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CS Department Celebrates Graduation with Luncheon and Inaugural Presentation of the Kurt Holmes Award and Doctor Family Award

Families and friends came together on Saturday, May 16th to congratulate and celebrate the accomplishments of the 2015 UT Dallas Computer Science and Software Engineering graduates. To honor the hard work and dedication of the graduating class, the UT Dallas Computer Science department hosted a luncheon after the commencement ceremonies. Approximately 450 CS students, family, and faculty were in attendance.

Dr. Gopal Gupta, head of CS, congratulated the graduating students and their families. “Your hard work and dedication coupled with our superb curriculum designed and delivered by the CS Department Faculty has resulted in great results,” he told the graduates. “The graduating class has a near-100% job placement and UT Dallas is ranked 21st in the LinkedIn ranking of best Universities for Software Developers, so our graduates are highly sought after,” he noted.

Dr. Gupta’s speech was followed by an inspirational speech by Mr. Jim von Ehr, the guest of honor and UT Dallas’ distinguished alumnus. Mr. Von Ehr is the founder and chairmen of Zyvex Corporation, a nanotech company, and has been an active member of the UT Dallas community for over twenty years. Mr. Von Ehr narrated his journey as an entrepreneur, of founding Altsys Corp in 1984 and then Zyvex Corp in 1997. Altsys, a company well ahead of its times, was known for Fontographer, a PostScript-based font editor, and FreeHand, a PostScript-based illustration program. Altsys was acquired by Macromedia in 1995. Zyvex Corp was the world’s first molecular nanotechnology company which later split into four branches, one of which was acquired as well. Mr. Von Ehr urged the graduates to rely on their abilities, to take risks, to venture out and to strive to make the world a better place. He also urged students to travel the world, to learn about other cultures, and to have a global outlook on life.

The CS Department awarded Certificates of Academic Excellence to bachelor and master students with a GPA of 3.9 or higher. This year two new prizes were introduced, the Kurt Holmes Award and the Doctor Family Award.

The UT Dallas Computer Science Department presented the inaugural Kurt Holmes Award which includes a certificate and a cash prize to Zackary Weger, the top-graduating undergraduate student. The award is aptly named after UT Dallas alumnus, Kurt Alan Holmes.   Holmes began his 30-year career as a software engineer after completing his studies at UT Dallas. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematical science in 1984, studying computer science before the University officially began to offer bachelor’s degrees in the subject. Kurt Holmes career included working for Texas Instruments (TI) as a software engineer in military electronics and went on to become one of Raytheon’s leading experts on modern military GPS receiver system. Kurt Holmes passed away in March 2014. Before his passing he generously donated a portion of his estate to the UT Dallas Computer Science Department.

The inaugural Doctor Family Award, which also includes a certificate and a cash prize, was presented to Robert Farmigoni, the top-graduating master’s student. UT Dallas Computer Science Alumnus Satyajit “Doc” Doctor created the Doctor Family award to express his gratitude for the education that he acquired at UT Dallas and the opportunities that the UT Dallas Computer Science department has made available to him.  Doctor is currently the president and co-founder of Award Solutions, Inc., a wireless and internet consulting and training company located in Richardson, Texas.  The majority of Award Solutions executive team consists of UT Dallas graduates, including Doctor’s business partner, Ramki Rajagopalan. Award Solutions has contracts with seven of the nation’s ten largest telecommunications manufacturers including all of the Telecom Corridor giants.

 

Zackary Weger accepting the Inaugural Kurt Holmes Award from Dr. Gupta, the UT Dallas Computer Science Department Head.
Zackary Weger accepting the inaugural Kurt Holmes Award from Dr. Gupta, the UT Dallas Computer Science Department Head.
Robert Farmigoni accepting the inaugural Doctor Family Award from Dr. Gupta.
Robert Farmigoni accepting the inaugural Doctor Family Award from Dr. Gupta.
 Jheng Chen, Natalie DeBusk, Vineet Dhanawat, Robert Farmigoni, Sivakarthik Gade, Nimisha Gupta, Renkai Ji, Rosemary Justin, Prerana Kakodkar, Grace Kaldawi, Sagar Pandilwar, Satishbabu Rajasekar, Kumaran Rajendiran, Sayali Raole, Erman Pattuk (PhD), Xuming Zhai (PhD).
Graduate Students– MS & PHD- Jheng Chen, Natalie DeBusk, Vineet Dhanawat, Robert Farmigoni, Sivakarthik Gade, Nimisha Gupta, Renkai Ji, Rosemary Justin, Prerana Kakodkar, Grace Kaldawi, Sagar Pandilwar, Satishbabu Rajasekar, Kumaran Rajendiran, Sayali Raole, Erman Pattuk (PhD), Xuming Zhai (PhD).
Undergraduate Students - Amelia Basile, Travis Chun, Thomas Drablos, Devon Gilbert, Suhrud Kulkarni, Geovanni Mendez, Hans Shinn, Paul Staggs, Anthony Tran, Zackary Weger,
Undergraduate Students – Zackary Weger, Paul Staggs, Travis Chun, Thomas Drablos, Devon Gilbert, Suhrud Kulkarni, Geovanni Mendez, Travis Chun, Hans Shinn, Anthony Tran, Amelia Basile.

 

Executive Master’s in Software Engineering (EMSE) (separate graduation) 

Scott Garee

Brian MacKay

Kathryn Whitmire

Eric Fortenberry

 

Additional pictures- 

UT Dallas Alum Jim Von Ehr
UT Dallas CS Alumnus Jim Von Ehr

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To view more pictures from the Spring 2015 Graduation Ceremonies Click Here.

About UT Dallas Computer Science Department:

The Department of Computer Science at UT Dallas is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 1,300 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1150 master’s students, 150 PhD students, and 75 faculty members. They are committed to exceptional teaching and research in a culture that is as daring as it is supportive.

 

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