Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Commencement Speaker: Congressman Will Hurd

Photo courtesy of Hurd House

Congressman Will Hurd was born and raised in San Antonio. He attended John Marshall High School before he left for Texas A&M University. Before he was elected to the 114th Congress, Hurd was an undercover CIA officer and a senior advisor to a cybersecurity firm. He was recently featured in Politico’s May 5 cover story, “Will Hurd is the Future of the GOP,” and has made headlines for being one of the few Republican lawmakers (and the only Texas Republican) who opposed the American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA). He serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as vice chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Q: You’ve done commencement speeches for other colleges in the past. What about these speeches do you value most?


Well, I do them when I’m asked; it’s an honor but also if there’s a way that I can impart even one little nugget of knowledge that is helpful for people as they begin their next part of their career, then that’s great because I’ve been fortunate to have people that have inspired me my entire life. If I can play that role even to just one person, that’s paying back for all the opportunities I’ve had.

Q: What does being selected as commencement speaker mean to you?


It’s a great opportunity to address folks from my hometown of San Antonio. Having seen UTSA grow from when I was in high school to where it is now is pretty amazing, I’m excited to be part of such a special day.

Q: Do you remember your own commencement?


My commencement speaker was then Lt. Gov. Rick Perry. That was pretty cool considering Secretary Perry now and I have become good friends. It’s pretty neat to know he was my commencement speaker.

Q: What kind of student were you during your undergrad years?


I was involved in a student union, one of the largest organizations at A&M, and in my last year of school I had the honor of being nominated by my peers to be student body presi- dent . It was great experience; I still run meetings the way I learned to run meetings during my time at Texas A&M. There were so many lessons I learned from mentors during my time that I use now, and it helped me be successful after I graduated. At my university we taught the other education; it’s the things you learn outside the classroom. You learn how to work in teams; you learn how to set deadlines; you learn how to deal with failure; you experience so much in that time, and the more of those experiences you get, the better your productivity is once you begin the next phase of your life.

Q: How did your time in San Antonio influence your career?


San Antonio has a unique culture that encourages people to get along; all shapes, sizes, colors and creed–it is a city that’s family-oriented and committed to public service. These are things that have also shaped who I am. It’s what encouraged me as I went to Texas A&M and on to the CIA as well as going into public service. These are all lessons and things I learned to enjoy right here in San Antonio. It’s a special city; it’s home and it’s awesome living here now.

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