The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) awarded certificates and degrees today to 891 graduates of its five colleges and Graduate School during its commencement ceremony at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.

Diplomas were presented to 162 in the College of Medicine; 203 in the College of Nursing; 117 in the College of Pharmacy; 45 in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health; 92 in the Graduate School and 272 from the 21 academic programs that make up the College of Health Professions.

During the ceremony UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., presented Gov. Mike Beebe an Honorary Doctorate of Medical Arts and Humane Letters. Beebe has been a longtime UAMS supporter, from his 20 years as a state senator, a term as state attorney general and through two terms as governor.

Beebe, a native of Amagon in northeast Arkansas, was first elected governor in 2007, then re-elected in 2010. In 2007 he supported and later signed into law the proposal to provide state matching funds totaling $36 million toward construction of a 12-story, 300,000-square-foot expansion to the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

Speaking at the 2009 opening of a new 10-story, 540,000-square-foot hospital that replaced patient care services in the original 52-year-old UAMS Medical Center building, Beebe said: "Arkansans take great pride in the exceptional medical treatment available at UAMS and the economic benefits it provides for the state."

Prior to being governor, he served a four-year term as attorney general. Beebe began his political career in 1982 when he was elected to the state Senate.

Beebe’s wife Ginger also has been a strong and consistent UAMS supporter.

During commencement, degrees and certificates conferred include the doctor of philosophy, doctor of medicine, doctor of pharmacy, master of science, master of nursing science, bachelor of science in nursing, master of public health, doctor of public health, certificate in clinical and translational science, master of health services administration, post baccalaureate certificate in public health and a variety of degrees in the allied health disciplines including certificates, associate and bachelor of science degrees, post-baccalaureate certificates, the master of imaging sciences and doctor of audiology.

There are Medical School graduates from Greenwood along with one from the College of Pharmacy. Logan Hocott Bell, Kevin Davis, Micah Fritsche, Alexis White and Jordan Hunter White have graduated from medical school while Kevin Daniel Barton has graduated from the College of Pharmacy.