UHV graduate delays commencement ceremony to walk stage with wife

Ronald Garrett will earn his communications degree from the University of Houston-Victoria this fall, but he is delaying participating in graduation so he can walk the stage with his wife, Misti Garrett, who will graduate in the spring.

He walked a long road to earn his degree, but one University of Houston-Victoria graduate won’t take the final steps across the stage without his wife.

Ronald Garrett will earn his communications degree from the UHV School of Arts & Sciences this semester. But even though he is eligible to cross the stage Saturday during the fall commencement ceremony in Katy, he has decided not to do so just yet.

“I’ll get my degree this semester and then walk in the spring when my wife graduates so we’ll walk together,” he said.

Garrett said he just can’t see graduating without his wife, who also is working on her communications degree.

“I have three more classes to complete in the spring,” Misti Garrett explained.

Walking without his wife just doesn’t seem right since she played a major part in helping him earn his degree, Ronald said.

“My wife, she’s amazing. She’s really helped me through a lot,” he said. “There were times I really second-guessed myself about being able to get my degree, and she really helped me through it.”

The Garretts are nontraditional students. Ronald’s education took longer than usual because he had to stop taking classes to go to Kuwait with his Army unit for peacekeeping efforts after Operation Desert Storm. He was wounded in his left hand while serving and the resulting rehabilitation put his education off a bit longer.

Misti took one or two classes a semester because she worked full time.

And both took a little time off to get married and have their three children, who range in age from almost 1 to 7 years old.

Ronald had much of his college paid for by his military service but still worked two jobs to help support his family and pay his wife’s tuition. He works as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and as a part-time police officer in Ganado.

Misti said she can’t wait for graduation in Victoria in the spring. And in an extra bit of good news, their three children will get to watch them from the audience.

“It’s such an awesome example to get to set for our children,” Misti said. “They would never have gotten to see that if we’d taken the traditional route. If they ever get discouraged and find that school is hard, they can say, ‘Mom and Dad did it. We can too.’”

Ronald will use his degree to enter into management with the postal service. Misti said she plans to get her alternative certification through UHV to become a classroom teacher. Eventually, she’d like to return to earn a master’s degree and become a community counselor.

While the two won’t likely be walking across the stage holding hands physically in the spring, they both said they will be doing so in mind and spirit.

UHV will hold its fall commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Thomas Doyle 361-570-4342