850 advance in health science careers at May commencements

SAN ANTONIO (May 12, 2015) — About 850 students will graduate from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 15-17, in commencement ceremonies of the institution’s five schools.

Speakers will include Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., past chancellor of the UT System, who is director of pediatric transplant surgery with the University Transplant Center, a clinical partnership of the UT Health Science Center and University Health System. He will speak to School of Medicine graduates. Maj. Gen. Jimmie O. Keenan, deputy commanding general (operations), U.S. Army Medical Command, and chief, U.S. Army Nurse Corps., will address School of Nursing graduates. The complete schedule and other speakers are listed below.

Members of the media are invited to pursue any of these story ideas:

• Four students graduating from the School of Nursing on Saturday met in seventh grade and attended Southwest High School in San Antonio together. Now all are graduating as nurses. Their peers call them “The Dragons” because of their high school teams’ mascot. These young women grew up on the South Side of San Antonio, and several are the first in their families to attend college.

• April Nguyen is graduating with her Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) degree from the School of Nursing, and she recently established a scholarship in memory of her father, Jesus Martin Vega. Donors such as Nguyen are building the fund, which benefits students in the M.S.N. program. Her moving tribute to her father may be read at https://makelivesbetter.uthscsa.edu/vega.

• Several military veterans are graduating from the Health Science Center this weekend, including April Tabar, a single mother and Air Force veteran who is receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene. Her young son was only 3 when she served in Iraq from September 2007 to January 2008. During her service she chose dental assisting as her career. Her early college credits were in her native New Mexico and some did not transfer to Texas. Nevertheless Tabar persevered, taking courses at Northwest Vista College and then entering the Health Science Center.

• Another veteran, Kyle Radtke, will receive his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at the School of Health Professions commencement on Sunday. During his time in the physical therapy program, Radtke and his wife fostered a number of children, one of which they are in the process of adopting.

The full schedule of commencement exercises including times, locations and speakers is:

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 4 p.m. Friday, May 15, Holly Auditorium, UT Health Science Center, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, 78229; speaker: Bettie Sue Masters, Ph.D., Robert A. Welch Distinguished Professor in Chemistry, Department of Biochemistry, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio

School of Nursing, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16, Greehey Arena, St. Mary’s University, One Camino Santa Maria, 78228; speaker: Maj. Gen. Jimmie O. Keenan, deputy commanding general (operations), U.S. Army Medical Command, and chief, U.S. Army Nurse Corps

School of Dentistry, 9 a.m. Sunday, May 17, Greehey Arena, St. Mary’s University; speaker: Jane C. Atkinson, D.D.S., director, Center for Clinical Research, Division of Extramural Research, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health

School of Medicine, 1 p.m. Sunday, Greehey Arena, St. Mary’s University; speaker: Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., director of pediatric transplant surgery, University Transplant Center

School of Health Professions, 6 p.m. Sunday, Greehey Arena; speaker: Richard E. Oliver, Ph.D., dean, School of Health Professions, University of Missouri


The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 13 percent of academic institutions receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 31,000 graduates. The $787.7 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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