UTPB class of 2019 is the largest in school's history

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ODESSA, Tx. (KOSA) -- Saturday afternoon, the University of Texas Permian Basin seniors donned their caps and gowns and they did it with record numbers.

This spring, a lot of falcons gathered to celebrate four years of hard work.

And I mean, a lot.

“Today we’ll be graduating 637 graduates,” UTPB President Sandra Woodley said.

Woodley said this year has set a new record as the largest graduating class in the school’s history.

After summer graduations Woodley expects about 1,200 hundred graduates, beating last year’s 1,100 total.

Woodley said the university has grown tremendously over the past ten years because the boom has created many local career opportunities and a hunger for education.

“We have only 11 percent of the Permian Basin population with a baccalaureate degree,” Woodley said. “And all these great jobs coming in with economic prosperity that comes with the economic boom that is here in the Permian Basin.”

And graduates say the expansion has been for the better.

Bayley Burrows said in her four years, she’s seen many more student organizations thrive because now it’s much easier to jumpstart these groups.

“I think it will get the ball rolling for more organizations to come forward,” Burrows said. “Bigger people to come join them. To be able to go from maybe a five-person group to a 15-person group and just get more students involved.”

Fortunately, students also say that while the influx of classmates may make parking difficult from time to time the university has still managed to feel like the tight-knit community it’s always been.

“That’s why I chose UTPB,” UTPB Graduate Lauren Wilson said.
“Because I wanted to know my professors and be comfortable with my classmates. So, I think we’ll be able to grow but also keep those things that we loved about a small campus.”