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TTU News

Greg Gonzales, Tennessee's acting Commissioner of Financial Institutions, shared his thoughts about how being a Tennessee Tech University alumnus shaped his identity and skills as he addressed more than 390 graduates at commencement ceremonies at Eblen Center on Saturday morning.

Gonzales described working for a member of British parliament after graduating from TTU with a history degree and meeting a fellow Tennessee Tech graduate while attending church in London.

"I cannot tell you what it meant to me, even for a short time, to see a Tech grad and to feel that bond of friendship," he said. "So it was clear to me early on just how far the Tech family extends."

Gonzales thanked many professors by name and told the audience how he applied what he learned at TTU to his current position.

"I remember professor Nolan Fowler's courses that introduced me to a way of thinking about issues that I had not considered before," he said. "I see that analysis in so many different ways today such as reviewing an application to determine whether a new bank should be established in Tennessee, responding to the U.S. Congress on discrimination issues, determining whether certain activities discovered by department examiners warrant a referral to the FBI and analyzing legislative issues on an annual basis, just to name a few of the ways my education helps me today."

As a young graduate who knew he wanted to purse a career in public service, Gonzales said he looked to those area citizens who had made contributions to the community and the country.

"Alvin York, Cordell Hull, the Gores, Joan and Everett Derryberry, representative Les Winningham, and the Tommy Burks family are examples of such individuals and we honor them because they represent public service at its best," said Gonzales.

"And now our state and your communities look to you to be the best teachers, the best nurses, the best engineers and the best citizens you can be," he added.

He said though he realized that Tennesseans were looking to him to keep the banking system secure, he was humbled by thinking about the people he serves.

"Lest we in Nashville think too highly of ourselves, we fully realize that Tennessee's strength is in its neighborhoods and communities led by you," said Gonzales.

TTU's summer graduates hailed from 30 states including Tennessee, 57 Tennessee counties and 46 foreign countries. They represented 30 undergraduate fields of study and 18 graduate fields. Following summer commencement, Tennessee Tech has granted more than 58,000 degrees.

Four graduates received doctorates on Saturday. Doctorates were awarded to Laura Marie Graves in exceptional learning, Tapan K. Manna in engineering, Chandra Lekha Pallem in engineering and Richard Adam Roberts in engineering.