The Journey to Commencement: 2015 Graduation at the University of Houston


A new tradition begins this year at the University of Houston as students from all 13 colleges will participate in a formal, University-wide commencement ceremony. The pomp and circumstance will be held at UH’s TDECU Stadium, May 15 and feature actor and philanthropist Matthew McConaughey as keynote speaker.

Fast Facts:

  • ·         4,958 students will graduate
  • ·         Graduates hail from 37 countries and 67 nations
  • ·         More than half the graduates are women
  • ·         Youngest graduate: Omar Harmouche, 18 years old, bachelor of science/biology
  • ·         Oldest graduate: Christopher Gantela, 78 years old, Ph.D./geophysics

Graduate Stories:

  • Heather Childress and her daughter, Sarah, have a special reason to celebrate commencement. They’re both graduating together — Heather from the Bauer College of Business and Sarah from the College of Education.  They’ll be seated next to each other during the May 15 ceremony. While their smiles convey pride in their accomplishment, their minds also will be on Heather’s husband, a disabled veteran injured in Iraq.
  • Varun Potluri and Christopher Huynh have been classmates since middle school. They both attended T. H. Rogers Middle School and Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions and now will both graduate from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. What’s next? They’ve both been accepted to Baylor College of Medicine. 
  • Pat Hebert will be fulfilling a promise to her father when she crosses the stage during the College of Education’s convocation. She promised him when she became engaged to her now husband—Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert—that she would finish her degree. At age 73, she says it’s never too late to go back to school or to keep your promises.     
  • Christina Kurt was a college basketball player on full scholarship contemplating a career in professional basketball in Europe. Multiple concussions derailed those plans. She’s now an advocate for education, for athletes and the public, about the effects of multiple concussions on athletes, specifically in women. She’s graduating with a degree in political science.
  • Five super-achieving students finished college almost as soon as they started. They are Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) Scholars, part of a program that supports graduates from recognized Texas Early College High Schools to graduate with their baccalaureate degrees from UH within two years. GTF Scholars have typically earned an associate’s degree or substantial college level credit hours while earning their high school diploma, many entering the University as juniors.  

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