CLASS 2011 graduates
College's spring commencement ceremony held May 13, 2011
The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences kicked off the University of Houston's 77th Commencement exercises with a graduation ceremony on Friday, May 13, 2011 in Hofheinz Pavilion.
As the university's largest college, CLASS conferred 47 doctoral degrees, 222 master's degrees and 1,221 bachelor's degrees. The college's total of 1,490 graduates represents more than a third of the 3,885 students receiving UH degrees in 8 commencement ceremonies on Friday and Saturday.
"You are not just graduating today, you are making history," President Renu Khator said during the Friday morning celebration. "When you walk across this stage, you will be the first graduating class from the newest Tier One university in the nation."
She reminded the assembled graduates and their loved ones that in January, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching bestowed its highest ranking of Tier One on UH. That recognition was followed in March with the Princeton Review including UH for the first time on its annual list of the "Best Colleges in America."
"Let me assure you that you are the best prepared, best educated, and best trained class this university has ever produced, and now you have a Tier One degree to prove it," she said.
CLASS Dean John W. Roberts echoed President Khator's sentiments in his well wishes for the college's graduates.
"All of us in CLASS are delighted by the accomplishments of these students whom we have advised, taught, and mentored to this proud moment," he said. "We wish them the very best as they begin a new phase in their lives."
Among those sharing the platform with the president and dean and congratulating students as they walked across the stage were: University of Houston System Board of Regents Chairwoman Carroll Robertson Ray, Regent Nandita Berry, Regent Jarvis Hollingsworth, Regent Mica Mosbacher, Provost John Antel, Student Government Association Immediate Past President Prince Wilson and many CLASS department chairs and program directors.
During the commencement, the President's Medallion for exceptional contributions to UH by an individual or an organization was awarded to Ricahrd Wainerdi, the president and chief executive officer of the Texas Medical Center. He championed UH's admittance as a full member of the Texas Medical Center.
President Khator also bestowed the university's highest honor – the doctoral degree, honoris causa, or honorary degree – on Walter Kase during the CLASS ceremony.
Ira Colby, Dean of the Graduate College of Social Work introduced Mr. Kase as a Holocaust survivor at age 15 who became a life-long advocate for respect and tolerance. An honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters was conferred on Mr. Kase.