As 119 graduate degrees were conferred at this year’s University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health commencement, keynote speaker, Ms. Ebunoluwa Akinbola, challenged students “to go out there and make a difference in the lives of people” by rising to challenges and helping to create solutions for a healthier community, in keeping with the university’s overall mission.
Since 2012, the school’s commencement speaker has been the student honored with the Richard S. Kurz Award, presented to an outstanding School of Public Health graduate exemplifying the leadership, accomplishments, and visionary qualities of the Dean, who joined the Health Science Center in 2007 and has been recognized for a lengthy and successful career in public health education and leadership. In addition to this honor, Ms. Akinbola was named to the Dean’s List for a perfect 4.0 GPA and was inducted into Delta Omega public health honor society. She graduated with the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Biostatistics.
“As new public health professionals, let us bear in mind that we will confront new challenges,” Ms. Akinbola advised her fellow graduates. “Let us keep our eyes on our new goals and never give up. Choose to construct positive meanings from every experience you have. We cannot afford to give up because the world is counting on us. Our services as public health professionals are greatly needed. We have a call to answer; we have work to do.”
Outstanding graduates received a variety of honors, including student Ms. Gillian Franklin, who received both the university’s President’s Award for Scholarly Excellence and the School of Public Health Dean’s Award for Scholarly Excellence in Academics. Ms. Franklin graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) in Environmental Health Sciences.
For the first time, the school also honored an outstanding community volunteer, inducting local leader Ms. Elizabeth A. (Libby) Watson into Delta Omega public health honor society. Ms. Watson has served as chair of the university’s Public Health and Prevention Council and has been responsible for recruiting new members and serving as a spokesperson to educate local leaders on the nature and importance of public health.
For the complete list of commencement awards, click here.
Degrees presented for the 2013-14 academic year included the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, Master of Health Administration (MHA), Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health Sciences (PhD), and the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree.