Frank Duran

UTEP Spring Commencement 2019

Frank Duran
UTEP Spring Commencement 2019

Family Shares in Key Natalicio-Era Graduations

Diana Natalicio’s announcement in May 2018 of her plans to retire after 31 years as president of The University of Texas at El Paso made Wallace Hardgrove reflective.

Members of the Hardgrove family, from left, Wallace, Nichole and Joshua, participated in several significant Commencement exercises with UTEP President Diana Natalicio, center right, during her 31 years as leader of the University. Photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre

Members of the Hardgrove family, from left, Wallace, Nichole and Joshua, participated in several significant Commencement exercises with UTEP President Diana Natalicio, center right, during her 31 years as leader of the University. Photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre

Hardgrove, executive director of the Budget and Fiscal Policy Office for the County of El Paso, walked the stage during the fall 1988 Commencement – the first year President Natalicio presided over the ceremonies – to receive his bachelor’s degree in accounting. He was thrilled to graduate, but also excited to shake the hand of the University’s new President.

The native of Maine and his wife, Nohemi, a pediatric oncology nurse at El Paso Children’s Hospital, raised their family in El Paso. Through the years, he witnessed his alma mater’s growth, success, and the quality of its graduates. He was proud that both of his children would attend UTEP.

His oldest, Joshua, earned his undergraduate degree in biochemistry in 2014 and participated in the Centennial

Commencement at Sun Bowl Stadium. He is a chemist in El Paso with Marathon Petroleum, formerly Western Refining.

Hardgrove’s youngest child, Nichole, graduated May 18, 2019, with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts. She will leave this fall for a job at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Nichole was one of approximately 3,000 spring graduates and summer candidates celebrated at the weekend’s four Commencement ceremonies at the Don Haskins Center. The ceremonies were the last presided over by President Natalicio, who will retire before the start of the fall semester.

“Sharing in these three ceremonies brings us great pride,” Wallace Hardgrove said. “We’ve all benefitted from President Natalicio’s leadership. We know what she and the University mean to the community, and we appreciate her three decades of service.” - Daniel Perez