Texas Tech School of Banking Honors Professionals at 46th Annual Graduation

The Texas Tech University School of Banking recently completed its 46th annual session, which saw record enrollment. Seventy-nine banking professionals from Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas traveled to Lubbock to participate in this year’s program.

Established in 1973, the school offers a blend of traditional academic coursework and interactive lecture sessions hosted by industry experts and Texas Tech University faculty. To graduate from the program, participants must attend for two years, each year consisting of an intense week-long session. This year, 31 bankers successfully completed the program, reports Stephanie Bohn, assistant director of the school.

In addition to the record enrollment, Jeff Mercer, director of the School of Banking and senior associate dean of the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business, shared with participants yet another point of progress related to this year’s class. “I’m not sure that it’s a record, but it has to be close—43 percent of you are women, which is wonderful, and we’re working very hard to increase that number,” Mercer told attendees.

According to one of the second-year students, Josh Brown with Abilene-based First Financial Bank, the most memorable part of this year’s curriculum was a bank management simulation, because it showed “just how impactful every decision is,” he says. The key takeaway for Brown was “the impact of all the decisions—even the smallest decisions.”

Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech University president, addressed participants during the week. He spoke about the professionalism of banking and noted that he does not recall hearing jokes about bankers as he sometimes does about other professions.

“There’s a high degree of professionalism associated with the [banking] industry, and I think that speaks to you,” Schovanec told the attendees. “And the fact that you’re here continuing to cultivate your professional credentials says a lot.”

Texas Tech University School of Banking Class of 2019:

  • Ally Akberali, Amerant Bank, Houston
  • Anthony Almos, American Bank of Commerce, Wolfforth
  • Chris Blanton, Graham Savings & Loan SSB, Graham
  • Heather Bledsoe, Bank of the Panhandle, Guymon, Oklahoma
  • Josh Brown, First Financial Bank, Abilene
  • Jimmy Butcher, Allegiance Bank, Houston
  • Kalee Clark, First State Bank, Gainesville
  • Colton Coker, Peoples Bank, Lubbock
  • Dustin Epperson, Texas National Bank, Tyler
  • Philip Field, Centennial Bank, Plainview
  • Christopher Gonzales, Wells Fargo Bank, Waco
  • Sidney Gutierrez, Lone Star Capital Bank NA, San Antonio
  • Colter Headrick, Bank of the Panhandle, Guymon, Oklahoma
  • Courtney Hodges, Citizens Bank of Clovis, Clovis, New Mexico
  • Angela Hogan, First State Bank, Gainesville
  • Tira Karvas, Texas Tech Federal Credit Union, Lubbock
  • Alicia Kimberlin, PlainsCapital Bank, Dallas
  • David Layton, First State Bank, Gainesville
  • Mona Lopez, City Bank, Lubbock
  • Cameron Lust, American Bank of Commerce, Lubbock
  • Philip McConnell, Happy State Bank, Amarillo
  • Jo’Elda Perez, Vista Bank, Lubbock
  • Blake Scott, FirstCapital Bank of Texas, Midland
  • Olga Sifuentes, PlainsCapital Bank, Lubbock
  • Jordan Stone, First National Bank, Alamogordo, New Mexico
  • Gina Torres, Western Bank, Artesia, New Mexico
  • Martha Torres, Amerant Bank, Houston
  • Brenda Varela, Briggs & Veselka Co., Houston
  • Hondo Webb, Lone Star Capital Bank NA, San Antonio
  • Michael Webster, PlainsCapital Bank, Irving
  • James Welch, First Federal Community Bank SSB, Paris

Published in Bankers Digest September 16, 2019