Nearly 1,800 Earn Diplomas in Fall Ceremonies
University Has Conferred More Than 65,000 Degrees since 1969
Dec. 20, 2008
With the support of their families and friends, approximately 1,786 students were candidates for degrees at UT Dallas’ fall graduation over the weekend. The latest group of graduates means the University will have conferred more than 65,000 degrees during the course of its nearly 40-year history.
As in years past, students were chosen as commencement speakers for the four ceremonies, which took place Dec. 19 and 20 in the University’s Activity Center.
The students competed to present an address at one of the ceremonies and were selected by a committee made up of their peers and members of the faculty. They were judged on academic achievement, campus and community involvement, and lecture content.
The speakers included:
- Blake Farha — who received a Bachelor of Science in economics from the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.
- Patrick Hampton — who earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
- William “Ben” Morrow — who received both a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts in arts and technology from the School of Arts and Humanities, while enrolled in the University’s pre-med program.
- Ana Tavares — who earned a Bachelor of Arts double major in historical studies and literary studies from the School of Arts and Humanities.
In addition to the student speakers, UT Dallas President David E. Daniel addressed graduates, their families, friends and supporters. In his talk, Daniel emphasized the importance and advantages of a college education, particularly in tough economic times.
“It is true that large scale issues — startling economic developments, growing energy demand, continuing challenges in the area of global understanding and diplomacy — have come to affect daily life in ways most of us could not have anticipated,” Daniel said. “Meaningful approaches to these challenges demand the development of human intellectual capital. The best way — the only way — I know of doing that is through higher education.”
In his talk, Farha pointed out the importance of recognizing the professors who led graduates in their studies.
“I would especially like to thank a group of people who, on a day like this, may not receive the recognition they deserve: our professors,” Farha said. “They taught us to dig deeper, to think harder, and to question the status quo. These are the qualities that allow people to create change. These are the qualities that will allow you to excel and succeed in the future.”
Hampton challenged graduates to reflect on their pasts to make their dreams a reality.
“Before you go out into the world, I believe it is important to remember where we came from,” Hampton said. “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.”
In his speech, Morrow offered reflections about the importance of both succeeding in failing in life, in college and beyond.
“But you see, every failure is liberating, and today I’m as reflective about the bad as I am about the good,” Morrow said. “That’s what I wish for all of you: the good as well as the bad. I believe attitude makes the difference. Fall down, make a mess, and break something occasionally. Then get up, gather your notes and move forward.”
At the final graduation ceremony for the fall class of 2008, Tavares pointed out that, like campus, the UT Dallas student body is both diverse and unique.
“This is no ordinary student body. Like most universities, we have transfer students, international students, and students returning to school after living life out there in the ‘real world’ for a while.” Tavares said. “Every one of us is unique; every one of us has a different story, a different set of goals and ambitions and a different outlook on life. We mix and we blend together to create a masterpiece all its own, every graduating class a little different than the one before.”
In all, approximately 815 graduate and Ph.D. candidates and 971 undergraduates are slated to receive degrees for fall 2008.
The largest of UT Dallas’ seven schools, the School of Management, awarded the most with 711.
Next was the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science with 231; School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences with 172; the School of Arts and Humanities with 150; the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences with 133; the School of Interdisciplinary Studies with 126; and the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics with 123.The University holds two graduation ceremonies per year, in the fall and spring.
Computer science major Patrick Hampton addressed fellow graduates at the Friday night ceremony.
About 815 graduate and Ph.D. candidates and 971 undergraduates were scheduled to receive degrees in the fall 2008 ceremonies.
FALL ’08 GRADUATION: