SPH Celebrates Commencement

Posted: 30th May 2014

SPH Commencement Video

UNT Health Science Center School of Public Health conferred 119 graduate degrees at this year’s spring commencement ceremonies, held May 17.  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.

Each year, the school’s commencement speaker is the student honored with the Richard S. Kurz Award, presented to an outstanding SPH graduate who exemplifies the leadership, accomplishments and visionary qualities of the Dean. This award was established in 2012, and the student selected this year was Ebunoluwa Akinbola.

Akinbola also made the Dean’s List, along with 12 other students, who were recognized for earning at least a 3.9 grade point average and achieving one of the top two GPAs of the class in their respective master’s and doctoral programs: 

  • Farzin Ahmed
  • Amy Board
  • Kingsley Ebare
  • Alice Fa
  • Deepthi Gandhiraj
  • Montana Moeller
  • Olusegun Oyewole
  • Bhaavika Patel
  • Karen Poh
  • Sahithi Solasa
  • Matthew Stabe
  • Regina Tirbeni

Outstanding student awards were also presented in the following categories:

  • Leon Brachman Award:  Farzin Ahmed. This award is named for Leon Brachman, a member of the 1992 Steering Committee that explored development of the SPH; he was instrumental in the school’s 1999 founding and was a recognized leader and philanthropist in the Fort Worth community. His namesake award is given annually to a public health student in the MPH or MHA program demonstrating exemplary academic achievement in his or her graduate course of study.
  • Kenneth Cooper Award: Pooja Sharma. Best selling author and health/wellness guru Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, who started the famous Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas in 1970, is the inspiration behind this award, presented to an outstanding MPH or MHA student demonstrating excellence and quality in the application of research methods for the thesis or other research activities.
  • Bob Crow Award: Karen Poh.  Named for the former executive director of the Amon G. Carter Foundation and a past member of the SPH Steering Committee, this award is given to an outstanding MPH or MHA student demonstrating exemplary leadership and service to the school and the community.

Graduate Gillian Franklin was honored in two categories, receiving both the UNTHSC President’s Award for Scholarly Excellence and the SPH Dean’s Award for Scholarly Excellence in Academics.

Receiving the SPH Dean’s Award for Scholarly Excellence in Research was Lindsey Brown Philpot.

Twelve SPH graduates were inducted into Delta Omega, the premier National Honor Society for Public Health Professionals, along with one faculty inductee and a first-time community honoree.

Local leader and tireless community volunteer Elizabeth A. (Libby) Watson was the first community member inducted in Delta Omega by the SPH, and Erin Carlson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Health Management and Policy, was the faculty member honored. 

Delta Omega recognizes public health students, faculty and professionals who have contributed to the field of public health and made contributions to the health of all people. 

SPH students inducted into Delta Omega were:

  • Ebunoluwa Akinbola               
  • Mathias Akuoko                         
  • Amy Board                                    
  • Diana Cervantes                        
  • Kingsley Ebare                           
  • Shelby Epperson       
  • Erin Foster
  • James McGraw
  • Ogheneyovwinor Odjoji     
  • Karen Poh
  • Emiily Spence-Davizon          
  • Matthew Stabe

Each year, the school’s Public Health Student Association (PHSA) honors faculty and staff with their own awards.  For 2014, PHSA presented the Outstanding Faculty in Teaching Award to Katherine Fogelberg, DVM, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health; the
Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award to Joon Lee, PhD, Assistant Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health; and the Outstanding Public Health Staff Member Award to Misty Smethers, M.A.E., Assistant Director of Student & Academic Services.

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