A Glimpse of Graduation

Scott Turbeville

Bachelor of Science, Business Administration

Iris KwongMembers of the faculty, guests, fellow graduates: thank you all for coming.

When Dr. Chaffin asked me to consider speaking at graduation, I agreed enthusiastically. It was an easy decision- this truly is an honor. Trying to find words that summarize my UTD experience has been the difficult part. While seeking advice on what to say, it was suggested that I (1) keep it short and (2) avoid clichs at all costs. So, in order to appease as many of you as possible, Ive thrown out my 20 minute "Spread Your Wings and Fly Like an Eagle" speech that I had prepared for an occasion such as this, and Ill save it for another day.

We, the graduates of fall 2007, like any UTD class, are a diverse group nontraditional students, young people at the threshold of adulthood, international students, or working professionals embarking on a new journey. Every one of us has a different story to tell of how we arrived at this point, and many of you, no doubt, are more qualified than me to give advice. So, instead of advice, I thought I would share what Ive learned during my time at UTD.

The secret, I have learned, is applying this same intensity to all roles in life, never neglecting family and friends. While it is important to work hard and to push ourselves, it is meaningless if the other aspects of our lives suffer as a result.

My experience here has taught me the importance of balance in life balancing work, family, friends, and school obligations.

Ive worked as a telephone company lineman throughout my time at UTD, and balance has often times taken on a quite literal meaning, as I have attempted to study in some very high places (and probably violated many OSHA regulations in the process). Everyone here has similar stories whether its covering up a textbook as your supervisor walks by, or spending a lunch break putting the finishing touches on a presentation weve all been conditioned to take advantage of every free minute in the day.

The secret, I have learned, is applying this same intensity to all roles in life and never neglecting family and friends. While it is important to work hard and to push ourselves, it is meaningless if the other aspects of our lives suffer as a result.

I have learned the value of relationships and really getting to know people.

I mentioned diversity earlier, and believe it to be one of UTDs greatest assets. What an unbelievable resource for a School of Management students and faculty from all walks of life. By really getting to know my classmates, my business education has been enhanced beyond the curriculum. I have had the opportunity to learn from international students whove shared their global perspective, and from working students who have been in the business world for years, sometimes decades. Faculty members have shared their career experiences and inspired me to create my own. And these insights and relationships are not exclusive to the School of Management. Just this past semester, I learned that my history professor, buttoned-down, conservative history professor, had spent the 80s in a Goth-metal band (absolutely true). Im not sure how that enhanced my education, but it does prove that everyone has an interesting story to tell.

I cherish, and will truly miss, the great people and the relationships that Ive developed over the past few years.

Last, and most important, I have learned to never be comfortable with "settling." It is far better to create opportunities for excitement, possibility, and passion.

When I moved to Dallas, and started working for the telephone company, I knew on my first day, within that first second, of climbing that first pole that I was in the wrong occupation. It wasnt necessarily the job itself although I am deathly afraid of heights. It was the thought that I was working a job, nothing that I was passionate about I was taking the easy way out. Although I progressed through the company, the work never satisfied me. Its a common theme that we must all try to avoid settling for security, while avoiding change and risk.

It took me five years to do something about it, and enroll at UTD. I can speak from experience when I say that the luxuries and safety that security provides are not worth the agonizing thoughts of wasted potential. Now I know that if it feels perfectly safe or monotonous, youre probably underachieving. My experience here has taught me to stay focused on long-term fulfillment rather than short-term gratification or taking the easy way out.

I have never met anyone here who puts forth only the minimal amount of effort required. It is our obligation to carry this attitude beyond these walls and into our lives. This degree weve earned represents more than increased opportunities or knowledge attained. A degree from this great University means we have a certain amount of freedom; we can choose a challenging path and never sacrifice our ambition, our goals, for security.

Anyone whos had David Ritchey for a class has heard his pep talk at the beginning of the semester. He talks about what makes UTD, and its students, special. He mentions that we work harder, we push ourselves, and we overachieve. Hes absolutely right. I have never met anyone here who puts forth only the minimal amount of effort required. It is our obligation to carry this attitude beyond these walls and into our lives. This degree weve earned represents more than increased opportunities or knowledge attained. A degree from this great University means we have a certain amount of freedom; we can choose a challenging path and never sacrifice our ambition, our goals, for security.

Its not important to know where we are going, or to have our entire lives mapped out. Whether its graduate school, a career, or starting a family, what is important is to keep challenging ourselves ... never settling ... never taking the easy way out.

Scott Turbeville graduated Summa Cum Laude with a perfect 4.0 GPA in Business Administration. He has been on the Deans List every semester at UT Dallas, a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society, Golden Key International Honor Society, and the Pre-Law Society.

He has accomplished all of this while working 45-65 hours per week as a service provider for AT&T, a member of their Pioneers charitable organization and a youth basketball coach.

Scott has been accepted to The University of Texas School of Law for the 2008 fall semester.