UT celebrates graduates’ accomplishments at ceremonies across the state

Families and friends from all over the state, nation and world converged in Texas this month to celebrate the graduation of more than 33,000 students receiving undegraduate, graduate and professional degrees from University of Texas health and academic institutions.  

UT Arlington graduated its largest class in university history with an estimated 5,600 students receiving their degrees, about an 8 percent increase over the Spring 2016 graduates, while UT Rio Grande Valley celebrated its fourth commencement in the university's two years of existence. And one of the most unique graduation traditions at a UT institution took place for the sixth year in a row – the new class rings of UT San Antonio graduates spent a night in the Alamo before the students received this lasting symbol of their commitment to education.

Across the state, commencement speakers motivated students as they embarked on their next journey and included inspirational leaders like David O. Brown, retired chief of the Dallas Police Department (UT Austin), Sandra K. Woodley, the next UT Permian Basin president (UTPB), Acting U.S. Surgeon General Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams (UTHealth), and Kenneth Shine, former UT System executive vice chancellor for health affairs (UT Health San Antonio).

Many UT students already know how they will make an impact in their communities and around the world, including:

  • Priscilla Glen, a UT Arlington biology graduate who will focus her career on making food more affordable and more accessible to all;
  • Divya Srinivasan, a UT Tyler graduate with a degree in health and kinesiology who plans to work as a medical assistant before going back to school to become a physician assistant and spend time serving in underdeveloped countries;
  • Joel Isais, a first-generation high school and college graduate who earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree at UT El Paso after his parent’s faith in him helped make education a priority in his life;
  • Maithri Mahesh, a UT Dallas molecular and cell biology master’s degree graduate who is headed to New York City to work as a lab technician;
  • and Jorge Castillo, a master’s degree in electrical engineering graduate from UT Rio Grande Valley who plans to extend his research in a research facility or in the semiconductor industry.

UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven congratulated the 2017 graduates for their accomplishments in his latest blog post and said, “This degree is a great credential – and make no mistake, every UT degree is a great credential – and that sheepskin will open a lot of doors. But what happens after that will be less about the credential than the character it took to earn it.”

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News Contact Info

Jenny LaCoste-Caputo: jcaputo@utsystem.edu  • 512-499-4361(direct) • 512-574-5777 (cell) 
Melanie Thompson: mthompson@utsystem.edu • 512-499-4487 (direct) • 832-724-1024 (cell)