• January 20, 2021

Mr. UTPB completes his bachelor’s - Odessa American: UTPB

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Mr. UTPB completes his bachelor’s

Wants to become an FBI profiler

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Posted: Monday, January 11, 2021 5:00 pm

Through iron will and determination, Romeo Ramirez has received his diploma for a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Texas Permian Basin.

Ramirez, who has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound, was presented with his sheepskin by Associate Professor of Criminology Richard Kiekbusch Thursday at the Mesa Building. Ramirez is known around campus as Mr. UTPB.

Ramirez said he loves UTPB because it’s in his blood. He indicated he also has a UTPB logo tattoo. His grandmother, Della Currier, who attended the ceremony, also earned her bachelor’s in criminology from UTPB.

“This has been a childhood dream,” Ramirez said.

He said choosing UTPB was easy. When Ramirez started at UTPB, he had to come from Buena Vida Nursing and Rehabilitation, which was a mile and a half from campus. At first, the nursing home brought him to school, but then he had to take his wheelchair.

Currier said Ramirez now lives in the dorms on campus.

“I knew what I was in for when I signed up for this, so I did it without hesitation,” Ramirez said.

He got the moniker Mr. UTPB from a friend who was a petroleum engineering student.

Ramirez said freshmen who don’t even know him greet him as Mr. UTPB.

He added that it took him five years to complete his degree, with a minor in psychology, and he plans to stay on for a master’s and eventually become a profiler for the FBI. Ramirez said he’s had a lot of help from everyone at the university.

“This is like one giant family,” Ramirez said.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are what made Ramirez decide to pursue criminology.

“… Because I can’t go serve in the United States military, I thought I could serve here at home; serve and protect and that is what I hope to do by the time everything is said and done,” Ramirez said.

Originally from Odessa, Ramirez went to Bangs High School in Bangs and Brownwood High School in Brownwood. “I had just been moved all over Texas until 2019, when I decided to come back to start this chapter of my life,” he said.

He wants to go on for a master’s degree to prove to other people with disabilities that if he can do it, so can they.

“I want to set a positive example,” Ramirez said.

Cerebral palsy is a birth defect “that supposedly affects physical and mental capacity,” he said.

“I don't think it affected my mental capacity because I’m here graduating, or graduated, technically,” Ramirez said.

When he started, he said he didn’t think he would make it through the first semester.

“I’m extremely proud of myself. But as I said, I have a lot of other people who I owe a great deal of thanks to for getting me where I am. One of them is my grandmother. The other one is Richard Kiekbusch. And there are several others who asked me not to mention them, but I’m going to anyway. Abby Daniels and her staff down in the testing center. Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am, let alone where I am,” he said.

His advice to others is never take no for an answer.

“Never let somebody tell you no, because if you do you won’t ever make it anywhere. I am where I am because I didn’t listen to the word no, and my grandmother she can tell you I still don’t listen to the word no,” Ramiez said.

Currier, a retired elementary school teacher, said she was very proud of Ramirez. She encouraged him to go to college because he was at loose ends.

He’s had a hard time of it, but he’s managed, Currier said.

“I'm very proud of him. I am very proud of him,” Currier said.

Kiekbusch said what Ramirez has achieved is quite an accomplishment.

“I wish that all of my students had his intensity of motivation and determination,” he said.

Odessa, TX

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