TTUHSC Celebrates its Biggest Time of the Year
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TTUHSC Celebrates its Biggest Time of the Year

Students from all disciplines were ushered into the health care profession during separate commencement ceremonies.

Written by Beth Phillips

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences graduated May 10 at the International Cultural Center in Lubbock.

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences graduated May 10 at the International Cultural Center in Lubbock.

President Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., deans and distinguished speakers presided over the university’s commencement ceremonies earlier this month in Lubbock.

In addition to receiving degrees in their respective fields of nursing, allied health sciences, medicine, pharmacy and biomedical sciences, several students also received awards for excellence in research, scholastic achievement and patient care.

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

The commencement speaker for the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences was Li-Na Wei, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. Wei, who holds the Distinguished McKnight University Professorship, earned her doctorate in 1986 at TTUHSC in microbiology and completed post-doctoral training at the Columbia University, where she received an NIH fellowship.

Awards:

  • The 2014 Dean’s Recognition Award for the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences – William Hutton Jones
  • 2014 Outstanding Graduate Student – Shahriar Absar
  • Distinguished Alumni 2013 – Li-Na Wei, Ph.D.

School of Allied Health Sciences

More than 255 May graduates received degrees from the The School of Allied Health Sciences (approximately another 205 students will walk in the ceremony as December and August graduates).

Awards:

  • Dean’s Award for Excellence – Undergraduate – Alex James Gibson
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence – Graduate – Brook Wilson
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence – Research – Jeremy James Donai, Ph.D.
The School of Allied Health Sciences graduated May 10 at the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock.

The School of Allied Health Sciences graduated May 10 at the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock.

School of Nursing

American Nurses Association President Karen Daley, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN gave this year’s School of Nursing commencement address. More than 1,000 students graduated from the School of Nursing this year. Of those, approximately 600 students are December 2013 and August 2014 graduates.

Awards:

  • Healing Touch Award: Covenant Health System – Eryn Austin
  • Leadership Award: University Medical Center Health System – Adrian Mulig
  • C.A.R.E. Award: Medical Center Hospital, Nursing Administration – Amanda Case and Natalie Rose
  • Excellence in Health Teaching Award: Odessa Regional Medical Center – Kassidy Melendez
  • Community Action Award: Midland Memorial Hospital – Samantha Schneider
  • Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Graduation – Michelle A. Pinelle, R.N., BSN

Distinguished Alumni

  • Excellence in Clinical Care – Paul Lascuna, CPT, AN, MSN, FNP, B.C.
  • Community Engagement – Jamie Dudensing, MPAFF, BSN
  • Leadership in Health Care – Gerald Bryant, DNP, R.N., NEA-BC

Excellence in Nursing

  • Doctorate – Tracey Page, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC
  • Graduate – Jamie Roney, MSN, RN-BC, CCRN
  • Non-Traditional Undergraduate – Shannon Roberts, B.S.
  • Traditional Undergraduate – Brittany Crisp

Dean’s Award for Service Excellence

  • Lisa Norris Burns, BUS – Lubbock
  • Lacey Pack, B.A. – Amarillo
The School of Nursing graduated May 10 at the United Supermarkets Arena.

The School of Nursing graduated May 10 at the United Supermarkets Arena.

Dean’s Award for Clinical Excellence

  • Blake Weatherby, B.S. – Lubbock
  • Kassidy Melendez, B.S. – Odessa
  • Rodney Monroe, B.S.; Abilene

Dean’s Award for Leadership Excellence

  • Monica Caroland, B.A. – Lubbock
  • Shannon Roberts, B.S. – Amarillo

Outstanding Capstone

  • Advanced Practice Nursing – Helen Fitzner, R.N., MSN, FNP-BC
  • Executive Leadership – Adonica Dugger, MSN, R.N., CCM, ACM

Future Researcher Recognition

  • Jacob Kindler
  • Kasey Miller
  • Adrian Mulig
  • Samantha Schaffner
  • Nicholas Thrash
Bernard A. Harris Jr., M.D., was this year's School of Medicine commencement speaker.

Bernard A. Harris Jr., M.D., was this year’s School of Medicine commencement speaker.

