Graduates get a colorful send-off

UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry graduate walks to stage.
More than 80 awards were bestowed to Class of 2022 graduates from UT Health San Antonio’s School of Dentistry during its Senior Award Convocation and Hooding Ceremony. Also taking part in this annual tradition: graduates from the School of Nursing, Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Apricot, gold, Kelly green, dark blue and lilac. This modified rainbow of colors trimming the hoods of UT Health San Antonio graduates represents the disciplines to which they dedicated themselves in their studies and the professional and academic careers they will now pursue.

On the eve of their commencement, students participated in their respective school’s hooding ceremony to honor a centuries-old academic tradition whereby the ornamental garment is placed over the graduate’s head to signify the continued pursuit of knowledge and scholarship and the successful completion of a master’s or doctoral degree.

In concert with the orange and white lining of the hood designating The University of Texas System, the corresponding color of the hood’s velvet band indicates the degree earned as approved and authorized by the school or college conferring the degree.

Below are highlights of each school’s pre-commencement hooding ceremony. See also extended photo galleries for the School of Nursing, School of Dentistry, Long School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and. Full commencement photos can be viewed here.


School of Nursing

Hood color: apricot

“The hooding ceremony is believed to have originated in European universities in the 12th century and was first instituted to recognize graduating students as they entered their scholarly careers,” explained Sara Gill, PhD, RN, IBCLC, FAAN, professor and associate dean for graduate studies in UT Health San Antonio’s School of Nursing during the May 18 annual hooding ceremony in the university’s Holly Auditorium.

Thirty-eight nursing students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice program participated in the ceremony. After Kathryn Parke, DNP, APRN, CPNP, welcomed the students, family members and guests to the ceremony, each student’s name was called. As they walked across the stage, the faculty member who supervised them placed the hood on each student, honoring individual achievements and collectively celebrating graduates as they embark on the next stages of their professional journeys.


School of Dentistry

Hood color: lilac

Students who graduated from the School of Dentistry were welcomed as new colleagues by Dean Peter M. Loomer, DDS, PhD, during the school’s annual Senior Award Convocation and Hooding Ceremony on May 19 in the Holly Auditorium. In his address to the crowd of about 750 dental graduates, faculty, staff, family and friends, Dean Loomer lauded the Class of 2022’s achievements. This year’s class provided more than $6 million in patient care, 35 scientific research publications and presentations and countless hours of volunteer care to the underserved communities of San Antonio and South Texas.

More than 80 awards were given in recognition to the graduating dental class for their excellence in leadership, clinical skills, research and academia. Twenty-seven seniors were recognized with cords for their distinction in dental education, nine in research and one for military service. As is tradition, Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the national dental honor society, inducted the memberships of the highest academically ranked students among the class to its San Antonio chapter. Among the 14 new inductees was Joelle Foster, DDS, who was named the Class of 2022 valedictorian.


Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine

Hood color: Kelly green

A total of 203 graduates participated in the Long School of Medicine’s hooding ceremony on May 20 at the city’s Alamodome, providing a preview of the site for the next day’s universitywide commencement.

Jessica and Jacob Bethel participate in hooding ceremony.
Dr. Luke Newton, MD (far left), associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, stands in support of Long School of Medicine married graduates Jessica and Jacob Bethel.

The ceremony itself became a true family celebration:

  • Mary Nunn was hooded by her 92-year-old grandfather, Steward Nunn, MD.
  • Sijil Patel was hooded by both her parents, Anila Khan, MD, and Nadeem Patel, MD.
  • Laura Madeline Wright Powers was hooded by parents Beth Wright, MD, and Jay Wright, DO.
  • Married graduates Jacob and Jessica Bethel hooded each other.

Proud mom and UT Health San Antonio alumna Susan A. Lee, MD ’84, captured her thrill of seeing son Gabriel Rheiner prepare to graduate: “[Our children] never outgrow our pride when others acknowledge the good people they have become, although Gabe and a gracious God get the credit for this.” Rheiner’s response: “I am so grateful to have the privilege to take care of people in times of need, and that responsibility is not something I’ll take lightly.”

A single word was not enough to sum up graduate Temiloluwa Adejuyigbe’s elation over reaching this milestone: “Medical school has been the most transformative, joy-filled, humbling, challenging and rewarding experience of my life.”


Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Hood color: dark blue (Philosophy/PhD); gold (Science/master’s degree)

The hooding ceremony honoring graduating students from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) took place May 20 at the Holly Auditorium. The ceremony celebrated graduates from August 2021 through June 2022. Forty-eight students participated in hooding, and four students who were part of the inaugural class of the Pre-professional Graduate Certificate Program received their certificates of completion. Among the outstanding achievements of GSBS students were two trainees earning their PhD in the multidisciplinary Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) Graduate Program: Myrna Garcia and Gabrielle Zuniga.

“I want to say how proud we are of all your accomplishments and how well you’ve done to get to this point. It’s been quite a journey, made more difficult by COVID, but you got through it and we’re very proud,” said David Weiss, PhD, dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

“We also want you to know that we’re always here for you, whatever you may need down the road. Well done, and best of luck!”


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