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Congratulations, Class of 2011

Like everything else in Texas, graduation is big at The University of Texas at Arlington, which celebrates its largest graduating class this May.

The spring Class of 2011—3,733 strong—will cross the Texas Hall stage Thursday-Sunday, May 12-15, to receive their diplomas. Through 12 separate commencement ceremonies, the 2,600 undergraduate, 1,059 master’s, and 74 doctoral candidates step up to receive their degrees.


The graduates and their families and friends come together Friday night, May 13, for Graduation Celebration, a traditional evening of recognition at the Levitt Pavilion, a beautiful outdoor venue in Founders’ Plaza in downtown Arlington. Community members, faculty, and fellow students are invited to join in the free festivities, which include music by the UT Arlington Jazz Orchestra, food, and fireworks.

John Legend, a Grammy-winning singer and musician, brought an inspirational message to the graduates and guests at Graduation Celebration.

Legend told students to “...go forth into the world with a mission for good. Find ways to give, find ways to serve, find ways to contribute to humanity.... Be the inspiration that fills the gap. You have so much power, so much opportunity. Make sure this education, this amazing gift, doesn’t go to waste.”

Student speaker Kate Aoki, who received her master’s degree in architecture earlier that day, reflected on the value of her education.

“I have been incredibly fortunate to have found at UTA the kind of environment that fosters my curiosity and to have studied under exceptional faculty members,” Aoki said. “Our education belongs to us—we own it. But it is up to us to continue to use it.”

President James D. Spaniolo reminded the graduates that they are part of the Maverick reputation. A CEO of a Fortune 500 company recently told him  “...graduates from other universities know what questions to ask, but UT Arlington graduates know how to find the answers. Graduates from other places can talk proficiently about their work, but UT Arlington graduates are willing to do the work. And he was talking about you. This is your legacy.“

For commencement ceremonies, graduates file into Texas Hall following a procession led by University and department leaders and faculty members who helped them along their journey to this hallmark event. Their black caps and gowns may include additional attire known as stoles and hoods that represent their class ranking, an honor society, an advanced degree, or a special achievement.

They look much the same when exiting Texas Hall for a reception on the east lawn, except for a smile and a diploma in hand. Their actions, achievements, and success—not their appearance—shows that they are true Mavericks.

Thursday, May 12

College of Nursing
  • 9:30 a.m.—Pinning ceremony for Bachelor of Science in Nursing candidates at the Bluebonnet Ballroom of the E.H. Hereford University Center.
  • 2 p.m.—Pinning ceremony for RN-to-BSN candidates at the Bluebonnet Ballroom.
  • 7 p.m.—Commencement with Dr. Jennifer Gray, associate dean and chair of the Department of Nursing Administration, Education and Research, as speaker.
College of Science
  • 4 p.m.—Commencement with speaker and alumna Sally Welborn (’75 BS mathematics) Wal-Mart’s senior vice president of benefits.

Friday, May 13

College of Education and Health Professions
  • 10 a.m.—Commencement with speaker Jon  Fleming, chairman of the Texas Education Reform Foundation.
School of Social Work and University Studies
  • 1 p.m.—Commencement with Mary Jean Moloney, public relations manager for Atmos Energy, as speaker.
School of Architecture
  • 4 p.m. Commencement with Dean Donald Gatzke as speaker.
Graduation Celebration at Levitt Pavilion
  • 8 p.m.—A free celebration of graduates at the Levitt Pavilion, Abram at Center, downtown Arlington.

Saturday, May 14

Military Science
  • 9:30 p.m.—Commissioning ceremony in the Bluebonnet Ballroom of the E.H. Hereford University Center.
College of Engineering
  • 9 a.m. and noon—Hooding ceremonies for master’s degree candidates in the Nedderman Hall atrium, followed by a traditional procession to Texas Hall.
  • 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.—Commencement with UT Arlington President James D Spaniolo giving the address.
College of Business
  • 4 and 7 p.m.—Commencement with speaker Joseph M. “Jody” Grant, founder and chairman emeritus of Texas Capital Bancshares

Sunday, May 15

College of Liberal Arts
  • 1 p.m.—Commencement with Jordan Parker, (’86 BA) attorney and partner with Cantey Hanger in Fort Worth, giving the address.
  • 4 p.m.—Commencement with a speech by George A. Boll (’88 BA) attorney and president of Juneau, Boll, Stacy & Ucherek.
School of Urban and Public Affairs
  • 7 p.m.—Commencement with Dr. Cheryl Contant, vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean at the University of Minnesota, Morris, as speaker.