A Glimpse of Graduation

Patrick Hampton

Bachelor of Science, Computer Science

I remember as a freshman being told, Look to the left of you, now look to the right of you. Two out of the three of you wont make it to graduation. I remember thinking to myself, is this college or the military?

Science, engineering and mathematics are some of the toughest disciplines in our world today. This is the way it should be, considering we are the leaders and must invent something new that can help change the world. But dont let the world scare you. As you all know, we are fearless engineers and scientists, and changing the world requires someone who is fearless.

You can tell from the graduates in this room as well as the other seniors, juniors, sophomores, freshmen, graduate and Ph.D. students that even though we come from different backgrounds, we all have one thing in common: a passion and desire to be the brightest and the best.

As the great Franklin D. Roosevelt said, There is nothing to fear but fear itself. So when you go out into the world, dont fear. Just believe in yourself and remember all that you did to get to that point.

Its been a long journey, and we have finally made it to the end, or, as I would like to call it, a new beginning. The world is out there waiting for us to steer it past these troubling times, for us to invent new technologies, to cure old diseases and to write our own history.

I want to challenge each and every one of you to learn to say I will instead of I cant.

As computer science and software engineering majors, say: I will create the next best algorithm or groundbreaking software. As electrical and telecom engineers, say: I will invent a circuit that uses less power. As biology and chemistry majors, say: I will find the cure to that disease. As physics, geosciences and mathematics majors, say: I will discover a new solution that will solve an age-old problem.

I challenge every person here today to go out there and make the impossible possible, the unknown known and your dreams a reality.

Before you go out into the world, it is important to remember where we came from. To remember the faculty and staff that helped us learn and grow, and motivated us to never give up. To remember the student organizations and student government that taught us to get involved and protected our rights. And to remember the family and friends, who through the good and the bad, the thick and the thin, the successes and failures, believed in us even when others would not.

The University of Texas at Dallas has been a blessing for us all. It has been a cultivating ground for leaders, teachers and lifelong learners. UT Dallas atmosphere is a little different from most traditional colleges. Its undergraduate program did not start until 1990. Other universities programs have been around since dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

UT Dallas has provided us an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. We voted for a new mascot, started the Spirit Rock and have done many other things that are fast becoming traditions.

The University is growing and developing. This year, UT Dallas topped 15,000 students, which is an incredible achievement. UT Dallas has also begun construction on a new dining hall and other new buildings on campus. You can tell from the graduates in this room as well as the other seniors, juniors, sophomores, freshmen, graduate and Ph.D. students that even though we come from different backgrounds, we all have one thing in common: a passion and desire to be the brightest and the best.

I know UT Dallas was the best choice for you and me to pursue, and now receive, our degree.

When you leave here to go north, south, east or west, you should be proud to tell people, I am a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, and I am one of the brightest and the best.

Lastly, Id like to thank God, my grandfather, my mom, my family and friends and everyone here at UT Dallas for an incredible experience that I will cherish forever.

Thank you, and God Bless.

Patrick Hampton graduated with a degree in computer science from the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.

He attended UT Dallas with the support of a National Science Foundation Scholarship. As a student, he served as president of the Association for Computing Machinery and conference chair for the regional conference of the National Society of Black Engineers. He was also chosen from among his peers as Student Leader of the Year for 2007-08.

Beyond the classroom, Hampton held internships with Texas Instruments, General Dynamics and Cisco Systems.

After graduation, Hampton will be a software engineer with Cisco Systems.