UIW’s Health Professions Schools Celebrate Spring 2024 Graduates

May 17, 2024

Nearly 500 students from UIW’s health professions schools (Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions, Feik School of Pharmacy, Rosenberg School of Optometry, School of Rehabilitation Sciences and School of Osteopathic Medicine) walked the graduation stage on Saturday, May 11 at the Freeman Coliseum.

Before they were sent off as the next generation of health care professionals, UIW’s health professions schools hosted various events that helped to celebrate and recognize all their hard work, dedication and successes.

The Rosenberg School of Optometry (RSO) hosted a graduation celebration with sponsorship from the Texas Optometric Association in recognition of the 59 students that graduated from the optometry program. During the celebration, RSO professors and personnel presented scholarships and awards to the graduating Class of 2024 in acknowledgement of their hard work.

“From the first days of challenging coursework while navigating the unexpected turns of a global pandemic, the Class of 2024 has demonstrated resilience and dedication. As they receive their degrees, we couldn't be prouder of these remarkable future leaders in eye care,” wrote RSO staff.

The Feik School of Pharmacy (FSOP) joined in the celebration by hosting its annual hooding and pinning ceremony in the McCombs Center Rosenberg Sky Room, celebrating its 15th graduating class which was composed of 73 graduates.

During this ceremony, pharmacy students were presented with their graduation hoods, which they proudly wore the following day at their Commencement ceremony, marking the completion of their doctoral program.

Previously, during their third year at FSOP, pharmacy students got pinned by the dean of the school, Dr. David Maize, at the Rites of Passage Ceremony. Having completed their fourth and final year of their program, they had the opportunity at last week’s ceremony to give that same pin to someone who was instrumental in supporting them in their pursuit to graduate.

“To be able to support students throughout a doctoral degree, and those going into a health profession like pharmacy, is a privilege and an honor to me,” expressed Dr. Amy Diepenbrock, associate dean of Student Affairs at FSOP. “I love seeing students cross that finish line after watching the highs and lows they go through from application to orientation, and P1-P4 years. The pinning ceremony is very personal to our students and their loved ones and that to me makes it even more special.”

The Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions also hosted a pinning ceremony as well as its Health Professions Graduation Celebration.

Nursing graduates received pins that symbolized their official entry into the nursing profession. Some even had the opportunity to share that they had already secured their first job within their nursing careers.

Additionally, at the award ceremony, health professions graduates were presented with awards that acknowledged their achievements and exemplary conduct as students from Community Health, Rehabilitative Sciences, Kinesiology, Sports Management and Nuclear Medicine.

The School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) hosted its own annual award ceremony, a tradition that began with the graduation of the school’s first graduating class in 2021. The school recognized the Class of 2024’s collective accomplishments and their individual achievements with 25 special student awards. The ceremony also incorporated the Gold Humanism Honor Society’s (GHHS) first induction and honored the Sigma Sigma Phi Honor Society, an honorary osteopathic service fraternity, inductees.

The Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) recognizes students, residents and faculty who are exemplars of compassionate patient care and who serve as role models, mentors and leaders in medicine. GHHS members are peer nominated and are the ones whom others say they would want to provide health care to their own families. The Society currently has over 45,000 members in training and practice.

Finally, the School of Rehabilitation Sciences (SoRS) celebrated its eight students graduating with their Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) degree at its annual MSAT Awards Ceremony hosted in the Special Collections Room of the J. E. and L. E. Mabee Library.

This is only the second year SoRS has hosted this event, as the Athletic Training program recently moved to SoRS when it became a master's degree level program.

Student awards presented included the Developing Clinician Award, Academic Achievement Award and the Cardinal Award.

“I think all of us, administrators, faculty and family members, all consider this a pinnacle moment for the students,” shared Dr. Lisa McDougle, assistant dean of SoRS. “We’ve been able to watch their growth as a person and as a professional over the course of the two years of the program. It’s very special to be able to celebrate that accomplishment with them and know that they have great things ahead of them.”

Congratulations to the newest graduates of UIW’s health professions schools!