- Student Success
- Campus Growth
- Community Outreach
More than 6,000 students participated in commencement ceremonies held in fall 2014 and spring 2015, helping to increase the number of living University alumni to more than 87,000 and degrees conferred to 100,701.
Among the graduates were the first cohorts from several new programs at UT Dallas, including the Startup Launch Track program of the Naveen Jindal School of Management which teaches budding entrepreneurs how to develop and start new ventures, and the undergraduate bioengineering program of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
Also, 20 undergraduates completed the first leg of the UT Partnership in Advancing Clinical Transition. The collaborative effort pairs UT Dallas with UT Southwestern Medical School to provide an enhanced curriculum so that students complete their bachelor's degrees in biology in just three years before starting medical school.
Other notable new graduates included: physics student Austin Howard, who, at the age of 22, became the youngest person in UT Dallas history to receive a doctorate; Dr. Massa Shoura, who earned her fourth academic degree in eight years and her second PhD, all from UT Dallas; and WFAA-TV journalist John McCaa, who received a doctorate in history of ideas from the School of Arts and Humanities.
The Office of Development and Alumni Relations welcomed the newest alumni at the end of each ceremony during Memories on the Mall, which included refreshments, photo opportunities and giveaways.
Dr. Aziz Sancar PhD'77 was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work illuminating how cells repair their DNA, providing greater understanding of hereditary disease, cancer and aging. Sancar, who graduated from UT Dallas with a PhD in molecular and cell biology, is the first University graduate to win a Nobel Prize.
Sancar, who is currently the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, was recognized for his research that describes the mechanism that cells use to repair damage to DNA caused by ultraviolet radiation. People born with defects in this repair system will develop skin cancer if they are exposed to sunlight. Sancar is married to alumna Gwen Boles Sancar MS'74, PhD'77. In 2009, he was honored as a distinguished alumnus of UT Dallas.
President, Unity Hunt Inc., Dallas
Retired CEO, MV Transportation, Dallas
Founder and chief scientist,
Hanson Robotics, Dallas
Manager of Strategic Business
Development and New Ventures,
and Innovation, Aera Energy LLC,
FOR ALUMNI SERVICE Jerri L. Hammer MS'97, JD, CPA
Practice group leader, Business and
Individual Tax and Advisory Services,
TravisWolff Advisors and Accountants, Dallas
COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AWARDS The Honorable Dan Branch
Texas House of Representatives
The hard work of more than 2,000 fall graduates was celebrated during commencement ceremonies. In keeping with UT Dallas tradition, a student spoke at each of the six graduations.
Families, friends and well-wishers celebrated the accomplishments of more than 3,550 graduates from The University of Texas at Dallas during eight commencement ceremonies May 14-16 in the Activity Center.
Twenty graduating UT Dallas students are part of a UT System program that links medical schools with four-year colleges and allows Texas residents to receive both a baccalaureate and a medical degree in seven years.
Seven years ago, John McCaa came to UT Dallas with an interest in intellectual history. He wanted to better understand the relationship between mass media, society and the notion of celebrity. In the spring, he graduated from the School of Arts and Humanities with a PhD in history of ideas.
Dr. Massa Shoura earnd her fourth degree and second PhD from UT Dallas in the spring, becoming the first female student to earn a PhD in biomedical engineering from the University.
Alumni and community leaders shared the spotlight recently at the University’s 13th Awards Gala. Former CBS 11 news anchor Tracy Rowlett MA’80, a 2012 Distinguished Alumnus, emceed the gala, a time for thanks and praise of UT Dallas’ strongest supporters and outstanding alumni.
The approach that Samatha Morgan BA’07 uses to connect with her students has been a success. She recently was honored with a $25,000 Milken Educator Award from The Milken Family Foundation.
Raheel Ata BS’15, who graduated last spring with a degree in biochemistry, is the latest — and fourth consecutive — UT Dallas student or alumnus to earn a fellowship from the honor society.
Christina Deoja BS’08 always had her sights on NASA. She began that journey in the electrical engineering program at UT Dallas, which recognized her for her work and engagement in the community.