The newest class of University of Houston-Clear Lake graduates will celebrate the end of their four-year journey at the spring 2016 Commencement ceremonies at noon and 5 p.m., May 15 at NRG Arena, 1 NRG Park, in Houston.
Graduates of the School of Business and the School of Human Sciences and Humanities will be recognized at the noon ceremony and addressed by HCA Gulf Coast Division President and Distinguished Alumna Maura Walsh, while the 5 p.m. ceremony will honor students from the School of Education and the School of Science and Computer Engineering and be addressed by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Graduating students may invite as many guests as they wish. Attendance is free, but parking rates vary around the venue.
Maura Walsh was appointed president of HCA Gulf Coast Division, headquartered in Houston, in 2004, and she has served in this role for 12 years. She has operational responsibility for HCA’s 15 hospitals, eight ambulatory surgery centers, seven freestanding emergency centers and a regional transfer center. As president of the HCA Gulf Coast Division, she is committed to continuing HCA’s legacy of quality, compassionate care.
Walsh began her healthcare career in 1980, holding executive roles at hospitals in Vermont, Arkansas and Texas. She joined HCA in 1987, and she has served as CEO at four hospitals, including three within the HCA network – Rosewood Medical Center in Houston, Mainland Medical Center in Texas City and Bayshore Medical Center in Pasadena.
She is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and served on the Physician/Hospital Executive Board of the Texas Hospital Association. Walsh has served as a member of the San Jacinto College Foundation Board of Directors, the University of Houston Graduate Advisory Board and other community and economic boards.
A strong believer in community service, she also has served as a board member of the American Heart Association as well as chairman for the America Walk for Diabetes and the March of Dimes. Among her many awards are the American College of Healthcare Executives or ACHE Excellence in Governance Award and the ACHE Senior-Level Healthcare Executive Regents Award. Walsh has also received recognition from the Galveston County Commissioners Court.
Walsh earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management at UH-Clear Lake. She was honored in 2010 as a UHCL Distinguished Alumna.
Mayor Sylvester Turner was elected mayor of the City of Houston in December to serve a four-year term beginning Jan. 4, 2016. A native Houstonian, Turner was born and raised in the Acres Home community in northwest Houston. He lost his father to cancer when he was 13 years old. Afterward, his mother took over the Turner household, and although she never finished high school or learned to drive, she ensured that her children got an education, and she inspired them to achieve.
Turner attended neighborhood public schools and graduated from Klein High School, where he was elected president of the student body and was valedictorian of his graduating class. He graduated from the University of Houston and from Harvard Law School and eventually founded the Houston law firm of Barnes & Turner.
In 1988, Turner was elected to the Texas House of Representatives to serve the people of House District 139 in northwest Houston. He continued serving in this role until his election as mayor, working on the House Appropriations Committee for 21 years and serving as speaker pro tem for three terms. He was appointed to several budget conference committees to help balance the state’s budget and served on the Legislative Budget Board. His daughter, Ashley, is continuing the Turner family tradition of public service in the healthcare field.
Of 1,207 graduates, 1,024 will participate in the ceremony. Of these, 587 will be awarded degrees during the noon ceremony and 437 in the 5 p.m. ceremony.
Graduates, their friends and family are invited to Soaring Hawks Celebration, 6-8 p.m., May 13, in the university’s Bayou Building, Atrium II, 2700 Bay Area Blvd. The festivities will feature photos with Hunter, music, dancing and refreshments as attendees mingle with university faculty and staff, including President William A. Staples and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Carl A. Stockton.
The Soaring Hawks Celebration is free, but tickets are required. Graduating students can pick up tickets through May 12 from the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, the Capt. Wendell M. Wilson Office of Veteran Services or the Office of Student Life. For more information on Soaring Hawks Celebration, call the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, 281-283-2021, or email [email protected].
For more information on Commencement, visit http://www.uhcl.edu/