• by Steve Lang •

Three-time graduate Eddie Sandoval, who has combined a lengthy career in education with his work as a Native American preservationist, will deliver the commencement address at Sul Ross State University-Alpine’s spring graduation exercises Friday, May 17.

Sul Ross-Alpine ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. in the Pete P. Gallego Center. Rio Grande College will hold graduation exercises Saturday, May 18, 7:30 p.m. in the Del Rio Civic Center.

A total of 255 students are candidates for degrees, 172 at Sul Ross-Alpine and 83at RGC.

At Sul Ross-Alpine, the Sul Ross Commencement Band, directed by Dr. Jeffrey Meyer, assistant professor of Music, will play the processional, “Pomp and Circumstance,” and the recessional, “Victors March.” Dr. Joseph Velasco, associate professor of Communication, will be the macebearer and will read the names of the graduates. Dr. Kevin Urbanczyk, professor of Geology and Dr. James Zech, professor of Biology, will serve as marshals.

Sul Ross President Dr. Bill Kibler will introduce the speaker and confer degrees. Dr. Jimmy Case, Executive Vice President and Provost for Academic Affairs, will preside over the ceremony, deliver the welcome, introduce the platform party and announce honors and recognitions.

Anissa Garcia, El Paso, who will graduate magna cum laude, will deliver the invocation. Dr. Andrew Alegria, director of Choral Music and Vocal Studies, will lead the singing of “God Bless America” and “Alma Mater.”

Sandoval, Arlington, who holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in industrial technology as well as a master’s degree in educational counseling from Sul Ross, spent over 40 years in secondary and higher education. After teaching and coaching for five years in San Antonio, he worked nearly 40 years at Tarrant County College, Fort Worth, retiring in 2011 as head of counseling.

Alongside his education and counseling careers, Sandoval, who has ancestors in the Mescalero and Chiricahua Apache tribes of Geronimo, has become well known as a Native American preservationist and historian.  He also became a Sun Dancer at Pine Ridge, South Dakota in the early 1990s, a distinction enabling him to carry out numerous ceremonies and blessings.

For his decades of work advocating for the people of Tribal Nations and representing and preserving Native American heritage, Sandoval was inducted into the Texas Trail of Fame on May 14, 2018.  The Trail of Fame honor comes with a bronze marker inlaid at the historic Fort Worth Stockyards.

The Eddie Sandoval Industrial Technology Excellence Fund, created in 2018 with an endowment from Margie Reynolds of Granbury, assists Sul Ross students through scholarships, graduate assistantships, research project funding, equipment, and supplies.

“Eddie is a unique individual who Sul Ross should be proud to recognize,” said Sul Ross alumnus Sharon Henderson.  “When I think of Eddie, I hear him saying, ‘How can I help?’”