UT Dallas Expects to Set a Record for Fall Graduates
Families, Friends to Honor New Grads During 6 Ceremonies Friday, Saturday
Dec. 5, 2012
Gearing up for six graduation ceremonies this week, UT Dallas is anticipating its largest fall graduation cohort ever, with 1,911 students projected to complete their degrees.
Graduate Numbers Climbing
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Hobson Wildenthal said the increase in graduates shows the University has furthered its mission of helping more top-tier students reach their ultimate academic goals.
“A UT Dallas education is all about individuals and quality, but quantity has its importance also,” Wildenthal said. “The increasing numbers of our graduates accentuates the vital role the University plays in transforming the lives of thousands of students, and the major economic and social impact we have on the Metroplex and beyond.”
Six commencement ceremonies will take place Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8. Ceremonies will be at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. both days in the University’s Activity Center. Each should last about two hours.
Christina Wolfe will be celebrating a milestone for herself as well as for UT Dallas. She is the first graduate of the University’s new Systems Engineering and Management program, a joint master’s degree offered by the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and the Naveen Jindal School of Management.
“I liked that the program was split between these two very well-respected schools,” Wolfe said. “It gives you different academic perspectives and a much wider view of the applications in systems engineering.”
Wolfe, who is from Chandler, Ariz., was a McDermott Scholar as an undergraduate at UT Dallas, and has studied in France, Mexico and England. She also completed an internship with Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth last summer.
Wolfe wants to work in the transportation industry, where she can apply rigorous mathematical skills to solve complex operational problems. And she hopes more women will choose to pursue much-needed engineering and mathematics degrees.
“It would be nice to see more of us,” she said. “I always liked math, since I was a little kid. I’ve found it interesting to learn about theoretical stuff, but am more interested in learning how to apply it.”
Thanks to a fast-track program, Timothy Hoffman will have already logged 15 hours toward a master’s degree when he receives his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. The National Merit Scholar from Giddings, Texas, was able to earn both graduate and undergraduate credit for advanced courses this year, and hopes to complete his master’s within a year.
President David E. Daniel will address the graduates before each one is recognized as they cross the stage.
“The grad courses I’ve taken have been the most challenging, but also the most exciting,” Hoffman said. “The professors are very knowledgeable and excited about what they do.”
Hoffman has maintained a nearly perfect 3.99 grade point average. During a summer internship in Lincoln, Neb., he developed a mobile Web application showing the city’s infrastructure map. He’s still toying with whether to pursue a PhD, depending on whether his interests are more suited to academia and research or an industry job.
Whatever he decides, it will involve computers, an interest that was spurred by a pre-AP class he took in high school. “I just really enjoyed it, mainly for the problem-solving aspect,” he said. “I like to be given a problem and then told, ‘Go, figure that out.’”
Wilford “Antonio” Le Baron already knows he wants to give back to his culture and language. The native of Chihuahua, Mexico, will receive a master’s degree in communication disorders from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and hopes to serve Spanish-speaking people as a bilingual speech pathologist.
He’s already earned a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and audiology from UT Dallas, and a summer internship in Quito, Ecuador, taught him the impact of culture on language and the need for bilingual specialists.
“Hispanics are underrepresented in the speech pathology realm. It’s a calling for me, and I really enjoy it,” Le Baron said. “There’s a lot of gratitude when you’re able to tell parents, ‘Your kid is not broken, just unique.’”
Le Baron is the first of his nine siblings to receive a master’s degree. He credited faculty members for giving him the encouragement he needed along the way.
“UT Dallas has always just been there for me,” Le Baron said. “If you’re struggling and need to talk to your professors, they’ll talk about their own struggles when they were students. So many people have walked this road ahead of me, all I have to do is follow them.”
When the fall 2012 graduates walk the stage this weekend, the University will have conferred more than 79,600 degrees during its 43-year history.
Among those expected to receive degrees are 936 graduate students and PhD candidates and 975 undergraduates. The largest of UT Dallas’ seven schools, the Naveen Jindal School of Management, will award the most degrees: 874.
Next are the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science with 317; the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences with 204; the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences with 154; the School of Arts and Humanities with 153; the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics with 137; and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies with 72.
Students to Deliver Grad Speeches
In keeping with tradition, six students have been chosen as commencement speakers. UT Dallas President David E. Daniel also will address audiences. In order of their appearance, the student speakers, their degrees and schools are:
Alex Chung—BS, electrical engineering, Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
Picharn "Pop" Kanjanakantorn— BS, international business, Naveen Jindal School of Management.
Diana Miller—BA, literary studies, School of Arts and Humanities.
Audrey Popp—BS, psychology, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
Dana Scott—BS, political science, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.
Vance Weintraub—MBA, Naveen Jindal School of Management.
The schedule of commencment events is as follows:
Thursday, December 6
|7 p.m.||Doctoral Hooding Ceremony (Clark Center)|
|Friday, December 7|
|10 a.m.||Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science|
|1 p.m.||Naveen Jindal School of Management Undergraduates|
|4 p.m.||Naveen Jindal School of Management Graduates|
|Saturday, December 8|
|10 a.m.||Behavioral and Brain Sciences|
|1 p.m.||Natural Sciences and Mathematics;|
|Economic, Political and Policy Sciences|
|4 p.m.||Arts and Humanities;|