Grads Reflect, Rejoice at Spring Commencement 

Class of 2011 Students Share Words of Hope and Gratitude in Speeches to Peers

May 16, 2011

More than 2,100 UT Dallas students took a big step toward the real world as they crossed the stage Friday and Saturday in spring commencement ceremonies. The crowds celebrating at the five ceremonies included more than 990 graduate and PhD candidates and 1,160 undergraduates.

Dr. David E. Daniel and Regent Pejovich

President Says University
Playing Vital Role in Region

President David E. Daniel said he was more confident than ever of the future of the University of Texas at Dallas, and of the community.

Daniel addressed students and their families at each commencement ceremony, one of which included a special appearance by University of Texas System Regent Brenda Pejovich of Dallas.

“The United States’ great research universities are our most important institutions in determining the future economic prosperity of our nation,” Daniel said. “UT Dallas is among the most important institutions, if not the most important one, that will determine the future global competitiveness and economic prosperity of the Dallas region. Our growth is critically important to our region, which desperately needs more people like you – smart, creative, well-educated future leaders.”

President’s Address:
“Our Accomplishments Have Never Been Stronger”

A Glimpse of Graduation: More Photos, Complete Student Speeches

Following UT Dallas tradition, students  addressed their peers. Topics blended thoughts about what the future might hold with reflections about their experiences at the University.

“UT Dallas looked and felt very different when I started as a young freshman four years ago,” said Remsen Jennings, addressing the School of Management undergraduate ceremony.

“To imagine a university could transform into an internationally competitive research institution so quickly was unfathomable.  I could feel the value of my degree skyrocketing with each new development and achievement that we as students catalyzed.”

Molecular biology major Archana Madhavan urged her peers to blend pride in their accomplishment with gratitude for those who had helped them along the way.

“I hope that all of you can take a moment to think of who – or what – at our University encouraged you to be what you are today and what you plan to be in the future,” Madhavan said.

Whatever that future holds, UT Dallas grads have been groomed to succeed, said Dina Shahrokhi, graduating with a bachelor of arts in political science from the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. 

“Some of us have traveled the world, worked with world-renowned professors in labs and through research, and held prestigious internships throughout the country,” Shahrokhi said.  “Even if we aren’t sure exactly what profession we may end up in, we are prepared to achieve success and for the challenges we will face.”

Malik Nawabi, speaking before fellow master of business administration students, saw both opportunity and responsibility in life beyond the campus.

“What an awe-inspiring thought: that you and I are builders of eternity — not would be, not could be, but are,” Nawabi said.

For his speech, electrical engineering major James Issac said he had learned four key lessons as a Comet:  Don't be afraid to change your mind, take risks, meet new people and be thankful.

“I enjoy traveling in airplanes and like to think of this occasion as a flight,” Issac said. “Here we are at the terminal, surrounded by family and friends, our bags packed, equipped with skills learned thus far. Each of us has a special destination, but we share this common source: We are Comets, representing this great university. I wish you all a safe and exciting flight. Happy landing.”


Media Contact: Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2244, jennib@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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