta, was recognized a few weeks earlier in a graduation ceremony in Hawaii.

Wayland President Dr. Bobby Hall took a moment to recognize the graduates.

“The doctoral degree is considered a terminal degree, the highest that can be earned in its academic discipline,” Hall said. “These are Pioneers in the truest sense of the word, and feel free to call them Dr. Homan, Dr. Landry and Dr. Williams after today’s ceremony. I promise you, they will like that a lot.”

Dania Martinez Diaz, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish education gave the student address. Diaz, who immigrated to the United States from San Andres Michoacan, Mexico, told her story of facing challenges in school due to her language barrier, as English is her second language. She said there were times when she felt scared, sad or anxious, but she continued to focus on education. She was even told that there would be no way she could maintain a 4.0 grade point average throughout college. On Saturday, however, Diaz graduated Summa Cum Laude with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Diaz used her personal testimony to challenge her fellow graduates to face obstacles head on.

“We all have experienced moments of disappointment,” Diaz said. “Life will try to knock you down many times. Eventually there will be challenges ahead, but the actions you take will determine who you are. You will not only be defined by your accomplishments, but by the way you overcome these challenges.”

Joining Diaz as highest ranking graduates with 4.0 GPAs was Kaelene Hansen, an English major from Cotton Center, and Curtis Joseph, a human services major from Trinidad.

  • December 2018 graduating class
  • Doctor of Management: Christian Homan, Albuquerque, NM; Angelica Landry, Sierra Vista, AZ; Jessica Williams, Lubbock, TX.
  • Master of Arts in Counseling: Melissa Cantu, Levelland, TX; Kelsey Cooper, Midland, TX; K’Lee Beth Gonzales, Plainview, TX; Kenya Krebs-Templeton, Harrold, TX; Rhonda Nasser, The Woodlands, TX; Annysa Plata, Watauga, TX; Mercedes Rios, Lockney, TX.
  • Master of Arts in English: Morgan Dixon, Lubbock TX.
  • Master of Arts in History: Jordan Arriaga, Sacramento, CA.
  • Master of Arts in Management: Tracy Hurst, Robinson, TX; Jason Smith, Plainview, TX.
  • Master of Business Administration: Kesley Gittens, Saint Philip, Barbados; Ida Richards, Lubbock, TX.
  • Master of Education: Bonnie Belcher, Earth, TX; Alexis Hall, Lockney, TX; Ida Richards, Lubbock, TX; Gladys Scott, Fort Worth, TX; Melissa Sutton, Lubbock, TX; Gary Tipton II, Plainview, TX; William Warner, College Station, TX.
  • Master of Public Administration: Alicia Bricker, Parker, CO; Aldrich Jones, Chicago, IL.
  • Bachelor of Applied Science: Anthony Cortez, Amarillo, TX; Michael Dillon, League City, TX; Ashley Evans, Arlington, TX; Christine Hill, Raleigh, NC; Rachel Janezich, Plainview, TX; Curtis Joseph, Belmont, Trinidad; Rachael Kennedy, Amarillo, TX; Judy Nava, Amarillo, TX; Bernard Perez, O’Fallon, MO; Mario Perez, Jr., Plainview, TX; Raul Porras, Jr., Odessa, TX; Michael Romero, Austin, TX; Rocky Rosas, Plainview, TX; Mandy Whitlock, Lubbock, TX; Marko Zelic, Novi Sad, Serbia.
  • Bachelor of Arts: Ricardo Carrillo, Wichita Falls, TX; Timothy Davis, Liberal, KS; Dania Martinez Diaz, San Andrés Michoacán, Mexico; Elizandro Esquivel, Plainview, TX; Matthew Flores, Lubbock, TX; Raquel Garcia, Plainview, TX; Tanner Gausin, Plainview, TX; Kaelene Hansen, Cotton Center, TX; Tamara Lucero, Carlsbad, NM; Rebecca Poppenhusen, Rosenberg, TX; Jasmine Rojas, Plainview, TX; Anita Salazar, Hereford, TX; Christopher Santos, Lubbock, TX; Caleb Swofford, Nocona, TX.
  • Bachelor of Business Administration: Jackson Harbison, Shallowater, TX; Devonté Hayden, Dallas, TX; Claudia Lusk, Plainview, TX; Elisabeth Piroli, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Richard Parham II, Columbus, OH; Megan Sharratt, Albuquerque, NM; Damarea Speller, El Paso, TX; Raymond Tarango III, Lubbock, TX.
  • Bachelor of Music: Bailee Garnes, Richmond, TX; Brylee Gover, Lubbock, TX.
  • Bachelor of Science: Mohamad Chahine, Beirut, Lebanon; Crystal Davenport, Plainview, TX; Nikolay Essani, Plainview, TX; Treagan Kendrick, Big Spring, TX; Sarah Langford, Pampa, TX; Eric Lunsford, Plainview, TX; Ashley McCutcheon, San Antonio, TX; Maci Merket, Canadian, TX; Gabriel Pérez, El Paso, TX; DeMarco Speller, El Paso, TX; Sara van der Leek, Plainview, TX; Dillan Vigil, Farmington, NM; Gabriela Villarreal, Plainview, TX.
  • Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies: Barbara Garcia, Plainview, TX; Erica Kear, Perryton, TX; Christopher Ramirez, El Paso, TX.