The UTMB School of Health Professions celebrated its commencement with a total of 130 students graduating, including 34 with Bachelor of Science degrees in clinical laboratory sciences, 13 with Bachelor of Science degrees in respiratory care, 31 with Master of Science degrees in occupational therapy and 52 with doctoral degrees in physical therapy.

Dr. David L. Callender, UTMB president, conferred the degrees whle Elizabeth Protas, vice president and dean of the School of Health Professions, officiated at the graduation.

“These graduates represent an outstanding group of students and I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of them,” said Protas. “They will fill a vital role in the nation’s changing health care landscape.”

Commencement speaker and 2011 Distinguished Alumna was Bonnie Benkula, UTMB’s associate vice president for ambulatory care at Victory Lakes. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in health care administration from UTMB in 1996 and her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Colorado. She has been recognized for her success in turning facilities around to create better patient and staff satisfaction and improved profits. She oversees the UTMB Specialty Care Center at Victory Lakes.

Established in 1968, the UTMB School of Health Professions has educated more than 6,500 professionals who serve the nation’s health care workforce. The school helps meet the health care needs of communities by preparing students to enter such professions as physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, clinical laboratory scientist and respiratory care.