Pitt Confers 6,000 Academic Degrees at 2012 Commencement

Issue Date: 
April 4, 2012

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg will welcome graduating members of the Class of 2012, faculty, trustees, alumni, staff, and invited guests, families, and friends attending Pitt’s 2012 Commencement at 1 p.m. today in the Petersen Events Center.

Pitt alumnus U.S. Lieutenant General Patricia D. Horoho (NURS ’92G), the 43rd Army Surgeon General and the commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command, will deliver the University’s 2012 Commencement address. She became the first woman and the first nurse to hold these positions when she was sworn in on Dec. 7, 2011, following her nomination by President Obama and her confirmation by the U.S. Senate. At the ceremony, Pitt will confer upon Horoho the degree of Doctor of Public Service Honoris Causa.

Chief University Marshal Michael R. Pinsky will open the ceremony leading a procession of members of the graduating class, faculty, staff, the Council of Deans, trustees, and administrative officers in full academic regalia; Pinsky is a professor of critical care medicine and bioengineering in the School of Medicine and president of the University Senate at Pitt. The University Symphonic Band, led by Pitt Director of Bands Jack R. Anderson, will provide music for the ceremony.

After the awarding of diplomas—presented by Chancellor Nordenberg, Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson, and the deans of the schools and colleges—Kelvin Luu will speak on behalf of the graduating class. Luu, a graduating senior from the John A. Swanson School of Engineering, will receive the Bachelor of Science degree during the commencement ceremony. Following his  remarks, Jack D. Smith (A&S ’69), president of the University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association, will welcome the graduates as Pitt’s newest alumni.

In all, Pitt will confer approximately 6,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees this year at its five campuses; Pitt-Bradford, Pitt-Greensburg, Pitt-Johnstown, and Pitt-Titusville will hold their own commencement ceremonies. For more information, visit the 2012 Commencement Web site at www.pitt.edu/commencement.

From the position of U.S. Army staff nurse in 1982, Horoho has risen to serve in many leadership roles, including commander of the Western Regional Medical Command in Fort Lewis, Wash; commander of the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash.; commander of the Walter Reed Health Care System; and commander of the DeWitt Health Care Network at Fort Belvoir, Va. She also was deputy surgeon general in the Office of the Surgeon General and 23rd Chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, and she was deployed to Afghanistan as special assistant to the commander.While holding the rank of colonel, Horoho became the first woman and first nurse to command the Walter Reed Health Care System. She coordinated the health care needs of approximately 150,000 service personnel, family members, and retirees in the national capital area and oversaw an integrated health system that included its hub, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and 10 military facilities in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania

When two aircraft collided in midair at Pope Air Force Base in 1994, Horoho was one of the first medical personnel to respond and triage the wounded, leading the emergency responders who cared for the critically injured soldiers. She also took charge of the wounded when terrorists crashed a plane into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and was honored by Time Life Publications for her actions on that fateful day.

Horoho, a native of Fayetteville, N.C., and now a resident of Virginia, enrolled in Pitt’s School of Nursing when she came to Pittsburgh to serve as nurse counselor of the 1st Recruiting Brigade. In addition to receiving her MS degree from Pitt, Horoho earned her BA degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a resident graduate of the Army’s Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, where she earned a second MS degree in national resource strategy.

A Pitt 2007 Legacy Laureate, Horoho was also honored as a 2012 Distinguished Alumni Fellow during the University’s annual Honors Convocation on Feb. 24, an event that inaugurated Pitt’s 225th anniversary celebration, which continues through Homecoming Weekend in October.