March 29, 2013

Texas A&M To Celebrate Graduate And Professional Education Next Week

Against a backdrop of record enrollment of students pursuing studies for advanced degrees, Texas A&M University will join in the national celebration of Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week April 1-5 with several events geared toward recognizing the contributions of these students.

Office of Graduate Studies representatives say professional and graduate student enrollment at Texas A&M surpassed the 10,000 level for the first time last fall with 9,600 master’s and doctoral students and 527 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students.

Karen Butler-Purry

Associate Provost for Graduate Studies Karen Butler-Purry

Graduate students seeking advanced credentials for professional career advancement or who are working to become the next generation of professors figure prominently in Texas A&M’s “Vision 2020” plan to become preeminent among the nation’s best public universities. Recent reallocations of resources have supported graduate student fellowships, created new graduate degree options and targeted recruitment in each college, university officials note, adding that enrollment and other factors are showing those investments are paying dividends.

Associate Provost for Graduate Studies Karen Butler-Purry notes that one of the events specially planned for graduate students, the Community of Scholars Dinner on Thursday, is a special occasion for celebrating excellence in graduate education and excellence in the graduate student community at Texas A&M.

Dr. Ronan Tynan, internationally acclaimed tenor, physician, Paralympian and author, will address the students who responded to invitations to the event in the Memorial Student Center Bethancourt Ballroom.

In his address, titled “Pursuing Excellence,” Tynan is expected to encourage the students to persevere to achieve their goals, basing his message on his own life experiences. A double amputee below the knees at the age of 20, he became a multitalented athlete, winning a total of 18 gold medals and 14 world records. After becoming the first person with a disability to be admitted to Britain’s National College of Physical Education, he became a physician specializing in orthopedics and sports injuries. At the age of 33, Tynan began voice training and became one of the founding members of the famous Irish Tenors. More information is available at

Ronan Tynan

Ronan Tynan

Leading up to another major event for the week, Butler-Purry has announced the identities of 10 students who will receive the 2013 U.S. Senator Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellowships for exemplary contributions in research, teaching and mentoring in their doctoral programs. Recipients will be recognized at an awards ceremony at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Forsyth Galleries in the MSC. The endowment for the fellowships was created in 2000 by the Texas A&M Foundation from donations that were given in honor of the former senator and Texas A&M economics professor.

The 2013 U.S. Senator Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellowship recipients include Felipe Avila, veterinary integrative biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; Alexander Bayeh, aerospace engineering, Dwight Look College of Engineering; Jennifer Cox, psychology, College of Liberal Arts; Michael Istvan, philosophy and humanities, College of Liberal Arts; Christopher Labosier, geography, College of Geosciences; Kanglae Lee,  recreation, park and tourism sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Arupa Mohapatra, industrial and systems engineering, Dwight Look College of Engineering; Tiffany Pinder, chemistry, College of Science; Warren Sconier, entomology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Justin Stachnik, atmospheric sciences, College of Geosciences.

Each of the students will be presented a certificate and a $5,000 cash award.

Additionally, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) will host a professional networking workshop Wednesday and “grad day” at the Aggie baseball game Sunday. The free workshop will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Stark Gallery at the MSC and include advice offered by Sally Dee Wade, a lecturer at Texas A&M’s George Bush School of Government and Public Service. A GSC representative said 100 tickets will be given out to graduate students on a first-come-first-served basis, beginning 30 minutes prior to the start of the 1:05 p.m. game between the Aggies and Auburn.

In 1993, the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS) established Graduate-Professional Student Appreciation Week to support and appreciate graduate and professional students and to emphasize the contributions, impact and value of these students on campuses throughout the United States.


Media contact: Peggy Samson, at




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