Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Commencement Close-Up: UTSA's Kim McClurg earns degree despite life's obstacles

Kim McClurg and children

Kim McClurg and her children

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(Dec. 15, 2010)--Overcoming adversity has been a way of life for 38-year-old Kim McClurg. As a child, she beat leukemia. As an adult, she is raising three children, home schooling her eldest son and tutoring athletes -- all while being a student in the UTSA Honors College. At 2 p.m., Friday, Dec. 17, McClurg will receive her bachelor's degree in history in the fall 2010 commencement ceremony for the Honors College.

McClurg's accomplishments are even more impressive, considering the fact that she achieved them while her husband has been in prison for the last four years. Her journey began shortly after his incarceration, when she was living in Irving. At a speaking engagement by Maya Angelou, the renowned poet recited her poem "And Still I Rise," and the words inspired McClurg to look beyond her circumstances and move forward with her life.

"I was responsible for three children, and knew I did not have the education I needed to support them," said McClurg.

McClurg decided to move to San Antonio and enrolled at Northwest Vista College, where she excelled, earning an associate degree in history. She continued her education by transferring to UTSA to pursue a bachelor's degree in history. She accepted an invitation to join the UTSA Honors College, and after enrolling in her first course in African-American history, became impassioned with the discipline.

"I don't think we realize how desensitized we are to the injustices inflicted on people because of the color of their skin, still in force today," said McClurg. "Until you gain knowledge, unless you seek out knowledge, then you just don't know."

McClurg credits her faith, family and mentors, UTSA Honors College faculty members Laguana Gray and Ann Eisenberg, for assisting her along the way.

"Kim is an exceptional student, a very hard worker and demands nothing less than perfection from herself in the classroom," said Eisenberg, UTSA associate professor of psychology and associate dean of the Honors College. "She is motivated by passion and has loved the way college opened her eyes to a new understanding of the world and of the community and country in which she lives."

McClurg earned her degree with the assistance of financial aid and the Carlos and Malu Alvarez Scholarship, which she received twice.

"UTSA instilled strength and confidence in me, knowing that in spite of everything, the strength, faith and sheer determination of will to accomplish my goals propelled me forward," said McClurg.

McClurg was accepted into the UTSA master's program in history and plans to obtain a doctoral degree and teach at a university.

 

 

Did You Know?

For acclaimed UTSA writer, poetry rhymes with life

Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.

Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.

Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.

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Events
Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 6, 5 - 7 p.m.; 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

6th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
Downtown Campus

Aug. 9, 12 - 5 p.m.

Vaquerocation 2015

This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 17, 11:30 p.m.

Midnight Light

Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus

Aug. 18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Plaza

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus

Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Lawn

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus

Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.


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