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More than 5,600 UTA students to earn degrees during Spring 2016 commencement exercises May 12-14

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 • Media Contact: Herb Booth

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ARLINGTON, Texas – More than 5,600 candidates for graduation are set to participate in Spring 2016 commencement exercises at The University of Texas at Arlington May 12-14 in a class that is 10 percent larger than the previous year.

UTA graduates

The class includes 3,753 undergraduates, 1,754 master’s degree recipients and 100 doctoral graduates – a significant increase over the number of May 2015 graduates driven in part by expansion in UTA engineering, nursing and education programs. The figures mean that UTA is on track to exceed the 10,586 degrees the University awarded during the 2014-2015 academic year.

“We are incredibly proud of our soon-to-be UTA graduates for the hard work, dedication and accomplishment that each one has exhibited on the pathway to earning a degree,” said President Vistasp M. Karbhari. “As our May graduates join the ranks of more than 200,000 alumni globally, they will strengthen our cities and communities, provide leadership in their chosen fields of endeavor and ensure a well-educated workforce that will serve Texas and the world.”

State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, noted the increasing ranks of UTA graduates and said, “I applaud each one of these accomplished students who have achieved much and together will contribute to the economic health and vitality of the region.”

Details about ceremonies, tickets and event coverage are available at Ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12, with the College of Nursing and Health Innovation featuring guest speaker Patricia Hurn, University of Texas System vice chancellor for research and innovation and the chief health research officer to the UT System and its six academic health center campuses.

Commencement concludes at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 14, with the College of Education ceremony and guest speaker Marcello Cavazos, superintendent of the Arlington Independent School District. Other ceremonies and speakers include:

Friday, May 13

  • 11 a.m., College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs; School of Social Work; and University College - Heather Reynolds, president and chief executive officer, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Worth. Reynolds earned her Master of Science in Social Work from UTA in 2002.
  • 3 p.m., College of Science - Dr. Franklyn Alexander, an Arlington dentist, UTA supporter, member of the UTA President’s Advisory Board and former chairman of the UT System Chancellor’s Council.
  • 7 p.m., College of Liberal Arts; Major Gen. Lester Simpson, 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard, a UTA alumnus, the first African-American battalion commander in the Texas Army National Guard and the first African-American commanding general of the 36th Infantry Division.

Saturday, May 14

  • 11 a.m., College of Business - UT System Regent Brenda Pejovich, founder of BFG Mgmt. Co. and Brenda Pejovich Group LLC; previously CEO of a large-scale operations consulting firm. She also practiced public accounting.
  • 3 p.m., College of Engineering - Brian Coltharp, chief operating officer of engineering firm Freese and Nichols Inc. who earned his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from UTA in 1992.

The stories behind the May 2016 graduates are individually moving, among them:

  • Daniel Winston-Ruiz, of Corpus Christi, who will graduate with a psychology degree and has won one of 10 highly competitive Clarence Darrow Scholarships to the University of Michigan Law School. Winston-Ruiz has served as a peer tutor and co-captain of the UTA mock trial team. Despite having to leave school briefly last year following his mother’s death, Winston-Ruiz was recently named outstanding male senior in the UTA Pre-Law Center. See Daniel's story in a video here.
  • Sylvia Loh, of Mansfield, who will graduate from a UTA program that allowed her to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s in biomedical engineering in just five years. Loh, a UTA Archer Fellow, will begin an internship May 31 at the Food and Drug Administration in Washington, D.C. Her career aspirations focus on designing medical devices to help people. Loh’s undergraduate research focused on microfluidics, and she worked with electrical engineering professor J.-C. Chiao to identify cancer cells migration patterns. See Sylvia's story in a video here.
  • Mabellyne Carrion, of Arlington, who has accepted a position teaching fifth-graders at the Arlington elementary school that she attended. She plans to apply her degree in bilingual education at Johns Elementary School, working under the leadership of Principal Tammy Rogers, who was Carrion’s  principal when she was a Johns’ student.
  • Micah Benson, of Arlington, who has accepted a nursing position at the Methodist Dallas Medical Center emergency room in Dallas. Benson’s father, Seth, is a 1987 electrical engineering graduate. Brothers Simeon and Nathan have UTA civil engineering and mechanical engineering degrees, respectively. Sisters Abby and Emily have kinesiology and nursing degrees from UTA. Sister Amanda is a sophomore pursuing a physics degree at UTA. Micah, one of nine Benson children, got a head start on his college degree during high school through the Honors College dual-credit program. Home-schooled throughout high school, Micah Benson said he loved the diversity at UTA.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie R-1 “highest research activity” institution of more than 52,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at