The Spring 2019 semester at Texas Woman’s University will draw to a close with commencement ceremonies scheduled Friday and Saturday, May 10-11 on TWU’s Denton campus, and Sunday, May 12 in Houston.
The Denton ceremonies include candidates from TWU’s Dallas Center. Approximately 1,526 degrees will be awarded during the Denton ceremonies, which will take place in the Kitty Magee Arena of Pioneer Hall, located on Bell Avenue.
The Houston ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 12 in The Woodlands Marriott. Anita Hufft, Ph.D., retiring dean of the TWU College of Nursing, will deliver the commencement address. Approximately 216 degrees will be awarded during the ceremony.
Denton ceremonies scheduled Friday, May 10 are:
- Ceremony I at 9 a.m., with guest speaker Alice Masciarelli, executive director of the Denton Community Health Clinic
- Ceremony II at 1 p.m., with guest speaker Pamela Youngblood, DMA, co-director of the TWU School of the Arts, chair of TWU’s department of music and theatre, and Cornaro Professor of Music
- Ceremony III at 4:30 p.m., with guest speaker W. Stephen Love, president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council
Denton ceremonies scheduled Saturday, May 11 are:
- Ceremony IV at 9 a.m., with guest speaker The Honorable Alia Moses, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Texas, as well as a TWU alumna
- Ceremony V at 1 p.m., with guest speaker Neena Newberry, president of Newberry Solutions
All TWU ceremonies will be viewable via live streaming at https://www.twu.edu/registrar/graduation-and-commencement/livestream-commencement/
For more information on Commencement, visit https://twu.edu/registrar/graduation-and-commencement/commencement-schedule/
A number of students walking across stages in Denton and Houston this year have remarkable stories of achievement:
Nineteen-year-old Aliza Fatima Rizwan will receive her bachelor of science in food and nutrition in business and industry during Ceremony I. The first-generation college student is graduating with a 4.0 GPA and will begin the master’s degree program in food safety regulation at Johns Hopkins University this fall.
Dominique Guinn will receive her doctoral degree in health studies during Ceremony I. Guinn pursued her doctorate while fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The cancer not only drained her financially, but also required hospitalization five to seven days a month for a year. Through it all, Guinn continued to teach in order to keep her health insurance. Family and friends rallied together to help, and TWU’s Food Scholarship Program and the Houston Food Bank provided healthy foods for Guinn and her two daughters. She participated in a clinical trial on a new medication she says saved her life, and as an African-American woman, Guinn is using her experience to encourage diversity in clinical trial research.
Two students who were the focus of media attention during their senior years will receive their degrees during Ceremony II.
Hannah Werchan, who will receive her bachelor of fine arts degree, won first prize in the Kennedy Center’s 2018 VSA Emerging Young Artists Competition, which recognizes young artists who have disabilities. Werchan uses her artwork to showcase her experiences with Stickler Syndrome, a rare congenital disorder. As part of her Kennedy Center award, her winning artwork is being shown as part of a yearlong, nationally touring exhibition. She will begin working toward her master of fine arts degree at TWU this fall.
Sixteen-year-old Haley Taylor-Schlitz gained national attention this year after being accepted into nine law schools. The homeschooled student earned her high school diploma at age 13, then began taking community college courses. She transferred to TWU when she was 14. Taylor-Schlitz, who will receive her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas Woman’s, has chosen to attend law school at Southern Methodist University in the fall. As an attorney, she plans to advocate for students in neglected communities and eventually become a judge.
Adam Lee Schroeder will receive his bachelor of science degree in nursing during Ceremony III. Schroeder retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after 10 years of service that included missions in some of the heaviest urban combat areas of Iraq. He now begins work in the emergency department at Baylor Scott & White and hopes to one day become a flight nurse.
In 2017, Texas Woman’s University partnered with the University of North Texas to develop a joint master of social work degree — one of only four joint master’s programs in the nation, and the only one of its kind in Texas. The first cohort of students in the program will graduate during Ceremony IV.
A cohort of graduate students will receive their master’s degree in speech-language pathology during Ceremony V. Texas Woman’s is known as one of the nation’s top producers of speech therapists, with both on-campus and distance learning programs. The distance venue option has been offered for more than 18 years, and that program’s 1,000thstudent will graduate during the ceremony. Also, two years ago, TWU introduced a new post-baccalaureate certificate in bilingual speech-language pathology in direct response to the shortage of bilingual speech pathologists across the state. This year, 30 of these students will be the first to graduate with this distinctive certificate.
Torrey Alexis Jr. will receive his master of science in nutrition during the Houston ceremony. Like a third of America’s students in higher education, Alexis experienced food insecurity. He worked on implementing a TWU food pantry that offered foods including fresh produce and shelf-stable goods to struggling students, and was interviewed about the program on National Public Radio. In the future, he hopes to work toward a doctoral degree in public health and become an educator in nutrition and public health.
Glorimar Medina-Rivera also will graduate in the Houston ceremony, receiving her master of business administration degree. Medina-Rivera, an anesthesiologist by trade, was appointed last year to lead Harris Health Systems Ambulatory Services. She believes her pursuit of an MBA helped her advance to her current position as executive vice president, in which she oversees more than 30 different ambulatory sites. Medina-Rivera decided to pursue an MBA to better understand the business side of healthcare and give physicians a seat at the table.