Darrel Dunn

Bachelor of Arts, Arts and Technology

Welcome to everyone in attendance here today: students, parents, faculty and staff. My name is Darrel Dunn, arts and technology major from the 2014 graduating class. Some may know me by my nickname, “Friidom.”

Profile Photo of Darrel Dunn

I can stand here before you today and tell you all about my experience at UT Dallas, and I am likely to receive a couple of yawns and a few blank stares. But no. Today, I stand before you with a speech, a speech I am so grateful to deliver to each and every person here today, a speech that should either encourage or help boost my peers into the next stage of their future.

But today is not just that day; today is a moment – a moment that should be cherished right now, for what we have just accomplished and for what we’ve fought pen, paper and sleepless nights for. This day is a monument for every woman and man that has stepped foot in the doors of an educational establishment. This day is our graduation day. That alone deserves a standing ovation.

Yes, we must ultimately look toward that future, toward that future of an ideal that we believe in our souls that we were born for. For many of us, this day marks a moment of uncertainty – an uncertainty fueled by inside and outside pressure, adversity, or in our human capacity... fear. The fear that tomorrow brings, the fear that can stop a growing nation, and that same fear that can grip a generation. Growing up, I received nothing but the benefits of failure from family, friends and the world around me. I realized at a young age that fear is ever so present in our Earth’s mantle, core and structure. I’ve seen this very fear strip the courage from the strongest men and women I’ve ever known. I’ve seen this fear keep so many of my brothers and sisters in bondage. I’ve seen this very fear destroy the dreams of dreamers.

“I’ve learned throughout the course of my experience here at college that doing this journey alone and overcoming obstacles wasn’t a ‘me’ thing. Graduating was not a one-man show. Ultimately, this journey and triumph over what was believed impossible was a ‘we’ thing.”

This speech is not only for you; this speech is for you and the generation sitting right behind you. The generation looking up at you, my peers, as well as the generation that stands honoring you here today. These words are for everyone who wants to see a change in this world we say we share together – and these words are for everyone who as a child placed a cape on his back because he swore to save it. We must realize this in order to truly succeed, overcome this fear and make a difference in this world. A hand must be reached out to someone other than me, a shoulder must be given to a heart that is grieving without comfort, and we pick up the smallest piece of trash to let Mother Earth know we cherish her skin. Then, we see a light where there is no light. Then, we feel a hope where fear says there is no hope. Then, we hear a voice from a tree that made a sound when it fell. Together we succeed, because we see, hear, and feel one another’s shortcomings.

I’ve learned throughout the course of my experience here at college that doing this journey alone and overcoming obstacles wasn’t a “me” thing. Graduating was not a one-man show. Ultimately, this journey and triumph over what was believed impossible was a “we” thing. Friends, family, and a UT Dallas pride among all nations made me truly free to succeed. It was a pride felt every time I stepped into each cultures organization, cultural night, or family structure. A “we” that only UTD could bring. And, as I speak before you today, I can truly say with every generation and color of man in witness here today in this building, I know – and I know you know – that this is the start of something unfathomable.

On behalf of the graduating class of 2014, thank you, our friends and family; thank you faculty and staff; and most of all, thank you UT Dallas. Our future truly knows no bounds.


Darrel Dunn graduated with a bachelor’s in arts and technology. He joined UT Dallas as part of the Academic Bridge Program and has been a member of a wide variety of organizations on campus. He was the 2013 homecoming king. After graduation, he plans to go wherever his artistic and technological skills may lead him.