School of Medicine

Bernard A. Harris Jr., M.D., astronaut, entrepreneur and president of the Harris Foundation, gave the School of Medicine commencement address. Harris, a graduate of the TTUHSC School of Medicine, was at NASA for 10 years.

Harris was a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-55/Spacelab D-2 in 1993. As payload commander on Space Shuttle Discovery STS-63 in 1995, he served on the first flight of the joint Russian-American Space Program, becoming the first African American to walk in space. As a veteran astronaut, he has logged more than 438 hours and traveled more than 7.2 million miles in space.

More than 135 medical students received their medical doctor degrees.

Awards:

  • The Gold Headed Cane Award is a symbol for excellence in the art of medicine and in the care of patients. This student was selected by faculty and students as the individual who best exemplifies those attributes most desirable in the competent and caring physician – Meera Subash
  • The 2014 Dean’s Recognition Award for the School of Medicine – Gregory Walker and Lela Ruck
  • Dean’s Highest Academic Achievement – Christina Walker
  • The John Aure Buesseler, M.D., Founding Dean Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence — Jim Hutson, Ph.D.
  • The John Aure Buesseler, M.D., Founding Dean Memorial Award for Student Excellence — Marie Pfarr
The Bowl of Hygieia is an internationally recognized symbol for the profession of pharmacy.

The Bowl of Hygieia is an internationally recognized symbol for the profession of pharmacy.

School of Pharmacy

The School of Pharmacy’s commencement speaker was Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance.

As chancellor, Hance is the chief executive officer of all campuses and academic sites of Texas Tech, TTUHSC, Angelo State University and TTUHSC at El Paso.

His priorities include growing enrollment, increasing research, and technology commercialization. Recently, Hance completed a $1 billion capital campaign at the Texas Tech University System.

More than 150 pharmacy students received their doctor of pharmacy degrees. Smith said commencement is an exciting time for faculty, students and family members.

Awards:

  • The Bowl of Hygieia is an internationally recognized symbol for the profession of pharmacy. The Bowl of Hygieia symbolizes “pure and potent medicines.” The Bowl of Hygieia is awarded to a graduating Doctor of Pharmacy candidate who best exemplifies the qualities most desirable in a pharmacist. Most important of these attributes include leadership, high ethical standards, dedication and promotion of the profession of pharmacy – Justin John Thomas, M.B.A., Pharm.D.
  • The Banner Bearer is a title conferred upon the top-ranking graduate of the class, who thereby earns the honor of escorting the School of Pharmacy’s Banner in the Graduation Ceremony. The top ranking graduates for this year carried identical cumulative grade point averages; therefore, two banners will escort the class – Katie Marie Ausburn and Mary Mei Liu
  • 2013 Distinguished Alumni Excellence in Pharmacy Practice – Brandy McGinnis, Pharm.D., BCPS, is the pharmacy clinical coordinator at Seton Medical Center Austin. She provides leadership and strategic direction for clinical pharmacy services, including staff development, collaboration with the medical and nursing staff and assisting with departmental initiatives and goals.
  • Butch Habeger, R.Ph. M.B.A., FASHP/FTSHP, a founding faculty member and presently associate professor of the TTUHSC Department of Pharmacy Practice at Amarillo. Besides his teaching responsibilities, he is director of Pharmacy Operations, which includes management of two outpatient pharmacies and pharmaceutical purchasing for the outpatient pharmacies.
  • Richard Burdine, AICP, chief executive officer of the Development Corporation of Abilene Inc. He has held positions as city manager, assistant city manager, finance director, risk manager, and director of economic development. With his guidance and leadership, the establishment of a TTUHSC Abilene Campus with the Schools of Pharmacy and Nursing, and the Department of Immunotherapeutics and Biotechnology was made possible.
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Story produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing, (806) 743-2143.


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Beginning in 1969 as Texas Tech University School of Medicine, TTUHSC now is a six-school university with campuses in Abilene, Amarillo, Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Lubbock, Midland and Odessa.

TTUHSC has trained more than 10,000 health care professionals, and meets the health care needs of more than 2.5 million people in the 108 counties including those in the Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico.

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