El Paso Man Puts No Expiration Dates on Dreams

by ABBY TOMLINSON

May 06, 2009

Pablo Romero, the youngest child in a family of 12, discovered his skills in building models and sketching freehand at an early age. For the past four years, he has been applying those skills toward earning a Bachelor of Science in Architecture through Texas Tech University at El Paso.

The degree, he said, was a long time coming.

Romero knew that he wanted to attend Texas Tech University since he visited the Lubbock campus shortly after high school, but family obligations and finances held him back. Now 40, he will be graduating with his bachelor's degree in May, as one of eight in the program's first graduating class.

"It is special," Romero said of graduation. "It's special because it proves to others that if you want to obtain something, no matter what age you are, or where you are, you can do it. If I can do it at 40, anyone can do it."

Romero's belief that he could reach his goal of earning a college diploma despite his age was renewed when a friend told him of the partnership between El Paso Community College and Texas Tech University. This partnership allows students to complete their first two years of undergraduate work at the community college level and advance to Texas Tech University's off-campus site in El Paso to complete requirements for a degree in architecture.

Since he heard of the opportunity and decided to go for it, he said that he has not looked back.

"Studying, working 40 hours a week, going to school and taking care of a family is tough, but I knew I could do it," Romero said.

He said that the faculty members were good, and that the studio classes that require hands-on work and building models were the most enjoyable.

Many people might choose to take some time to relax right after the achievement of a goal like graduating college. Romeo, however, has already lined up new challenges for both his professional and personal life. To advance his career, he plans to get his architecture license and practice in El Paso. He might even consider pursuing a master's degree in architecture. In his personal life, he and his wife will soon be busy welcoming a new member to their family of three.

Romero said that Texas Tech University played a large role in helping his dreams become reality, and he has encouraged his nephew, who is planning to graduate high school in May, to pursue an education through Tech.

"I have recommended Texas Tech University and Dr. Markovich, the coordinator of the architecture program, to my nephew," Romero said. "I have told him get his basics and then transfer, but first, talk to Dr. Markovich."

There may be time for Romero to celebrate his success before he starts on his next set of goals. He said that his wife has planned something special to commemorate his achievement.

"My wife has a surprise for me, but I don't know what it is," Romero said, laughing. "Maybe it's a pinata or something like that."

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