A Glimpse of Graduation

Allison Louis

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology

Dr. Daniel, Dean Piñeres, fellow graduates, distinguished faculty, family and friends: It is an honor to be here with you today. Congratulations! Your hard work and countless hours spent writing papers, studying in the library or working out complex chemical or mathematical equations have paid off.

For some of us, this concludes our academic careers and is the beginning of our professional lives. Profile Photo of Elizabeth BartaBut for others, we will continue on to law school, medical school or graduate school.

Either way, this day is not the end for any of us—it is only the beginning. Our journey in life is just starting. We will continue our educations, begin families and eventually start our careers as lawyers, psychologists, doctors, researchers, teachers, artists, writers, Web designers.…The list is endless. Not only, my fellow graduates, are you entering a time of new beginning, but so is our University—our alma mater.

I’m sure everyone has noticed that our school has been undergoing major changes these past few years. While it may have been a pain to have to find the ever-changing alternate pathways around campus, or walk what seemed like an extra mile just to get to the bookstore, we can finally see the finished product. The construction has beautified our campus and added new buildings with state-of-the art classrooms, labs and facilities. UT Dallas is also becoming a major research university. All of this brings more resources, students and opportunities to us and our University, ensuring that our degrees will continue to increase in value over time.

UT Dallas is a unique place. 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.

UT Dallas has allowed me, and I am sure each of you, countless opportunities for growth and leadership. As I applied to different universities at the end of high school, UT Dallas was my first choice.  I was drawn to the University because of its location, its reputation as a quality educational institution and the apartment-style living it offered. However, my experience at UT Dallas has exceeded my expectations and offered so much more than I could have imagined. I would be a very different person had I not decided to attend this University.

My experiences here have been life-changing: I entered and won a scholarship pageant that strengthened my self-confidence and speaking skills. I became the president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, which helped me develop leadership skills. My courses have been challenging and thought-provoking, allowing me to develop intellectually.

Outside of the classroom, I had the opportunity to be involved in psychological research working in Dr. Holub’s lab, which developed my critical-thinking skills. UT Dallas has also opened doors for me and given me access to internships, such as one at Parkland Health and Hospital System, which was life-changing and directly led me to pursue medical school. What is great about UT Dallas is that these opportunities are not unique to me but are shared by many of you today.

My fellow graduates, let us not forget that we would not be here today without the abundant support we have received over the years. Our family, friends, teachers, advisers and mentors have molded, encouraged and guided us. We are forever grateful for their presence in our lives.

Your hard work and countless hours spent writing papers, studying in the library or working out complex chemical or mathematical equations have paid off.

Graduates, with all the effort you have put into earning your degrees and all the effort the University has put into ensuring its growth, as well as your individual growth, don’t let this be your last time at UT Dallas. Come back and visit, support the school as alumni, share your school spirit with anyone who will listen. I know I will always remember my experiences here, and I hope you will as well.

Class of 2010: I wish you all great success in your futures, and I know you will do great things!

Allison Louis graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. She came to UT Dallas on an Academic Excellence Scholarship after graduating from St. Agnes Academy in Houston in 2007.

Outside the classroom, she was a research assistant in Dr. Shayla Holub’s Healthy Development Project and a Parkland Collegiate Fellow. Allison’s current plans include obtaining a post-baccalaureate certificate in biomedical sciences at UT Dallas. She will then apply to Texas medical schools. Her primary career interest is psychiatry, and upon completion of medical school she hopes to begin her career in a hospital environment.