Have Never Been Stronger
Commencement Address Spring 2011
Greetings to our visitors, and welcome to UT Dallas!
We are glad you are with us to celebrate one of the most important occasions of the year: graduation.
To the family members and friends here today, and to those listening and watching via the World Wide Web: Thank you! Today’s graduates could not have come this far without your support.
To the students seated before me: Congratulations! You have demonstrated the ability and determination to set a long-term goal and to achieve it. We are proud of you, and we enthusiastically applaud your accomplishment today.
We also are very honored by the presence of one of our University of Texas System Regents, Brenda Pejovich of Dallas. Regent Pejovich has served on the board for almost a year. We are especially grateful to the Board for its support of many initiatives at UT Dallas.
Just as you graduates have finished a great year, your University is also wrapping up 12 months of remarkable accomplishment. This is a year in which we opened attractive and environmentally sensitive new campus facilities, began enjoying a beautiful mall, and set records for just about everything.
“Our growth is critically important to our region, which desperately needs more people like you — smart, creative, well-educated future leaders.”
At UT Dallas, our accomplishments and momentum have never been stronger. Particularly important to me is the fact that enrollment and degrees awarded have grown significantly, and the quality of our students has never been better. Our growth is critically important to our region, which desperately needs more people like you – smart, creative, well-educated future leaders.
The University has also seen gains this year in our standing in a number of national rankings.
UT Dallas appeared for the first time this year in the top tier of U.S. News & World Report’s Best National Universities — and yes, this is where the term “Tier One” comes from. UT Dallas was ranked No. 3 among public universities in Texas.
The School of Management’s graduate program was ranked 40th overall in the nation, and 17th among public institutions. This placed UT Dallas ahead of such national universities as Maryland, Purdue and Michigan State; and fourth among all other Texas institutions. We’re in good company, and we’re moving up rapidly!
The School of Management also excelled in recent Bloomberg Businessweek rankings of undergraduate programs, earning a place among the top 10 public universities for eight of its programs.
The engineering school’s graduate programs pushed into the national top 70 in U.S. News, coming in at 40th among public universities in the U.S. and fourth in Texas.
Audiology and speech-pathology graduate programs in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences continued their great run in U.S. News as well, and are among the top 5 percent nationally in their respective disciplines.
Our School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences’ program in Geography and Geospatial Sciences was ranked 16th nationally and first in Texas in scholarly productivity, ahead of Cal-Berkeley and Cornell.
The Chemistry Department in our School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics was just named a “Rising Star” by Thompson-Reuters’ Science Watch news service last week. It appeared in a list with such institutions as Lawrence Livermore National Labs, the University of Chicago and Los Alamos National Labs.
Our program in Arts and Technology was named among the top 10 programs in the nation in recognition of its work in, among other things, “serious games” – the kind of work that is critical to computer-enhanced education and training.
We are proud of this external recognition. But we’re always mindful that such achievement is due in large part to our very smart students, aided by extraordinarily knowledgeable and dedicated faculty members.
“I am also pleased to report that research expenditures at UT Dallas continue a sustained pattern of growth.”
I am also pleased to report that research expenditures at UT Dallas continue a sustained pattern of growth — up 28 percent in the past year, and increased five-fold over the past decade. This growth reflects the University’s increasing success in recruiting faculty who compete well on the national level for research funding, and in recruiting exceptionally talented students who perform high-quality work, which begets even more external support.
I am more confident than ever in the future of The University of Texas at Dallas and of our community. The United States’ great research universities are our most important institutions in determining the future economic prosperity of our nation. 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. We can be very proud to be part of this vital work.
I have spoken at length about how well UT Dallas is doing. But all the accomplishments we celebrate today are reached only through the individual efforts of our students, working with our faculty. The examples I cited a moment ago are your achievements. The results are remarkable. You are truly remarkable.
I offer heartfelt appreciation to you, graduates, and to the numerous friends and supporters who have helped to make this an exceptional year of advancement for our University. Keep us in your sights as you move out into the world beyond campus, and we will be watching out for your future accomplishments as well.
Thank you, graduates of 2011 and good luck!
Updated: November 22, 2011