UTA Students Reach Academic Pinnacle
By UT Arlington University Communications
Posted on May 13, 2015, May 13, 2015


Some 5,000 students are scheduled to claim their degrees during commencement ceremonies May 14-16 at The University of Texas at Arlington's College Park Center.

The UT Arlington Class of 2015 includes more than 3,500 undergraduates and nearly 1,400 master's students. More than 100 students will earn doctoral degrees during commencement weekend.

Steady enrollment growth in the College of Engineering is driving larger graduating classes and producing record numbers of degrees engineers with more than 700 undergraduate and graduate students set to earn their degrees this month. That figure represents more than a 50 percent increase over the number of engineering degrees awarded in spring 2014.

The number of degrees to be conferred is up across the University and especially in the colleges of Nursing, Business, Education, Liberal Arts and Science.

Commencement ceremonies kick off at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 14, in College Park Center, 600 S. Center St., with the College of Nursing and Health Innovation ceremony. The schools of Urban and Public Affairs, Social Work, Architecture, University College, and the colleges of Science and Liberal Arts will have ceremonies Friday, May 15. The colleges of Business, Engineering and Education conclude the commencement week on Saturday, May 15.

A full schedule of commencement week activities is available online at http://www.uta.edu/commencement/.

Commencement speakers include:

  • Bill Hale, the Texas Department of Transportation's chief engineer, who will address graduates of the College of Engineering. Hale earned his master's in civil engineering from UT Arlington and manages, controls and provides oversight for all TxDOT operations.
  • Kirk King, Texas Health Resources executive vice president and operations leader for the Southwest Zone, who will address graduates of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation. King is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
  • Dr. Joel Montgomery, director of the Division of Global Health Protection in Kenya for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who will address College of Science graduates. Montgomery earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from UT Arlington. He is a part of the Ebola Response Team in Liberia.
  • Robert Pence, president and chief executive officer of Freese and Nichols, who will address College of Education graduates. A water and wastewater expert, Pence started at Freese and Nichols as a design engineer in 1978 following a four-year stint with the U.S. Army and two years as a research assistant. The Fort Worth Chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers named Pence 2008 Engineer of the Year.
  • Matthew Rose, executive chairman of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, who will address graduates of the College of Business. Rose also is deputy chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Many financial analysts see Rose as a possible successor to Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., BNSF's parent company.
  • Ann Utley, president of the Utley Education Foundation, who will address graduates of the schools of Urban and Public Affairs, Architecture and Social Work. Utley also serves as director of the Texas Mental Health Foundation and the Plaza at Turtle Creek Residences Association Inc.
  • Jeronimo Valdez, ('99)a trial lawyer and founding and managing partner of Valdez Washington LLP, who will address College of Liberal Arts graduates. Valdez was named to the Texas Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" list published by Texas Monthly magazine. The National Trial Lawyers Association also recognized him as one of the top 40 lawyers in the State of Texas under the age of 40.

Among the many compelling student stories in the Class of 2015 are:

  • Emmanuel Fordjour, College of Science. Fordjour will earn degrees in biology and microbiology and was one of just 15 United Negro College Fund Merck Science Research Scholarship award winners in 2014, which earned him $25,000. He also has published for research, investigating a dangerous, hospital-acquired disease called Clostridium difficile infection. As an undergraduate, he has presented his findings to members of Congress. In addition, he won several other top honors. After graduation, he plans to complete a combined M.D./Ph.D. program and become a physician, educator and researcher. See more of Fordjour's story here.
  • Sareek Hosein, College of Business. Hosein is a first-generation college student majoring in international business with a Spanish concentration. He has worked for his mother's insurance agency for three years and commutes daily from Mesquite after work for class. He plans to start a nonprofit agency that would take a business-themed, personal-development approach toward getting the homeless off the streets. His family is from Trinidad and Tobago, and his culture and family traditions play a very important role in his life. He is a super-volunteer, donating time to the North Texas Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and many other organizations. See more of Hosein's story here.
  • Maritza Moreno, College of Liberal Arts. Moreno learned early in her UT Arlington journey that entering the communications field would not be easy and that competition would be intense. So she took the challenge to heart and completed six internships in three years across North Texas, while also graduating with top honors as a first-generation college student. She will begin working full-time the Monday following graduation with Richards/Lerma, a Dallas-based Hispanic marketing agency - whose clients include Dr Pepper/Snapple Group, Google and Jeep - as the youngest member of the team. See more of Moreno's story here.
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