A Glimpse of Graduation

Martin Huynh

Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry

Good afternoon, faculty, families and fellow graduates. It is a humbling honor to address you all today.

Profile Photo of Martin Huynh

Today is a gift. Today, we yield the fruits of several long and challenging years. We leave a UT Dallas that has changed and grown as much as we have. We leave having transformed this campus as much as it has transformed us. We leave prepared to change the greater world with even greater vigor and creativity. Most importantly, we leave not alone; we leave with each other. This now-ending chapter of our lives has gifted us immeasurably in education, preparation and friendship. Today is a gift and the beginning of our futures.

But perhaps two of the more-neglected gifts we have received through this journey are self-understanding and self-confidence. We are all intelligent, industrious, happy and friendly individuals. Thus, we set incredibly high standards for ourselves, both as individuals and as a university. These standards transcend those imposed upon us by others, those dictated by the state, by society, and by families and friends. We inevitably compare ourselves to others, other students and other universities. But ultimately, we judge our efforts by our standards, those distinct and fundamental to our identities. We must satisfy our own criteria.

The forces of doubt will tell us that our generation cannot undo all the problems of the world and that we might just contribute to them. Thus, beneath today’s narrative of celebration and closure there flows a narrative of uncertainty and incompleteness. We do not know how our journeys beyond UT Dallas will fare. We do not know if our choices are right or not. We do not know if tomorrow will be better than today. We do not know.

“UT Dallas has grown more beautiful and successful than most of us could have ever imagined. We have been a laboratory not only for semiconducting polymers and carbon nanotubes but also a laboratory for the personal growth that is evident in this room.”

However, this uncertainty gifts us with freedom and compels us to act, to create. We combat this uncertainty by exploiting it, by painting the blank murky canvas with our dreams and ambitions, by creating our future as the UT Dallas vision directs us. Beyond the expected hard work, creativity and cooperation, we will need hope, and perhaps even faith — the belief transcendent of reason that our efforts will succeed — that we will achieve the greatness and happiness we demand of ourselves.

But now, we have more than faith. We have something different. We have evidence. In the past four years since many of us started our journey here, UT Dallas has grown more beautiful and successful than most of us could have ever imagined. We have been a laboratory not only for semiconducting polymers and carbon nanotubes but also a laboratory for the personal growth that is evident in this room. We aim to be a Tier One research university, but we are already Tier One in our own minds. In this room is a collection of narratives far more impressive than my own: a young lady who is not a citizen of this country who has been one of the truest citizens of UT Dallas and will enter the University of Virginia Medical School; a man who has conquered several physical disabilities to become one of the best writers I know and a superlative student at UT Southwestern Medical School; friends who are off to PhD programs at Johns Hopkins and MIT; and finally, our nation’s next generation of teachers, who will help transform these dreams into reality for those who follow us.

To get here today, we have dared to dream and have refused to consign ourselves to the gray twilight of neither victory nor defeat. We have proved many others wrong, but most importantly, we have proved to ourselves that limits belong to others, not UT Dallas graduates. We dare to shape the world, and in doing so, we shape ourselves.

Thank you to our friends, families, professors and all others who helped us get here today. I wish you all continued success and happiness and that you find what you’re looking for. God bless, and Whoosh!

Martin Huynh graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a minor in political science. He was a Eugene McDermott Scholar, a frequent member of the Dean’s List, an inaugural member of Phi Kappa Phi, and a member of the Collegium V Honors Program.

On campus, he has served as an officer of the Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honor Society, was an original member of the Onomatopoeia improv society, and served as the service chair and president of the Chemistry Student Association. He also taught biochemistry as a teaching assistant for two years. Through the Chemistry Student Association, he taught chemistry to hundreds of children in the McKinney, Plano and Richardson school districts.

Huynh received an Undergraduate Research Scholar Award and has presented twice at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society. His research has been published in the Journal of Polymer Science. After graduation, he plans to attend medical school.