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September 2, 2014

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University Honors 65 Doctoral Graduates at Hooding Ceremony

Dr. Bruce Novak, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, adjusts the academic hood for a new PhD graduate during a reception for 65 spring doctoral graduates at UT Dallas.

Dr. Bruce Novak, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, adjusts the academic hood for a new PhD graduate during a reception for doctoral graduates at UT Dallas.

Earning a doctoral degree is a milestone accomplishment, but it’s also just the launching point for a lifetime of learning, an alumnus told graduates during a formal Hooding Ceremony on May 14 at UT Dallas.

The University recognized 65 doctoral candidates who attained the highest rung of the academic ladder. Doctoral degrees at UT Dallas include both PhDs and AuDs, the doctorate of audiology given by the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

The candidates clad in academic regalia entered the Clark Center Auditorium as family and friends held up cameras, video recorders and mobile devices to capture the ceremony.

Ceremony speaker Seshu Madhavapeddy PhD’91, a self-described serial entrepreneur, told the newly minted graduates that their lifetime of learning had just begun.

“Your PhD is a great achievement, but it is just the beginning of your life as a student,” said Madhavapeddy, the founder of two technology startups, and currently the senior vice president and chief technology officer at Samsung Mobile.

PhD graduate Dawn Brinkley and her family.

Dawn Brinkley and her family celebrated after she earned her PhD in psychological sciences. “The journey is just starting, but the hard part is over,” she said.

“Your dissertation topic is almost irrelevant, because you will have to learn new skills and technology your entire career.”

The students were seated next to their faculty mentors who had guided them in their journey to complete their degrees. As each name was called, the faculty advisors joined Dr. Austin Cunningham, graduate studies dean, in placing the velvet-edged doctoral hoods over the graduates’ heads. Many graduates hugged their mentors for their years of academic guidance.

Dawn Brinkley, who celebrated her PhD in psychological sciences, said she wrote her dissertation on text messaging among adolescents while working full time as a research manager for Dr. Marion Underwood, Ashbel Smith Professor of developmental psychology and associate dean in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

“I’m an overachiever, and always have been. I thought if others can do it, I can do it, too,” Brinkley said. “The journey is just starting, but the hard part is over.”

Several fall semester doctoral graduates, whose December hooding ceremony was canceled due to an ice storm, returned to campus to participate in the event.

Lynda Wilmott took time off from her job at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tenn., to receive her academic hood. Her mother, Kathy, flew in again from Clinton, N.J., for the ceremony.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. We worked so hard for this,” Wilmott said. “I would have regretted it if I hadn’t come. It’d be like not going to prom.”

The Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science had the largest number of doctoral graduates recognized at this spring’s ceremony with 26, followed by the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences with four PhDs and eight AuDs.

The School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics had 10; the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences had nine; the School of Arts and Humanities had seven; and the Naveen Jindal School of Management had one.

Media Contact: Robin Russell, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, robin.russell@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu.


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