UT Health San Antonio celebrated a combined, all-school commencement May 21 at the Alamodome.
More than 1,000 students — 807 in May and 224 this summer — applied to graduate from the university’s five schools: the School of Nursing, School of Dentistry, School of Health Professions, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine.
“For faculty and staff, today represents a point of pride as we fulfill our charter of providing an education of the first class to these motivated young professionals,” said William L. Henrich, MD, MACP, president of UT Health San Antonio, as he welcomed graduates, parents, family, friends, faculty and staff to the commencement. “They have persevered during a pandemic and excelled by every measure. Their intrepid spirit reaches a new milestone today with this ceremony. The achievements of these graduates mirror in so many ways the substantial advances of our UT Health San Antonio enterprise. The students are vital to our success, fundamental to how we are defined, and truly, an inspiration for our faculty and staff.”
The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Henry Cisneros, mayor of San Antonio in the 1980s and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
After conferring the May and summer degrees, UT Health San Antonio will have produced more than 41,100 graduates. “Most health care providers and scientists in South Texas have graduated from or work with our academic health center,” Dr. Henrich said.
Including both the May and summer ceremonies, UT Health San Antonio will issue degrees and certificates to 369 Hispanic students and 54 Black students, preliminary data show. This is 41% of all graduates of the institution, spanning all five schools.
“The university continues to produce health care providers who are culturally competent to serve the large Hispanic population of San Antonio and South Texas,” said Chiquita Collins, PhD, appointed by Dr. Henrich this year to serve as the inaugural, full-time vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at UT Health San Antonio.
Designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education, UT Health San Antonio consistently ranks among the top schools in the nation for graduating Hispanic health care providers.
Of the May and summer applicants for graduation, 62% (645) are women, further demonstrating the university’s diversity.
In addition to front-line physicians and nurses, UT Health San Antonio educates and trains a variety of professionals to serve society including dentists, dental hygienists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, respiratory care therapists and more.
PhD and related degree programs provide expert scientists for San Antonio’s life sciences ecosystem. “UT Health San Antonio students have an opportunity to engage in basic and clinical research with more than 1,000 leading scientists and clinicians, better preparing them to be leaders in the health care and bioscience industry,” said Jennifer Potter, PhD, vice president for research at UT Health San Antonio.