2,165 Celebrate Graduation in Weekend Ceremonies

University of Texas at Dallas Recognizes Record Number of PhD Recipients

May 15, 2010

Spring commencement was a time of milestones for The University of Texas at Dallas, which recognized 2,165 graduates, including the University’s largest group of doctoral candidates ever.

The University had to schedule an additional ceremony to accommodate the increased size of the graduating class.  The ritual brought the number of degrees granted by the University in its 40-year history to 72,000.

In all, the University granted 909 graduate and PhD diplomas and 1,256 undergraduate diplomas in the ceremonies Friday and Saturday.  The record 87 PhD and AuD degrees included 43 in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

“As you may have noticed, I’m one of your biggest fans,” UT Dallas President David E. Daniel told the graduates in his commencement address. “I have great faith in your abilities. You have all the tools you need to succeed. Brains, education and, believe it or not, even the bumpy economic times are on your side, if you take advantage of the circumstances they create.”

In keeping with tradition, nine students also delivered commencement addresses, including Liji Mary Thomas, who was celebrating her third UT Dallas graduate degree.  Thomas, who had earned a master of science in information and accounting from the School of Management, spoke of the importance of using personal success to enable tomorrow’s leaders.

“We stand on big shoulders. We stand on the giant shoulders of all those who have labored to make our education and this day a reality,” said Thomas. “The only way to truly do justice to the sweat and labor that these individuals have spent to see us through to this day is to be big shoulders for those who will come after us.”

During the combined School of Natural Science and Mathematics/School of Interdisciplinary Studies ceremony, Eunice and Elaine Odiase, twins who are both bound for medical school after earning bachelors of science in biology, gave a joint speech reflecting on how UT Dallas students embraced the surrounding community and made it better.

“As an adviser for students in the Pre-health Living Learning Community at our new residence hall, I have seen how students at UT Dallas unite under one common goal—to give back to our Dallas community,” said Elaine. “Countless hours have been spent rebuilding homes, participating in charity fundraisers and food drives, and investing time helping children with disabilities. Talk about a caring heart! Here at UT Dallas, students come together as a community to impact our greater community.”

Carson Curry, who earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, saw graduation not as an end but as one step on a life-long journey.  Urging his fellow graduates to think of education as a continuous process, he asked the new engineering and computer science alumni never to stop learning.

“Now that you have a degree, it doesn’t mean your academic journey is over,” he said. “Life as an engineer or scientist is a life-long learning process, so learn something new every day.”

No one exemplified the idea more than Helen Small, whom UT Dallas President David E. Daniel singled out for earning a master’s degree in psychological sciences from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at age 90. Small, who waited 67 years to return to college life after leaving to get married in 1939, graduated from UT Dallas with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2007. Completion of her latest degree makes her the University’s second-oldest graduate.

School of Management degrees were awarded on Friday. Ceremonies for the other six schools took place on Saturday.

The largest of UT Dallas’ seven schools, the School of Management, awarded the most degrees during spring commencement, totaling 754.

Next were the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science with 379; the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences with 280; the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics with 241; the School of Arts and Humanities with 207; the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences with 183; and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies with 121.


Media Contact: Karah Hosek, UT Dallas, (972) 883-5890, karah.hosek@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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Hooding ceremony

The record 87 PhD and AuD degrees included 43 in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

Odiase twins

Eunice and Elaine Odiase, twins who are both bound for medical school after earning bachelor's degrees in biology, gave a joint commencement speech.

Spring 2010 graduates

The University had to schedule an additional ceremony to accommodate the increased size of the graduating class.

Spring 2010 graduates

In all, the University granted 909 graduate degrees.

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