Grads Reminded of Education's Power to Change
919 Graduate Students and 955 Undergrads Earn Diplomas in Fall Ceremonies
Dec. 20, 2010
UT Dallas welcomed its newest class of alumni over the weekend with speeches extolling the power of universities to change lives individually and in society at large.
In all, the University granted 919 graduate and PhD diplomas and 955 undergraduate diplomas in the Friday and Saturday ceremonies.
The commencements brought the number of degrees granted by UT Dallas in its 41-year history to more than 75,000.
In his address to graduates, UT Dallas President David E. Daniel discussed the critical role of research universities in nation-building.
“I submit that the future of the great American research university may be the single most important factor in determining the future of America,” Daniel said. “Our great research universities are home to a disproportionate fraction of our nation’s most talented scientists, engineers, medical researchers, and human creative talent in general. They are the most important places of discovery in our country.”
In keeping with tradition, five students spoke, including Shweta Arya, who graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in economics from the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. Arya urged her fellow graduates to forge ahead despite a difficult job market.
“The environment we are graduating into is not the most ideal,” she said. “The job market is not as lucrative as before. Even though our prospects look somewhat slim, our undergraduate degree leaves us better poised to face the obstacles ahead, whether professional or personal.”
Bradley Havard, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in computer science from the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, spoke fondly of the University and his peers.
“UT Dallas gives its students opportunities that you just don’t get at another school,” Havard said. “If you want to take a master’s-level course, you can. If you want to conduct research in a lab, you can. If you’re willing to walk into a professor’s office, you can be a part of your field from the first day you arrive on campus. Students with a vision thrive at UT Dallas.”
School of Management magna cum laude graduate Taneska Lewis discussed success from a personal perspective.
“For some of us, success may be starting a non-profit in Ethiopia to feed the poor, pursuing a career in microfinance to help spur economic development in lower-income communities, or utilizing what we have learned in the classrooms of UT Dallas to serve as teachers and help rebuild our crumbling public education system,” Lewis said. “Whatever the case, as a generation we hold the keys to the future, so let us be sure to steer with compassion and prudence.”
For her part, Allison Louis shared her delight at the University’s distinctive environment. Louis graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in psychology from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
“UT Dallas is a unique place,” she said. “Where else can you see people riding unicycles and Segways to class or have cheerleaders at chess tournaments? What other university developed extensive apartment complexes before adding a residence hall, or was a graduate school first, then accepted undergraduates? We have not evolved in the traditional fashion, but just take a look at the result. Our University offers many opportunities for academic- and self-development.”
Robert Shapiro, who already received his BA ’08 from UT Dallas, graduated with both a master of business administration and a master of science in accounting from the School of Management. He reminded his peers to forge ahead in their new lives post graduation but to also keep asking questions and learning.
“Continue to get your hands dirty, and no matter how busy or successful you become, work endlessly, continue learning and most importantly—reach back to others as UT Dallas has reached out to us,” he said.
The largest of UT Dallas’ seven schools, the School of Management, awarded the most degrees over the weekend, totaling 775. Those degrees were awarded Friday, and ceremonies for the remaining six schools took place Saturday.
Other degrees awarded included the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science with 360; the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences with 193; the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences with 158; the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics with 148; the School of Arts and Humanities with 142; and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies with 98.
Daniel encouraged the new graduates to make a difference.
“Today’s ceremony is a reflection of how proud we are of your achievements,” Daniel said. “Go forward, fully aware that your journey on your own road to personal development and fulfillment is one that will, at its best, also make a contribution to improving our nation and our world. Congratulations, one and all.”
The “Glimpse of Graduation” Web page features more photos from the weekend ceremonies.