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STUDENTS AND STAFF TOAST NEW UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT

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NICOLE SHAIR
COPY EDITOR

On March 2, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi celebrated the President’s Picnic in honor of about-to-be officially inducted President Kelly M. Quintanilla.

Taking place on the East Lawn, there were a variety of ways for attendees to have fun. There were games ranging from mega Connect 4 to Islander-themed bean bag tossing as well as plenty of food, including Spanish rice, beans, chicken or fish tacos and various toppings to satisfy the plethora of students, faculty and community members who joined on campus for the event. And to help with the slight heat, there was an ice cream bar with blue and green sprinkles and churros. However, the food wasn’t the only reason why the event had such a large turnout. According to sophomore nursing major Kambria Jacobs, the atmosphere and beautiful weather were also a huge selling point.

“I heard about it (the Presidential Picnic) and then a friend invited me to come,” Jacobs said. “It seemed like a fun thing to do with friends and it’s a beautiful day to relax.”

According to IT Business Analyst Amanda Merchant, being a part of the President’s Picnic is an exciting and unique experience comparable to getting to work with our new Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi president.

“She’s going to be a great progressive president,” Merchant said. “She will make it (TAMUCC) an institution that people want to benchmark with, a place that students will want to go to and that other universities will look towards.”

For those who are unfamiliar with President Quintanilla’s credentials, her career at the Island began in 1994.  She steadily  progressed from being a professor of communication to the Dean of the Liberal Arts College to Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and now, officially, she has become the president of the Island University.

According to Budget Department employee George Fonseca and Accounting Department employee Dustin Hall, this long history at the Island makes Quintanilla the perfect match for such a highly-esteemed position.

“She’s got a ton of experience, she’s very welcoming and she’s basically prepared for this throughout her career through all the positions she’s had before,” Fonseca said. “The fact that she was a faculty member before gives her a good perspective on what troubles faculty and staff here have, whereas an outside person wouldn’t be able to see that very clearly.”

Fonseca said Quintanilla has already made strides in helping Islanders through Islander Impact and through helping students remain at the Island.

During the event, Quintanilla made a short speech where she discussed how everyone on this campus was here to help each and every Islander succeed.

“We love you here on this Island University and we want to see all of you succeed in everything you do and, as president, that’s my job,” Quintanilla said to the gathered crowd. “My entire job and all that I am about and all I do every day is focus on helping you with student success because you are the most important thing on this campus.”

Quintanilla concluded her speech by thanking the event’s coordinator and said she was “proud and privileged” to serve as our president and, in true Islander fashion, left the stage with a strong “Go Islanders!” and a shaka.

For more information about Quintanilla, visit tamucc.edu/about/president/bio.

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