By Chip Chandler

More than 1,000 students ages 19 to 65 will graduate in West Texas A&M University’s Dec. 11 commencement ceremonies.

Students from the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, College of Education and Social Sciences and the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities will take part in the 10 a.m. Dec. 11 ceremony.

Students in the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business, College of Engineering and College of Nursing and Health Sciences will take part in the 2 p.m. Dec. 11 ceremony.

Both ceremonies will take place inside the First United Bank Center, 3301 Fourth Ave. in Canyon.

In all, 1,069 students have earned undergraduate or graduate degrees.

The morning ceremony will include the graduation of the first cohort of approximately 20 students in the doctor of education in educational leadership program. The Ed.D. program was launched in 2018 to better prepare educational leaders at rural school districts.

“Commencement allows the University community to come together to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of our students,” said WT President Walter V. Wendler. “We are proud that these Buffs will now go out and make their mark on the region and the world.”

The ceremonies will be livestreamed at wtamu.edu/commencement for those with health concerns and those who cannot travel to Canyon. Face masks are not required but are welcome. Social distancing is encouraged.

A Donning of the Stoles ceremony — a tradition among African-American, Hispanic and international students —will take place at 6 p.m. Dec. 10 in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center. Parents, family members or friends place a stole on their graduate and express what the student means to them as they move into their next stage of life, said Angela Allen, chief diversity and inclusion officer.

The Class of December 2021 will include 32 veterans and graduates from 40 states and 17 countries. Fifty-three percent, or 565 students, are the first in their family to earn a college degree.

Nearly 10 percent of the graduates will finish with a 4.0 grade point average.