A Glimpse of Graduation

Iris Kwong

Bachelor of Science, Economics and Finance

Iris KwongWelcome distinguished faculty, dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.

I stand here before you, a newly minted graduate, an accomplished woman, deep in the throes of adjusting to the real world that awaits me. This is a world without dorms, classrooms, mid-terms, and white-boards.

And I await the ultimate test: the workforce.

No more will I be able to wake up at noon, eat some breakfast, and then decide whether I should be attending class, or calling up one of my friends to take notes. No, now the consequences I face will be much more serious, for not only will I be a member of the workforce, but I will also be a representative of my alma-mater, The University of Texas at Dallas.

I remember wandering down the halls of the Green building, looking for that elusive room where Economics 101 was being held. My education probably began there, as I stood around trying to decipher the code that UT Dallas calls “Room Numbers.” … We freshmen were all enamored with the brilliance of our seniors, and spent most of our first year trying to appear smart….

Yet, I must reflect on my past four years at this school, and the memories that we all share, and take with us. Let me begin at freshman year, the obvious point to begin with.  (This degree is coming in handy already).

I remember wandering down the halls of the Green building, looking for that elusive room where Economics 101 was being held. My education probably began there, as I stood around trying to decipher the code that the school calls “Room Numbers.” I felt the stares of upperclassmen upon me as I wandered down the hall, scared to ask for directions for fear of being laughed at.

We freshmen were all enamored with the brilliance of our seniors, and spent most of our first year trying to appear smart. Eventually we all were able to attain a certain degree of intellect in one particular area,  from which  we deigned to our peers from our store of greater knowledge. Truthfully, we studied that much harder just to make sure no one found out that we had acquired our lofty status by just quoting (verbatim) the lecture from the class that our colleagues did not attend.

As sophomores, we laughed at the freshmen wandering around hoping that they did not appear lost, attempting to decipher the very same code we had been working on for the past year.

As juniors and seniors, we just did not really care.  We were more worried about cramming 15 chapters worth of information into our memories 2 hours before a test. 

And most recently we have found ourselves confused again, hoping that we don’t appear totally lost amidst numerous job interviews or graduate school applications and wondering how to fit School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences onto the precious space on our resumes.

Life is funny.  It’s full of twists and turns, and it can be as perplexing or as amusing as the hallways of Green.  But in the end I have full faith that UTD has equipped us with the education and the skills that we will need in life to help us find our way. 

But today is for celebrating.  Today, we can celebrate the discovery of a designated classroom on a folded and re-folded course schedule that ultimately led to  the completion of a degree that each of us, individually, can be proud of. We go out today, as the graduates of one of the finest institutions in the galaxy, acolytes of knowledge waiting to unleash it upon the world.

Life is funny.  It’s full of twists and turns, and it can be as perplexing or as amusing as the hallways of Green.  But in the end I have full faith that UTD has equipped us with the education and the skills that we will need in life to help us find our way. 

Colleagues, can you sense the pride in this room? Professors, can you sense what you have created and molded? Parents and friends, can you sense the joy of accomplishment? There is a hand in this by each and every one of you. While it is we who graduate, you know that without your help, none of us would be sitting here today. So take a bow, you deserve this as much as we do.

To the newly minted alumni of The University of Texas at Dallas, congratulations and good luck.

Iris Kwong graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in economics and finance.  She is a McDermott Scholar, a member of the Collegium V Honors Program, the Golden Key International Honors Society, the Order of Omega Honor Society, and a frequent member of the Dean’s Honors list.

She has served as Vice President of Student Government, President of the Economics and Finance Club, a Student Ambassador, a member of the Moot Court and Model United Nations teams, and was appointed to serve on a number of university-wide committees including the Student Fee Advisory Committee, the Committee on Educational Policy, the Faculty Senate, and the SACS Executive Committee.

While at UT Dallas she was selected to be a fellow at the Center for the Study of Texas Politics, the Florida State Law School Summer program for undergraduates, and had internship experiences within the Center for Behavioral and Experimental Economics Science Center, the Pre-Law Advising and Resource Center, and the Collin County District Attorney’s Office.

This fall she will be studying abroad in Hong Kong and will return in the spring to finish her Master’s degree in finance before going off to law school.