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UST 2018 Grad Success Stories – Grads Clear Hurdles to Triumph

The University of St. Thomas is a vibrant, diverse community of people who understand that the best way to lead is to lift others. The atmosphere of servant leadership at UST gives our students a unique drive to be bold and accomplish great things. This year’s graduate success stories are inspiration for anyone striving to reach full their potential, even in the face of serious obstacles.

Kelvin Soccer Player from Nigeria Kelvin "Manny" Iloba Discovers Passion for Coaching

Star soccer player Manny Iloba, originally from Nigeria, has crossed an ocean and overcome dramatic immigration setbacks to complete his B.B.A in Finance in the top 10 percent of his class. He also helped the men’s soccer team win its first conference championship, and student-coached the women’s soccer team to a conference title as well. Manny is headed to Austin in July, where he will pursue an MBA.

University of St. Thomas - Houston grad Bonnie BrockServant Leader Bonnie Brock Weathers the Storm

When Hurricane Harvey dumped a season’s worth of rain on the Houston area, Bonnie Brock almost dropped out of school, just months from graduation. But Dr. Campos in the Education Department called her every day to check on her family, making special arrangements so she could complete the program in time. Bonnie persisted, and she will graduate with a Master’s in Educational Leadership.

Johnathon Vermaelen, University of St. Thomas - Houston gradJohnathon Vermaelen Aspires to Career in Civil Rights Law

Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at a young age, Johnathon Vermaelen has worked through social and communication challenges, maintaining his focus on education and the goal of becoming a lawyer. True to UST’s spirit of inclusivity, Johnathon’s professors have accommodated his needs and acknowledged his many contributions. He graduates with a double major in Criminology and Political Science, a first at UST.

Alana Tristan, University of St. Thomas - Houston gradAlana Tristan’s Inspired Journey to Community Service

Following two surgeries to improve her lifelong condition of spina bifida, Alana Tristan was paralyzed below the waist. Through singing and dancing with a church group, and constantly practicing music, she overcame her paralysis. Alana recently formed a community service organization to help people overcome physical disabilities using music and art therapy. With her B.A. in Psychology, she hopes to attend medical school and research how artistic expression can drive physical transformation.

All of us at UST are very proud of our graduates, who each serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration. We wish them every success in their future endeavors!

Learn about the commencement speakers, honorary degree recipient and winner of the UST Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award here.

Get Spring 2018 Commencement info here, including a live stream the day of the event!

Want to learn more about UST’s programs? Get in touch now, and we’ll send you more info.