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UTA poised to confer thousands of degrees during Fall 2017 commencement ceremonies

More than 5,465 students are scheduled to participate in commencement ceremonies at The University of Texas at Arlington Dec. 14-16 at College Park Center. The number of candidates for graduation is more than a 13 percent increase over the 4,808 who applied for graduation in Fall 2016.

In addition to the 5,465 fall candidates, 2,454 graduates who completed their degree requirements over the summer will participate in the upcoming ceremonies.

Degree conferrals are highest in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, College of Business and College of Engineering.

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

While the numbers are impressive, the stories of individual graduates are equally compelling. They include:

  • Madhuri Murali – Originally from India, Murali wanted to move to the United States to pursue a degree. UTA was her dream school because of its strong information systems program in the College of Business. Murali couldn’t convince her mother to let her move for her undergraduate studies, but eventually her father helped change her mother’s mind. Murali is graduating from UTA with a master’s degree and has a full-time job in Denver. Her parents will attend her commencement ceremony – it will be their first ever visit to the U.S.
  • Johanna Fite – Fite spent time in foster care, shelters and was even homeless as a child. A mother of three by the time she was 21, Fite obtained her GED, became a licensed vocational nurse and eventually earned an associate’s degree. After being diagnosed with learning disabilities, Fite made the dean’s list at UTA. She now works for the Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General as a nurse analyst and will walk the stage for the first time in her life.
  • Ashford Sonii – Sonii’s family immigrated from Liberia in west Africa. He says his parents and grandparents made daily sacrifices to benefit him and his siblings. Sonii graduated from high school in Grand Prairie and chose to attend UTA because of the diversity and the commitment he saw in faculty and staff. He was elected Mr. UTA and served in many leadership capacities as a student. Sonii interned with the City of Arlington and is graduating with a contract to continue working in grant management for the city’s Community Development and Planning department.

Speakers at the December 2017 commencement ceremonies are:

  • College of Business: Jim Wilkinson (’93, B.B.A., Finance) chairman and chief executive officer, TrailRunner International
  • College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs/School of Social Work/University College: Jane Avila (’90, M.S., Social Work) founder, The Art Station
  • College of Nursing and Health Innovation: Lillie Biggins (’74, B.S., Nursing) president, Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth
  • College of Education/College of Science: Vistasp Karbhari, president, The University of Texas at Arlington
  • College of Engineering: Jeffrey Bradley, CEO, Forterra
  • College of Liberal Arts: Norry G. Niven (’85, B.A., Communication – Radio/Television) Film Director, Lucky 21

Visit the UTA commencement homepage for ceremony schedules and directions to College Park Center.