Fall Graduates Get Ready to Reflect, Make New Memories at Commencement Ceremonies

UT Dallas Graduation

From left: John Thompson, Jennifer Chon and Jordyn Ayala earned degrees from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences last spring. This fall, more than 250 students are expected to graduate from the school, which will hold its commencement at 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18.

On Friday, Dec. 18, UT Dallas doctoral student Ashwinikumar Kulkarni will walk across the stage during one of the University’s fall commencement exercises under the watchful and proud eyes of his family.  

As for many students, Kulkarni’s family will be sharing in the moment both on campus and from a distance. His parents are traveling from his native India, and his younger brother and sister-in-law are coming in from San Diego. Even his grandparents and in-laws will be able to enjoy his accomplishment via a live online video stream of the proceedings. 

“I am very happy and excited to have my family here to celebrate this lifetime moment for me and my wife,” said Kulkarni MS’11. After earning his PhD in cell and molecular biology from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, he will take on new challenges as a postdoctoral researcher in the neuroscience department at UT Southwestern Medical Center. 

More than 2,300 students are expected to earn their UT Dallas degrees this fall, including 1,123 bachelor’s students and 1,152 master’s students. Forty-five doctoral candidates also have been certified. Nearly 2,500 students are expected to participate in commencement ceremonies, including some who earned their degrees over the summer.

The recognition of the graduates begins Thursday with the doctoral hooding ceremony. During this event, faculty members and students are dressed in traditional academic regalia, with family members and friends in attendance. One by one, each student’s adviser places the doctoral hood over the head of the graduate, signifying his or her successful completion of the doctoral program

Commencement ceremonies Friday will honor 59 students who are expected to earn degrees this fall from the School of Arts and Humanities, along with 90 from the School of Arts, Technology and Emerging Communication; 252 from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences; 143 from the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences; 81 from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies; and 171 from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Two sessions on Friday afternoon will honor the 526 expected graduates from the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, while three sessions on Saturday will accommodate the 992 students expected to earn degrees from the Naveen Jindal School of Management

After each commencement, family, friends and graduates are invited to Memories on the Mall, a tradition honoring the University’s newest alumni. The event includes refreshments, photo opportunities, giveaways and the chance for graduates to reflect on their experiences at UT Dallas. 

Kulkarni said his time at the University was filled with many “firsts” and special memories that he will take with him after the pomp of commencement is over. He came to UT Dallas in 2009 as a master’s student and continued with his PhD, inspired in part by his physician father to pursue studies and a research career where he could make basic discoveries to ultimately save human lives. Dr. Michael Zhang, director of the Center for Systems Biology and the Cecil H. and Ida Green Chair of Systems Biology Science, directed Kulkarni’s graduate work, calling him “a role model for future students who are interested in biomedical research.” 

“Throughout my UTD journey, I have made several memories and lifetime friends,” Kulkarni said. “I started my married life when I was studying at UTD. I got my first car when I was at UTD. I published my first international research publication when I was at UTD. Everything has been very special to me. I will never forget these six years of my life.”


Fall 2015 Commencement Speakers

Arundati Chadaga

Arundati Chadaga

Arundati Chadaga, MS, information technology and management, Naveen Jindal School of Management 
Elise Keller

Elise Keller

Elise Keller, BS, software engineering, Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science 
Nusha Laleh

Nusha Laleh

Nusha Laleh, BS, mechanical engineering, Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science
Greyson Morgan

Greyson Morgan

Greyson Morgan, BS, business administration, Naveen Jindal School of Management


Keri Schoenemann

Keri Schoenemann

Keri Schoenemann, BS, speech-language pathology and audiology, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Anna Shapovalova

Anna Shapovalova

Anna Shapovalova, MS, international political economy, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences
Dara Stork

Dara Stork

Dara Stork, MBA, Naveen Jindal School of Management



Graduation Articles

Fall 2015Graduation Schedule

All events will be in the Activity Center Main Gym.

Thursday, Dec. 17

1 p.m. Doctoral hooding 

Friday, Dec. 18

9 a.m. School of Arts and Humanities, School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication, and School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

11:30 a.m. School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

2 p.m. Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, Ceremony 1

4:30 p.m. Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, Ceremony 2

Saturday, Dec. 19

9 a.m. Naveen Jindal School of Management, Undergraduate

11:30 a.m. Naveen Jindal School of Management, Graduate 1

2 p.m. Naveen Jindal School of Management, Graduate 2


Parking (see map) will be available in Lot J, which is closest to the University Activity Center where ceremonies will be held. Parking for those with disabilities is available there. Lots H, M and U will be used for overflow parking. Shuttles will be operating.

What will commencement day be like? Watch this video, which also features everything graduates and their guests will need to know.

Helpful Links

What to Expect at Commencement

Live Webcasts of Ceremonies

Other Graduation Information

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Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].