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Lamar to confer 683 degrees; Charlie Amato keynote speaker

amatoLamar University will confer 683 degrees at summer commencement August 16 in the Montagne Center.  Texas State University System regent and entrepreneur, Charlie Amato, will be the keynote speaker.  The ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. for the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business and Engineering, Education and Human Development and Fine Arts and Communication.

Graduates hail from eight countries, 21 states outside Texas and 200 cities and towns in Texas. Lamar will award 683 degrees to 681 graduation candidates – 13 for doctorates; 415 for master’s degrees, 248 for bachelor’s degrees and seven for associate degrees.  Doctorates include nine in educational leadership, one doctor of audiology and three doctor of engineering.

Two students will earn two bachelor’s degrees; one will earn a Bachelor of Business Administration in general business and a Bachelor of Business Administration in entrepreneurship.  The other will earn a Bachelor of Science in fashion retailing/merchandising and a Bachelor of Science in exercise science and fitness management. The master’s candidates include 314 students who will earn degrees in education as part of Lamar’s online education program.

Texas State University System regent and San Antonio-based entrepreneur, Charlie Amato, will deliver the commencement address.  Amato was reappointed to the Texas State University System Board of Regents in 2013 to serve a second, six-year term as a regent after serving as Chairman.  According to TSUS Chancellor Brian McCall, regents aren’t usually appointed to a second term, which speaks volumes about the level of respect and admiration he commands in the state.  He is the Chairman and Co-founder of SWBC, a San Antonio-based diversified financial services company which provides a wide-range of insurance, mortgages, and investments to individuals, businesses, and financial institutions.  Along with his business partner, Gary Dudley, SWBC began on April 1, 1976, with just $1,500 starting capital.  Today, SWBC is an international company with nearly 2,000 employees.

SWBC has been recognized as “One of the Best Companies to Work for in Texas” for the past three years.  The majority of SWBC's products are targeted towards reducing risk, enhancing financial results, and improving profitability for clients.  

Known and respected for his innovative, relationship-building approach, Amato has received recognition and several awards, including induction into the Texas Business Hall of Fame.  He was also named one of the San Antonio Business Journal’s “Most Influential San Antonians.” In 2012, he received the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s Salute to Excellence Award, and in 2009, he received the Beta Gamma Sigma Medallion for Entrepreneurship.  In addition, Amato is a member of the Business and Community Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, vice chairman of the Texas Business Leadership Council, 2014 Chairman of the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, and the 2013-2014 presiding chair of the campaign cabinet for the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Foundation.

Raised in Texas City, Amato earned his Bachelor of Business Administration at Sam Houston State University, where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He has maintained close ties with his alma mater over the years, and is past Chairman of the College of Business Advisory Council.  He received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001 and was inducted into the College of Business Hall of Honor in 2006. 

Regent Amato recognizes the importance of giving back to the community in which he has prospered. Some of his civic and charitable activities include serving in various capacities for the University of the Incarnate Word Board of Trustees; CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health Care Corp. Board of Directors; Catholic Community Foundation; Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

Regent Amato’s wife is Cathy and he has two adult children, Marcus and Allison.

President Evans will present Plummer Awards, recognizing the top academic graduates. Students graduating summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude with bachelor’s degrees will also be recognized as they accept their diplomas. Steve Doblin, provost and vice president for academic affairs, will introduce Charlie Amato as speaker and certify degree candidates. 

The ceremony will begin as Barbara Hernandez, professor of health and kinesiology and president of the Faculty Senate, leads the academic processional. Paul Hemenway, professor of communication, and Victoria Price, professor of modern languages, will present the graduates for the ceremony. 

The Lamar Wind Ensemble, conducted by Scott Deppe, director of bands, will perform the processional, recessional and musical prelude. Debra Greschner, instructor of music, will lead in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Lamar Alma Mater.