UTEP Graduation Boasts Record Number of Doctoral Candidates
December 12, 2013 | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
What: More than 2,200 graduates and candidates are eligible to participate in The University of Texas at El Paso's 131st commencement exercises.
When: Saturday, Dec. 14 at 9 a.m. for the College of Liberal Arts, 2 p.m. for the School of Nursing and the colleges of Education and Business Administration, and 7 p.m. for the colleges of Science, Engineering and Health Sciences
Where: The Don Haskins Center (Mesa Street and Glory Road)
There will be plenty of joyful cheers and tears as The University of Texas at El Paso bestows what is projected to be a record number of doctoral degrees during the three winter Commencement ceremonies.
Thousands of proud and boisterous families and friends are expected to fill the Haskins Center to share in the special occasion.
The 61 projected doctoral degrees – 36 Doctor of Philosophy, 24 Doctor of Physical Therapy and one Doctor of Education – will be a20 percent increase from last year's record of 51. They will be presented during the University's 131st Commencement exercises that will also recognize the academic achievements of more than 2,200 students, including 324 summer graduates.
The larger number of doctoral degrees awarded comes on the heels of the University's students earning 128 doctorates during the 2012-13 academic year that ended in August. The earlier record was 66 the previous year. One of the benchmarks to become a Tier One university is awarding at least 100 doctoral degrees per year.
"This achievement is a crucial milestone for the institution in its goal of becoming a national research university," said Benjamin Flores, Ph.D., dean of UTEP's Graduate School. "It shows that UTEP's investment in research infrastructure and development of new doctoral programs is paying off with great dividends."
He said the University has set its sights on awarding 200 doctoral degrees per year. Flores said this goal will be accomplished as new doctoral degrees, which are being planned, are approved and implemented within the next few years.
Other Commencement Highlights
Doctor of Physical Therapy
There are 24 candidates for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. This is a 14 percent increase above the 21 degrees awarded in the 2012 winter semester, the first year the degree was bestowed by UTEP's College of Health Sciences.
"Our second cohort of 24 D.P.T. graduates reflects the growth in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program," said Kathleen Curtis, Ph.D., dean of the college. The degree plan recently earned national accolades for its preparation of linguistically and culturally competent health care providers. "This program will continue to expand in size with a goal of 36 students per class as we continue to address our regional workforce shortages and add to the spectrum of health services that are available in our community."
First Biomedical Degree
Mireya A. Perez, a research administrator in UTEP's W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation, is the first student to earn a Master of Science in biomedical engineering. This program integrates biology, physics, chemistry, medicine and engineering.
The University's Office of International Programs said 123 international students have applied for graduation from 13 countries: Argentina, Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, India, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, China and Russia. The international graduates will earn nine doctoral, 49 master's and 65 bachelor's degrees.
The School of Nursing, which had been part of the 7 p.m. ceremony for years, has been moved up to the 2 p.m. Commencement to better balance the number of graduates at each ceremony.
A New Record
The College of Liberal Arts will celebrate its largest group of students who are eligible to participate in a Winter Commencement – 735, including 213 summer graduates. The previous winter record for degrees awarded was 677 last year.
Commencement Day Coverage
The stream, a partnership between the University and KFOX-TV, has become a popular option since it was initiated for the 2012 Winter Commencement. Views increased to 2,912 for the spring ceremony from 793 views last December. Most of the views were from the United States (1,967) and Mexico (212), but it was also seen by people around the world.
Graduates will be available for media interviews 30 minutes before each ceremony in Memorial Gym (across from the Don Haskins Center) or following the ceremonies outside the Don Haskins Center. Interviews will not be allowed in the Haskins Center tunnel.
Well-wishers with disabilities may find it easier to enter the Haskins Center through its north and east entrances. Parking for people with disabilities will be available in the lots north of the building. University officials suggest guests arrive early to avoid traffic and to get a good parking space near the Haskins Center. Motorists also are asked to drive cautiously around the Haskins Center and be mindful of pedestrians.
Families are asked to not bring items including banners, balloons, noisemakers and strollers to the center.
For more suggestions and tips, please visit the University commencement website at www.utep.edu/commencement.