St. Mary’s University alumna Cynthia Le Monds, the CEO of SA Youth, served as keynote speaker at the 162nd annual Spring Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 10, 2014.
Le Monds became the youngest CEO of SA Youth, a dropout prevention and recovery program, in 1999. The program serves almost 2,000 teens a year and has grown exponentially under her leadership.
She grew up in a low-income family of migrant farmhands and began helping her parents work the fields of the Mississippi and Arkansas deltas before her 10th birthday. That experience drove her to pursue an education despite many obstacles.
Le Monds completed high school coursework through correspondence while in her first year of college at the University of Arkansas. She moved to San Antonio and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science (’96) and a Master of Public Administration (’08) at St. Mary’s.
It was during her time at St. Mary’s that she began volunteering for the organization that would become SA Youth.
The University celebrated the accomplishments of 476 new graduates, including 370 bachelor’s degrees, 105 master’s degrees and one doctoral degree.
Commencement exercises were held at 1:30 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena, located inside the Alumni Athletics & Convocation Center on the St. Mary’s campus. Baccalaureate Mass was Friday, May 9, at 5:30 p.m., also at Greehey Arena.