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Commencement Speakers

Spring 2017: Drs. Byron and Kay McClenney


Drs. Byron and Kay McClenney are committed advocates for diversity and equity in higher education.

Lifelong educators devoted to student success, they have worked to bring needed emphasis to issues of structural racism and disproportionate outcomes, institutional effectiveness, leadership, strategic planning, and organizational transformation.

Both graduated with their doctorates from the University of Texas at Austin (UT).

Dr. Kay McClenney is an independent consultant and partner in MC2 Consultants. She serves as senior advisor to the president & CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges. She was founding director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement at UT and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges and the Executive Board of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges. She also served as a founding partner and senior consultant to work on the Achieving the Dream national initiative and continues to serve as a leadership coach for the organization.

Dr. Byron McClenney has committed 55 years as an educator, including almost 33 years as a community college CEO. He served for 10 years as director of student success initiatives at UT. He currently serves on the Colorado State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education and the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative.

Both decorated educators, Drs. Bryon and Kay McClenney received the 2002 PBS O’Banion Prize. Dr. Kay McClenney also has been recognized with the 2009 Mildred Bulpitt Woman of the Year Award from the American Association of Women in Community Colleges, the 2009 International Leadership Award from NISOD, and the 2011 National Leadership Award from the American Association of Community Colleges. In 2014, Phi Theta Kappa honored her with the Alliance for Educational Excellence Award. Dr. Byron McClenney received the 2011 AACC Leadership Award, the 2000 TIAA-CREF Hesburgh Award for the Community College of Denver, and the 1996 NISOD International Leadership Award among others.

Past commencement speakers

  • 2016 (Fall) Gus Garcia, Former Austin Mayor, founding member, ACC Board of Trustees, and Marina Garcia, Educator and Community Volunteer
  • 2016 (Spring) Art Acevedo, Austin Chief of Police 
  • 2015 (Fall) Belle S. Wheelan, Ph.D., President, Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools
  • 2015 (Spring) Dr. Walter Bumphus, president/CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, and Dr. Aileen Bumphus, executive director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence Gateway Scholars Program
  • 2014 (Fall) Victor Hwang, Executive Director of the Global Innovation Summit
  • 2014 (Spring) Dr. Dan Arvizu, Director & Chief Executive of National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • 2013 (Fall) Ben Barnes, Former Lieutenant Governor of Texas
  • 2013 (Spring) Andres Alcantar, Texas Workforce Commission Chairman
  • 2012 (Fall) Wilhelmina Delco, Former Texas State Representative, founding member, ACC Board of Trustees, and Dr. Exalton Delco, Former ACC Vice-President, Academic Affairs
  • 2012 (Spring) Dr. John Roueche, UT-Austin Community College Leadership Program, and Dr. Suanne Roueche, Editor, NISOD Publications, Senior Lecturer, College of Education, UT-Austin
  • 2011 Kirk Watson, Texas State Senator
  • 2010 Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, President, Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools
  • 2009 Wilhelmina Delco, Former Texas State Representative, founding member, ACC Board of Trustees
  • 2008 Donna Howard, Texas State Representative
  • 2007 Mark Strama, Texas State Representative
  • 2006 Richard Oppel, Editor, Austin American Statesman
  • 2005 Toby Hammett Futrell, City Manager, City of Austin
  • 2004 Gustavo Garcia Austin Mayor
  • 2003 Reynaldo Garcia, Executive Director, Texas Association of Community Colleges
  • 2002 Della May Moore, Outgoing Board of Trustees member
  • 2001 Carole Keeton Rylander, State Comptroller
  • 2000 Will Davis, Founding Member, ACC Board of Trustees
  • 1999 Kirk P. Watson, Mayor, City of Austin
  • 1998 Congressman Lloyd Doggett, U.S. House of Representatives, District 10
  • 1997 Dr. Richard Fonte, President, ACC
  • 1996 Barry Waite, Senior Vice-President Motorola
  • 1995 Dr. Donald G. Phelps, W.K. Kellogg Regents Professor, UT
  • 1994 Dr. Bill Segura, President, ACC
  • 1993 Dr. Charles A. Green, Chancellor, Houston Community College System
  • 1992 Dr. Manuel J. Justiz, A.M. Aikin Regents Chair in Education Leadership, UT
  • 1991 Rod A. Risley, Executive Director, Phi Theta Kappa
  • 1990 Lawrence Williford, Sr. VP Corporate Relations, Allstate Insurance Company
  • 1989 Hon. Parker McCollough, Texas House of Representatives
  • 1988 Larry Jenkins, VP, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company
  • 1987 Dr. William H. Pickens, Executive Director, California Postsecondary Higher Education Commission
  • 1986 Gonzalo Barrientos, State Senator, District 14
  • 1985 Dr. Dan Angell, President, ACC
  • 1984 Dr. Lorrin Kennamer, Dean, College of Education, UT
  • 1983 Raymond Bynum, Commissioner, Texas Education Agency
  • 1982 J. J. Pickle, Congressman, 10th Congressional District
  • 1981 Br. Stephen Wlash, President, St. Edward’s University
  • 1980 Dr. Kenneth Ashworth, Commissioner THECB
  • 1979 Wilhelmina Delco, State Representative District 37-D
  • 1978 Carole McClellan, Mayor, City of Austin
  • 1977 Lloyd Doggett, Member, Texas Senate
  • 1976 Jimmy Snell, Mayor Pro Tempore, City of Austin
  • 1975 Gonzalo Barrientos, Texas House of Representatives
  • 1974 C.C. Colvert, Professor Emeritus, Community College Education, UT
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