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Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 12:53pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — 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 commencement ceremonies will he held 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
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
UTEP will stream the Commencement ceremonies live. To view, visit www.utep.edu.