Mesquite reporters interviewed alumni before they return to campus for the university’s inaugural reunion weekend June 28-29.
By Christian Toler
Jamie Rapp was not your average student. Twenty-eight years out of high school she started higher-education classes in her 40s, beginning her journey at Palo Alto College as a history major before attending Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
Having worked in accounting and collections, Rapp changed her major and got an associate and BBA in accounting and an MBA in professional accounting — all in three years.
Now a procurement specialist, Rapp works as a buyer for the Metropolitan Health District using federal grants to make purchases. She plans to visit A&M-San Antonio as an alumna for the Class of 2009’s 10-year reunion.
When Rapp attended A&M-San Antonio, her classes were held at locations including Palo Alto, Gillette Elementary School and Brooks City Base.
“Holy cow, who would have thought this was a cow pasture 10 years ago?” Rapp said, describing the campus’ evolution.
But while excited to see how things had changed, Rapp was concerned with the rapid growth.
“There was a time I went through, a little concerned that you’re growing so fast, you’re forgetting about those of us that treaded the portables at Palo Alto or the elementary school at Gillette,” Rapp said. “I hope they don’t (forget), because that’s our roots and your roots are what’s going to keep you firm.”
Rapp served as treasurer on the Student Advisory Board and says getting involved and making bonds with those in college is important.
“We all have stayed in touch because we were depending on each other to get through this. … You know, all of us had a story. But we all worked to help each other to get where we wanted to be, ” Rapp said.
Rapp said students shouldn’t take their time at the university for granted.
“Take time to stop and enjoy absolutely every minute, because adulthood is going to shake you to your core.”
Michael Martinez Jr.
By Matthew Musel
Michael Martinez Jr., who graduated in 2014 with a master’s degree in Finance from Texas A&M University-San Antonio, is a Southside resident committed to staying connected to his alma mater.
The last time Martinez was on campus wasn’t too long ago. It was in April 2019 for Festival de Cascarones.
After graduating, Martinez started working in corporate finance for ISS Facility services, a local company whose mission is to provide facility management, cleaning services and security services to corporate clients.
Martinez said A&M-San Antonio prepared him for his career.
“My degree was in Finance at A&M and that’s the field I’m currently working,” he said. “The school set the framework for me, and now I’m building the walls and roof to my career.”
Martinez lives fairly close to the campus and will not have long to travel to the reunion.
He hasn’t kept in touch with many students from the university; however, a certain faculty member came to mind: Dr. Douglas Carter, a professor of management and marketing.
Martinez said he enjoyed “seeing the undergrad students trying to make it the best experience as possible” when he was a student here.
Martinez spent his own undergraduate years in Arizona and then at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in management.
He said he loves how the next generation is taking advantage of the newer resources the school is slowly adding to the campus.
The most important thing he is looking forward to at the reunion is seeing how much the school has changed and improved.
When Martinez isn’t working for ISS, he enjoys the band Creed. He is also a supporter of the San Antonio Spurs, the San Antonio Missions baseball club and even the Corpus Christi Hooks, a Texas minor league baseball team.
Irma Iris Durán de Rodriguez
By Roman Ramirez III
Irma Iris Durán de Rodriguez said she can’t wait for the first class reunions of Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
The senior policy coordinator for the city of San Antonio, Rodriguez said the events planned for June 28-29 will be a way to show support for a school she holds dear to her heart.
Rodriguez saved dates for the reunion for her and her husband, Curtis Rodriguez, to participate in all of the activities.
Rodriguez graduated with an MBA in business management with a focus on project management. She attended college for many years and started attending A&M-San Antonio in 2010. She graduated in December 2014, so she will be celebrating her five-year reunion.
She is expecting to get a feel of how much the campus has changed and is excited to attend the two mock classes.
She has never been to the dorms at Esperanza Hall, so this will be a new experience for her.
“I would love to get the feedback from the new students,” Rodriguez said “It’s good to see how the students live.”
Rodriguez graduated from a local high school, Tom C. Clark, in 2002. After she attended Texas A&M-International University in Laredo, she got a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
She accepted the invitation to the A&M-San Antonio reunion because she is interested in reconnecting with classmates. She will remember the event by taking pictures and through social media.
The two classes she will attend are the humanities class taught by Adrianna Santos and the marketing class offered by Dennis Elam. She considers herself to be a “history buff.”
“I’ve always been connected to the A&M school system and I’m the first class to not be A&M-Kingsville,” Rodriguez said.
The last time she visited the campus was at a tree-planting ceremony for a new building on campus. The buildings and new look impressed her.
“I didn’t get to see students, but I loved the architecture and the big doors to the entrance on the main building,” Rodriguez said.
She has a huge list of teachers that made a lasting impression on her. One was Daniel Glaser, a marketing professor.
Dr. Josephine Sosa-Fey, a marketing professor, also was one of her favorite teachers.
“She was so detailed,” Rodriguez said.