The 2,350 students are a new record for UTEP's winter commencement. The former record was last year's 2,014. It continues a 3 to 5 percent increase in the number of graduates in winter and spring Commencements that the University has experienced each of the past five years, said Richard Bartlett, the University's graduation coordinator.
The record number of graduates and candidates participated in the three winter Commencement ceremonies conducted Dec. 15 at UTEP's Don Haskins Center.
The 51 doctoral degrees are an unprecedented 50 percent increase from the 34 awarded last winter and put the University on track to award 100 doctoral degrees per year by 2014, said Benjamin C. Flores, Ph.D., dean of UTEP's Graduate School.
"With this impressive record, UTEP moves closer to its goal of becoming the state's next Tier One institution with a student demographic that is truly representative of the nation's population in the 21st century," he said.
Among those doctoral graduates will be Anibal Sosa and Paula Andrea Gonzalez Parra, who will be the first to walk the stage as recipients of Ph.D. degrees in computational science conferred by UTEP. Kiran Kumar Katta was the first to earn the degree in August and is now working in California.
Computational Science is an interdisciplinary program where computers play a fundamental role in solving complex issues. The collaborative interdisciplinary program produces graduates skilled in techniques such as mathematical modeling, algorithmic design, computer simulation and scientific visualization.
The University will graduate its first cohort from the two-year Doctor of Physical Therapy program, which is part of the College of Health Sciences. The 21 graduates will enhance the region's ability to provide rehabilitative services, said Kathleen A. Curtis, Ph.D., the college's dean.
"UTEP is proud to contribute to our regional health care workforce with these outstanding graduates of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program," Curtis said. "As our community ages and experiences higher levels of chronic disease and disability, these services will be invaluable to ensure our population's well-being, as well as contributing to our community's economic growth and prosperity."
Commencement was held at 9 a.m. for the College of Liberal Arts, 2 p.m. for the colleges of Education and Business Administration, and 7 p.m. for the School of Nursing and the colleges of Science, Engineering, and Health Sciences.