Texas Woman’s to conduct spring commencement May 12-14

The Spring 2017 semester at Texas Woman’s University will draw to a close with commencement ceremonies scheduled Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13 on TWU’s Denton campus, and Sunday, May 14 in Houston.

The Denton ceremonies include candidates from TWU’s Dallas Center. Approximately 1,822 degrees will be awarded during the Denton ceremonies, which will take place in the Kitty Magee Arena of Pioneer Hall, located on Bell Avenue.

Denton ceremonies scheduled Friday, May 12 are:

  • Ceremony I at 9 a.m., with guest speaker Tiffany C. Larsen, J.D., assistant district attorney with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston and a TWU alumna;
  • Ceremony II at 1 p.m., with speaker Stacie Dieb McDavid, CEO of McDavid Investments and a TWU alumna;
  • Ceremony III at 4:30 p.m., with speaker Amber Garrison Duncan, Ph.D., strategy director for the Lumina Foundation and a TWU alumna.

Denton ceremonies scheduled Saturday, May 13 are:

  • Ceremony IV at 9 a.m., with speaker Lilyan Prado Carrillo, a youth speaker, facilitator and financial aid specialist, and a TWU alumna;
  • Ceremony V at 1 p.m., with speaker Catalina E. Garcia, M.D., president of the Dallas Anesthesiology Group;
  • Ceremony VI at 4:30 p.m., with speaker Liz J. Johnson, Ph.D., one of the first African-American graduates of Texas Woman’s University.

The Houston commencement ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 14 in The Woodlands Waterway Marriott, with guest speaker Misti Pace-Krahl, founder of The Mommie Series and a TWU alumna. Approximately 346 degrees will be awarded during the ceremony.

More information on commencement ceremonies is available on the TWU registrar's website.

A number of the 2,168 students walking across stages in Denton and Houston this year have remarkable stories of significant achievement:

Rishun Beasly will receive her bachelor’s degree in social work during Ceremony I May 12. A former foster care child and a mother of four young children, Beasly is graduating from TWU with a 4.0 grade point average after transferring from Dallas County Community College’s El Centro Campus. She has been accepted to the University of Texas at Arlington’s Master of Social Work program, and in the future hopes to work with non-profits helping foster care youth.

Sandra Wiggins is a first-generation student who will receive her bachelor of general studies degree during Ceremony II May 12. A single parent of two girls, Wiggins endured many hardships after leaving her home in New Orleans to attend college and give her children a chance at a better life. At TWU, she joined Empowering Women as Leaders, an organization that pairs non-traditional scholarship students, known as STARs, with experienced, successful professionals. Wiggins’ mentor, Angelique Sweeney, helped her gain confidence, navigate school and family/life balance and even helped Wiggins find a full-time job at Sweeny’s company, ADP, a national human resources management services and software provider.

Victoria Ann Parades will receive her bachelor of science in nutrition and her U.S. Army commissioning during Ceremony III May 12. Paredes has spent the last five years in the ROTC as part of TWU’s partnership with the University of North Texas, advancing to Commander for the UNT ROTC Army Battalion. In addition to receiving her degree, Paredes also will receive her U.S. Army Commissioning as an Active Duty Engineer Officer. After graduation, she will attend the Officer Leadership Training Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Paredes is a fourth-generation Army soldier.

Monica Arunkumar will receive her master of arts in teaching during Ceremony IV May 13. Arunkumar gave birth to triplet sons during the first semester of her program. She was able to balance schoolwork and caring for her family while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. She plans to work as a bilingual teacher in a local school district.

Betty C. Reily, age 72, is receiving her Ph.D. in reading education during Ceremony IV May 13, 100 years after her mother-in-law, Lela Mae Dyer, graduated from the university in May 1917. At that time, TWU was known as the College of Industrial Arts.

During Ceremony V May 13, TWU will graduate more speech language pathologists than any other program in Texas. Like every class before them, the 124 students who graduate from TWU’s master of science in speech language pathology distance program in 2017 will serve more than 6,000 children across the state of Texas. This collaborative distance graduate program was created by TWU nearly two decades ago. It was the brainchild of TWU, the Texas Education Agency and the Region 10 Education Service Center, in cooperation with 19 other Education Service Centers and hundreds of school districts across the state. This program allows speech therapy students to continue living in their community and working in their sponsoring school district while earning their master’s degree at TWU via distance education.

Michaela Cortes will receive her bachelor of science in nursing degree during Ceremony VI May 13. A TWU Honors Scholar, Cortes was one of only five nursing students in the U.S. selected to intern at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland in the summer of 2015. She studied Ebola as part of her internship, and presented this research to top officials at the NIH. She plans to complete a Critical Care Residency at U.T. Southwestern Medical Center after graduation.

Jessica West will receive her doctor of physical therapy degree in Houston May 14. As an undergraduate working toward a degree in international studies, West “set out to save the world,” as she says. During her time at TWU, West and her fellow PT students started a non-profit organization called the Physical Therapy Global Access Project to help fund international physical therapy service trips. So far, the group has traveled to Ecuador and Peru, providing physical therapy to those in need.

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Page last updated 1:11 PM, May 6, 2021