Tarleton commencement speaker celebrates earning business degree

Fall 2018 Outstanding Graduate

Fall 2018 Outstanding Graduate

Thursday, December 13, 2018

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Chances are, if you have called the Fort Worth campus of Tarleton State University, you’ve spoken with Sandra Lapini-Lozzi.

In her lilting Italian accent the administrative assistant answers all kinds of questions, mostly from prospective and current students.

That same accent will deliver the commencement address at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, as Sandra graduates with a bachelor’s degree in applied arts and sciences in business.

She came a long way to get here. Hailing from Greve in Chianti, near Florence, she met her husband, Steve, in Italy while he was visiting family there.

The two have been in Texas for more than 20 years and have two children, one in high school and one in college.

In 2009 Sandra, who had worked 12 years in the banking industry, found herself at loose ends. She lost her banking job during the recession and thought it just might be the time to get her degree.

First she earned an associate’s degree in art from Weatherford College in 2014. But she had loftier goals — not only to earn a bachelor’s degree, but to graduate with honors.

With a son about to start college, she began looking for a job, and Tarleton hired her in 2015.

“When I started working here, I realized a lot of my colleagues were taking classes and were getting bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees,” she said. “I started talking with the academic advisers and I decided, why not?”

One marketing class and she was hooked. Now after three years of taking mostly face-to-face classes on the Fort Worth campus, she has achieved her goal.

The applied arts and sciences degree gave her credit for education and experience she had accumulated in her banking career.

“It was a faster way for me to get a bachelor’s degree,” she said.

Named the outstanding graduate from the College of Business Administration Management Department, Sandra also is a member of the American Association of University Women and Delta Mu Delta business administration honor society. Additionally, she coordinates Tarleton’s Graduation Gratitude program that allows graduates under financial strains to borrow a cap, gown and tassel for their commencement ceremonies.

She likes her decision to return to school, but it had challenges.

“As a non-traditional student, going back to school has not been easy, but I would do it all over again. It has taken about three years taking two classes each full semester and a class in each summer session.”

In her commencement address she plans to share her experience at Tarleton, mainly how she got here, and thank the people who matter.

“There’ll be a couple of funny comments from my kids,” she said, adding that her family supports her educational efforts but is delighted she’s almost done.

Sandra speaks four languages — Italian, English, German and French — and plans to take classes in Spanish next year. Away from work she likes to travel and take photos with a camera she received for her birthday.

Now as a college graduate, she has the opportunity to advance her career.

“I am grateful to have this position because I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “I want to grow professionally, and I think my degree will help. I love working at Tarleton and I hope to stay. I love working with the students.”

Tarleton, founding member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven education marked by academic innovation and a dedication to transform today’s scholars into tomorrow’s leaders. It offers degree programs to more than 13,000 students at Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, RELLIS Academic Alliance in Bryan, and online, emphasizing real-world learning experiences that address societal needs while maintaining its core values of tradition, integrity, civility, excellence, leadership and service.


Contact: Phil Riddle, News & Information Specialist
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A founding member of The Texas A&M University System, Tarleton is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of more than 16,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, A&M RELLIS at Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity, and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.