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UTHSC To Award 852 Degrees During Spring Commencement Exercises

Degrees will be awarded to 874 graduates during UTHSC’s commencement exercises May 7 through May 31. Pictured are graduates from the December 2018 ceremony. (Photo by Allen Gillespie/UTHSC)

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will award degrees to 852 new health care professionals during its spring commencement ceremonies scheduled from May 7 through May 31.

Each of the six colleges at UTHSC will hold a ceremony. The graduates include 119 from the College of Dentistry, 21 from the College of Graduate Health Sciences, 268 from the College of Health Professions, 158 from the College of Medicine, 99 from the College of Nursing, and 187 from the College of Pharmacy. UTHSC’s Chancellor Steve Schwab, MD, will confer the degrees.

“As we begin our spring commencement ceremonies, it is important to reflect on the incredible accomplishments of our graduates,” said Lori Gonzalez, PhD, vice chancellor for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs at UTHSC. “They came to UTHSC ready to learn and to make a difference. Our dedicated faculty and staff provided the foundation for this learning. We celebrate the journey that has led to this significant milestone and look forward to the graduates’ contributions to the health and well-being of those they serve.”

Here is a list of UTHSC’s spring commencement exercises:

The College of Pharmacy
May 7, 2 p.m., Halloran Centre for Performing Arts and Education,
225 S. Main Street
The College of Graduate Health Sciences
May 13, 11 a.m., Halloran Centre for Performing Arts and Education
The College of Dentistry
May 24, 10 a.m., Cannon Center for the Performing Arts,
255 N Main Street
The College of Nursing
May 24, 2 p.m., Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
The College of Health Professions
May 29, 10 a.m., Cannon Center for the Performing Arts

The College of Medicine
May 31, 9:30 a.m., Memphis Cook Convention Center,
255 N. Main Street

Victoria F. Roche, PhD, professor of Pharmacy Sciences and special assistant to the dean at the Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, will deliver the keynote address to UTHSC College of Pharmacy graduates. An accomplished scholar, instructor, and researcher, Dr. Roche has received numerous honors and accolades. In 2003, she developed an elective course in Native American Cultures and Health in which pharmacy students learn reservation-based health and social service in a Navajo community setting.

Donald Thomason, PhD, dean of the UTHSC College of Graduate Health Sciences, will give a charge to that college’s graduating students.

Myra Meekins, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, assistant professor of physical therapy in the College of Health Professions, will give the keynote address to Health Professions students.

Carla Kirkland, MSN, APRN, ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, ENP-BC, will deliver the keynote address to College of Nursing graduates. She is the District 1 president and president-elect of the Tennessee Nurses Association.

College of Dentistry graduates will hear from United States Navy Captain Sheherazad Lena Hartzell during their ceremony. She will also be administering the oath of office to graduates entering the military. Currently the Medical Inspector General for the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Captain Hartzell’s tours of duty as a dental officer include a seven-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as Tikrit, Iraq, where she was a translator and political advisor for the Coalition Provisional Authority. Her military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Sara Cross, MD, will speak to College of Medicine graduates. An associate professor of Medicine/Infectious Diseases and Medical Education at UTHSC, Dr. Cross teaches infectious disease courses to first- and second-year medical students. She also has an HIV and general infectious diseases clinic.

Members of the University of Tennessee Alumni Association (UTAA) will welcome graduates into the UT Alumni Association. This year’s alumni speakers are:

• Casey White, PharmD, president of the UTHSC College of Pharmacy Alumni Board of Directors, assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy (College of Pharmacy)
• Crystal Martin Walker, PhD, MSN-CNL, RN, Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in the College of Nursing (College of Graduate Health Sciences)
• C. L. Greenblatt, DDS, past-president of the UTHSC College of Dentistry Alumni Board of Trustees (College of Dentistry)
• Mrs. Armatine “Tine” Williams, president of the UTHSC College of Nursing Board of Directors (College of Nursing)
• Barbara DuBray Benstein, PhD, professor and program director, Cytotechnology and Histotechnology, (College of Health Professions)
• John Little, MD, president elect of the UTHSC College of Medicine Alumni Council (College of Medicine)

Serving more than 382,000 alumni from five different campuses, the UTAA has been active since 1836, making it one of the oldest alumni associations in the country.