School of Health Professions marks commencement

A proud Jason Jr. celebrates with his dad, Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate Jason R. Wishin Sr.
A proud Jason Jr. celebrates with his dad, Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate Jason R. Wishin Sr.

By Lin Lofley

Friends, families, and graduates of the UT Southwestern School of Health Professions braved an ice storm on Dec. 8 to celebrate as 132 degrees were awarded during commencement exercises in the Tom and Lula Gooch Auditorium.

Master of Physician Assistant Studies graduates Priscila Martinez (left) and Kai Kay Tang pause among the decorations set up for the Dec. 8 School of Health Professions ceremony.
Master of Physician Assistant Studies graduates Priscila Martinez (left) and Kai Kay Tang pause among the decorations set up for the Dec. 8 School of Health Professions ceremony.

Dr. J. Gregory Fitz, Executive Vice President, Provost, and Dean of UT Southwestern Medical School, conferred degrees on the students who completed their studies in May or December 2013.

Dr. Raul Caetano, Dean of the School of Health Professions, presided over the event and thanked those who were in attendance.

“I had a decision to make about 48 hours ago, about whether we’d go ahead with Commencement or not,” Dr. Caetano recounted, “and it was difficult because I could be standing up here and facing an empty auditorium. But I’m very glad this is not the case, and thank you very much.”

Graduate list

SHP confers 132 degrees

The storm that froze North Texas had some effect on the turnout, but not markedly. Graduates from all six programs in the School of Health Professions – Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, Prosthetics-Orthotics, Clinical Nutrition, Radiation Therapy, and Rehabilitation Counseling – participated.

“We had 18 students inform us before the weather became a problem that they wouldn’t be here,” said Charles Kettlewell, Registrar and Director of Student Financial Aid. “So we expected 114 participants today and 95 made it to the ceremony, including all 33 members of the Doctor of Physical Therapy class.”

Alumnus Donald R. Cummings, Class of 1984, provided opening remarks and delivered the charge to the new graduates. Kim Hoggatt Krumwiede, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Educational Technology, presented program descriptions and recognized department chairs. Dr. John Warner, Vice President and CEO of UT Southwestern University Hospitals, presented the commencement address.

Dr. Warner welcomed the graduates to a new world of health care, one much different than when he began his career as an interventional cardiologist more than 20 years ago.

“The best medical care of the future won’t be provided by individuals,” said Dr. Warner, Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Doris and Harry W. Bass Jr. Clinical Center for Heart, Lung and Vascular Disease. “It will be provided by teams of health care providers who coalesce around a patient to provide meaningful care for the patients and their families.

“Today, I can’t imagine practicing the care that I provide without the contributions each day from nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, therapists, and social workers, all of whom I interact with every single day of my practice.”

Marshals for the event were Robert Drake, Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling, and David Klocko, Associate Professor of Physician Assistant Studies.

Dr. Fitz holds the Nadine and Tom Craddick Distinguished Chair in Medical Science, and the Atticus James Gill, M.D. Chair in Medical Science.

Dr. Warner holds the Jim and Norma Smith Distinguished Chair for Interventional Cardiology, and the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Chair in Cardiovascular Research.

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