A Glimpse of Graduation

Conrad Capili

Bachelor of Science, Child Learning and Development

Members of the faculty, guests, and especially, graduates:

thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you this morning.

I see graduation as a truly fascinating event. It seems as though time slows down for the ceremony, freeing us from our obligations for just a moment and offering us a unique opportunity to reflect on the past and dream about the future. Let that feeling soak in for a while as you think about your time here at UTD. Remember, if you can, your thoughts when you first arrived on campus as a student. What were your intentions?

These degrees reflect our effort and the support of those who surround us, not just our natural abilities. So I implore you to keep pushing yourself and to use your knowledge for the benefit of those less fortunate in society. While considering how much youíve changed these past four years, think about how much you can change others in the future.

Maybe you planned to transform into a new person, or maybe you came to UTD with the determination to not lose yourself - your dreams or beliefs - in the face of new challenges. Perhaps your goal was to just survive for four long years and become the first in your family to proudly walk this stage. I hope that you've met some of your goals and fulfilled many of your promises along the way. But I also hope that you still have a few items left on your "to-do" list.

While in the process of gaining an understanding of the world and the people around you, I hope that youíve formed new ambitions and that you stand here at graduation with new eyes and a burning passion for learning.

Completing the UTD curriculum was not an easy task, but remember that you didnít get to this point on your own. Iím blessed to have the unconditional support of my family and friends. You can probably identify a few people in this very room who encouraged you during your most trying times.

As graduates of UTD, we have done what many in America have been unable to accomplish, and itís important for us recognize that our college degrees donít make us any better than them. These degrees reflect our effort and the support of those who surround us, not just our natural abilities. So, I implore you to keep pushing yourself and to use your knowledge for the benefit of those less fortunate in society. While considering how much youíve changed these past four years, think about how much you can change others in the future.

Last winter, I spent some time in Central America with a medical mission team. I wish I could say we made a lasting impact on the social condition of those areas. But in reality, I gained far more from that experience than any of my patients. At times, patient interviews were awkward as I struggled with broken Spanish, but I kept pouring myself into the work. Finally, after treating a young woman and her child, she met my eyes with a steady and sincere smile. At that moment, I felt that we truly connected with each other on a personal level.

I then realized that service is a universal language and that compassion for others is universally understood. Iíve learned that the act of giving yourself to others never goes to waste no matter how small it seems, and because of our education here, we are more than equipped to help people in significant ways. UTD has made our potential more accessible, so letís tap into it and serve others more effectively. Each of us has something unique to contribute, so letís become leaders in our communities, raise standards, and exceed expectations. Instead of striving to rise above others, letís meet people at their point of need and lift them up to new heights.

Iím looking forward to seeing your accomplishments in the news. Thank you and God bless!

Conrad Capili graduated Summa Cum Laude with a perfect 4.0 grade point average with a major in child learning and development and double minors in visual arts and molecular and cell biology. He was a member of the Collegium V Honors Program, made the Deanís List every semester and was awarded honors in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

While at UT Dallas, he was an Academic Excellence Honors Scholar, president and outstanding member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-health Honor Society, community service coordinator of the Filipino Student Association, a teaching assistant in cell biology and the 2007 recipient of the Joseph G. Wood Award given by the UT Dallas Health Professions Advising Center to the outstanding medical school applicant from his class.

He was awarded admission and received a scholarship to study at the medical school of the renowned Mayo Clinic.