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UTA again reaches record number of graduates with December 2016 commencement ceremonies

Monday, December 12, 2016 • Media Contact: Herb Booth

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More than 4,808 students are scheduled to participate in commencement ceremonies December 15-17 at UTA’s College Park Center, about a 13 percent increase over the 4,251 who graduated in fall 2015.

In addition to the 4,808 fall candidates, 2,108 graduates who completed their degree requirements over the summer will also participate in this week’s commencement ceremonies.

UTA student prepares for graduation

Winter commencement ceremonies are Dec. 15-17. Last year's May graduates are pictured.

The newest graduates join the ranks of more than 210,000 UTA alumni around the globe, many working in business, health care, engineering, education, information technology and other high-demand fields.

“UTA graduation figures continue to astound the North Texas community,” state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, said. “December graduates will quickly add to a burgeoning, highly skilled workforce, not only in North Texas, but in Texas, the nation, and the world. UTA is a key contributor to that talent pool.”

Conferrals increased significantly in the Colleges of Nursing and Health Innovation, Business and Engineering. Those three colleges also recorded the largest numbers of graduates.

While the overall numbers continue to set records, the stories behind the graduates are equally compelling. They include:

  • Evelyn Wang—Ph.D. graduate in chemistry—Wang was a pre-pharmacy major who became interested in research due to the mentorship of chemistry Professor Carl Lovely. She likened it to “putting a puzzle together.” She worked in UTA’s Shimadzu Institute through industrial funding provided by Restek Corp., which led to a job with Shimadzu Scientific Instruments in Maryland.
  • Phyllis McGeath—bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies—McGeath, a 54-year-old mother and grandmother, was motivated to finish her college education in honor of her son Philip, a Marine, who was killed in action. She will take one semester off before continuing with her master’s in social work at UTA. Her daughter is a UTA student as well.
  • Dianne and Devin Reaux—master’s degree in Communication Studies; bachelor’s degree in sociology—This mother-daughter duo graduates Dec. 16. Mom Dianne will receive her master’s and daughter Devin will claim her bachelor’s. Dianne is a veteran, so Devin’s school was paid for in part by the Hazelwood Act. Devin will continue work toward her master’s degree. Dianne plans to graduate with a second master’s degree in sociology in December 2017.
  • Nichole Sheridan – disability studies minor and interdisciplinary studies major. Sheridan has used her own experiences of living with quadriplegia to collect more than a dozen oral histories of women who have acquired disabilities, which are included in UTA Libraries’ groundbreaking Texas Disability History Collection. She wants to improve disabled women’s rehabilitation experiences and help them better integrate their past and present identities.
  • Justin Gathright is earning his bachelor’s degree in foreign language. Born in Dallas, Gathright has lived in France, Belgium and Switzerland and has traveled throughout Europe as a member of a humanitarian organization providing food, clothing and basic needs to people in villages, towns and slums. He speaks fluent English and French, has studied Dutch, German and Spanish, and hopes to study European and international law. He is a volunteer for the UTA chapter of Love Your Melon, an organization that raises money for pediatric cancer research and material needs of children fighting cancer.


Media representatives may arrange interviews with 2016 graduates through the UTA Media Relations Office at 817-272-2761.

December 2016 speakers at commencement ceremonies are:

  • College of Business, C. Keith Cargill, president and chief executive officer, Texas Capital Bancshares Inc. (’81 M.B.A.)
  • College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs/Social Work/University College, Diane Woodend Jones (’80 B.S.), AIA, AICP, chairman and principal, Lea+Elliott Inc.
  • Nursing, Dr. Benjamin Levine, UT Southwestern Medical Center.
  • Education/Science, Dr. Michael B. Ray (’76 B.S., ’78 M.S., Mathematics; ’81 Ph.D., Mathematical Science), Distinguished Scientific Advisor, ExxonMobil.
  • Engineering, Raj Nooyi, former vice president & global head, Tata Consultancy Services (’78 M.S., Industrial Engineering)
  • Liberal Arts, Patricia Meadows, co-founder of the Dallas Visual Arts Center, advisory panelist, Texas Commission on the Arts.

Visit the UTA commencement homepage for ceremony schedules, information and videos posted after some ceremonies.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research-1 “highest research activity” institution. With a projected global enrollment of close to 57,000 in AY 2016-17, UTA is the largest institution in The University of Texas System. Guided by its Strategic Plan Bold Solutions | Global Impact, UTA fosters interdisciplinary research within four broad themes: health and the human condition, sustainable urban communities, global environmental impact, and data-driven discovery. UTA was recently cited by U.S. News & World Report as having the second lowest average student debt among U.S. universities. U.S. News & World Report also 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’ 2017 Best for Vets list.