By: Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO, Texas — It’s a historical weekend for the University of Texas at El Paso when its centennial class crosses the stage.
Maria Mendoza is one of those proud to call herself a member of the centennial class of 2014.
“This is like my house. I literally live here,” said Mendoza.
It’s the end of the road for Mendoza. When she crosses the stage at the Sun Bowl Saturday night she will receive the highest degree she can obtain.
“You can’t go any further than this. This is it,” said Mendoza
Mendoza has earned her doctorate in family nursing practice.
But she said the degree doesn’t just mean a lot to her.
“It impacts my community, how I provide care to my patients. The way I deliver care to them,” said Mendoza, who currently practices at a local hospital.
She tells KFOX14 she plans to stay in the same job after graduation.
Soon-to-be Dr. Mendoza is no stranger to the pomp and circumstance of graduation day. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UTEP as well and earned an associate degree prior to attending UTEP.
But this year will be different.
“It’s the centennial. I’m so happy to be a part of this historical moment for UTEP,” she said.
Plus it’s the first time since 1998 UTEP will pack all the graduates into the Sun Bowl and hold a solo ceremony.
“I’m proud to be part of this huge, monumental event for UTEP,” she said.
If the 10 years it took Mendoza to earn her hood and Ph.D. were long, the ceremony will be quick.
“It has been a rough road to get here,” said Mendoza.
But the degree is defining.
“Huge doors open for everyone who wants to continue their education. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t,” said Mendoza.
Education is not only important for Mendoza but for her children as well.
“They tell me I’m their inspiration. That means a lot,” said Mendoza.
For those of you who won’t be sitting in the Sun Bowl tomorrow night we will be live streaming coverage of graduation on our website KFOXTV.COM starting at 7 p.m.
Published 5/16/14 at http://www.kfoxtv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/utep-graduate-obtain-highest-educational-degree-part-centennial-class-4902.shtml#.U3fqWIFdWSo