ARLINGTON - Maverick Celebration kicks off The University of Texas at Arlington graduation season Friday night with speakers, music and fireworks at Levitt Pavilion in downtown Arlington. Formerly known as Graduation Celebration, the free community event begins at 8 p.m. at the amphitheater, 100 W. Abram St., at the southwest corner of Abram and Center streets.
Alumnus William McKenzie, editorial writer at The Dallas Morning News and a 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner, is the keynote speaker. Micky and the Motorcars, an alt-country band, and the UT Arlington Festival Band will perform.
Commencement ceremonies - May 13-17 at Texas Hall, 701 W. Nedderman Drive, Arlington - include some very visual traditions.
- The College of Nursing pinning ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, May 13, at two locations. Nursing graduates choose a friend, family member, significant other or nursing mentor to pin them with the UT Arlington nursing emblem. The ceremony for bachelor's of science in nursing (BSN) graduates is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fielder Road Baptist Church, 2011 S. Fielder Road, in Arlington. The ceremony for the RN to BSN graduates is at 2 p.m. at Texas Hall.
- Military science graduates become U.S. Army officers during their commissioning ceremony scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 15, in the Lone Star Auditorium of the Maverick Activities Center, 500 W. Nedderman Drive.
- The College of Engineering's procession of graduating students starts at Nedderman Hall, 416 S. Yates St., and ends at Texas Hall. The regal parade starts 10 minutes before the two commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, May 15.
More than 3,100 students are expected to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees from The University of Texas at Arlington this month. Among them:
- Gabby Riehle will bring more to her fourth-grade classrooms next fall than many first-year teachers. The alumna of Sam Houston High School in Arlington worked counter narcotics intelligence in Central and South America for the U.S. Army before considering her college career. Riehle also spent time in the corporate world, but the mother of two wanted something more fulfilling. Using her GI Bill benefits, she has earned a degree and teaching certification, landing a job at Goodman Elementary in the Arlington school district.
- Wendy Okolo, this year's Maverick Celebration student speaker, credits the UT Arlington network with much of her success. She has enrolled in an accelerated College of Engineering program that will lead her to a doctoral degree in aerospace engineering. This summer, Okolo plans to work toward her graduate degree at an Ohio Air Force base doing research on how to make aircraft fly more efficiently.
- Margaret Knox-Kruschke will have company when she walks across the stage to accept her diploma for a master's degree in history. Josephene, her service poodle, helps her with sounds Knox-Kruschke cannot absorb. An accident on a rifle range produced Knox-Kruschke's substantial loss of hearing. The military veteran would love to land a job as an archivist in a library.
- Daniel Hudlow brought his own academic network when he arrived on the UT Arlington campus four years ago. His older brother and sister, John and Rachel, were there, and now twin brothers, Paul and David, are on campus. Only 16-year-old James is still at home. Mom Vi Hudlow, also a UT Arlington graduate, home-schooled each of her children with obvious success. All the Hudlow students pulled grade point averages of at least 3.9. Daniel graduates with a perfect 4.0.
Media representatives who are interested in stories about any of the graduates highlighted above may call the UT Arlington Media Relations Office at 817-272-2761.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.