Teresa Tran

Bachelor of Science, Accounting

Bachelor of Science, Finance

Good morning, everyone. Thank you, President Daniel, Provost Wildenthal and Dean Pirkul for giving me this opportunity to speak on behalf of my fellow students today. As is often the case, probably no one here is going to remember my words. If anything, you want me to hurry this along so you can get to the pictures, the food, and of course, the presents. After all that is one of the best things about graduation. What you will remember from today isn't this ceremony but all your friends and family celebrating your accomplishment. It is great that everything we stressed about is over. The all-night study sessions, the major projects that have been hanging over our heads and those stressful job interviews are now over.

This day has been four years in the making.

Profile Photo of Teresa Tran

Four years ago, the campus was under extreme construction. The construction and renovation of Founders, the McDermott Library and the Student Union kept us constantly on our toes. It is accurate to say that I took a different route to class almost every week during my freshmen year. It was an adventure when my hallmates and I left the residence hall. We also witnessed the construction of the Student Union mall area. For families and visitors, it is the rectangular pools of water leading up to the fabulous, steam-producing fountain. UT Dallas likes to be different and a traditional water fountain just wasn’t going to do. We wanted our fountain to do to more than just have water flow from top to bottom, we wanted to change the physical state and turn it to steam.

Our sophomore year, we experienced the wonderful snow blizzard that shut down the University for an entire week. The first day was great. Second day was also fun. Playing in the snow and lounging around actually got boring by the fourth day. We started running out of things to do. We suddenly realized we needed groceries and coffee. And doing something productive started to sound quite appealing. As a footnote, while campuses up north might be littered with traditional snowmen, at UT Dallas we had Pokémon snowmen.

Our junior year, we were witness to the naming of the Naveen Jindal School of Management and how exciting it was for one of our distinguished Indian alumni to give us our official school name. Diversity is such an important element of UT Dallas. Case in point, my four best friends are German, Indian, Pakistani and Thai. How wonderful is it that UT Dallas values diversity? This led me to conclude that if I establish myself as an upstanding businesswoman, I could also have something named after me. A parking lot or a sidewalk would suffice.

“Diversity is such an important element of UT Dallas.  Case in point, my four best friends are German, Indian, Pakistani and Thai.  How wonderful is it that UT Dallas values diversity?”

If we look at this year, our senior year, I am glad to see that we successfully survived the end of the world that the Mayans predicted. Good job everyone. Our interests have moved from Twilight vampires and werewolves to starving districts, archery and surviving in arenas in The Hunger Games. We wore out songs about popping tags and going to the thrift shop. And we take pictures of everything and feel the need to frame, filter, and post them all over social media.

Looking at the campus today, the fourth residence hall is being completed with plans to start the construction for a fifth one, which will house 600 more students and have its own Dining Hall and Activity Center. The Arts and Technology building is in the works; it’s the building that sits between the McDermott Library and the Jindal School of Management that looks like it landed on this campus from outer space. The Jindal School of Management has been approved for major expansion as well. It’s a great time to be a Comet.

It's fun thinking back and reminiscing about the time we’ve spent here. Traditional students, untraditional students, transfer students, international students, and everyone in this room have one thing in common. We all are graduates of this incredible university. Whether it was our first or second choice, we all are walking across the stage to be awarded with a University of Texas at Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management degree.

I love this University and the time I have spent here. While it probably isn't normal, I knew as a high school senior that I wanted to major in accounting. Odd, I understand, but I also have a scrapbook called, "Adventures in Accounting!" Anyways, the one requirement for my "University List" was that the business school had to have a Fast Track program for accounting students. Making the decision to attend UT Dallas was the best decision I could have ever made. I have been taught by the best professors, made lifelong friends, traveled to so many new cities and landed a career with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

I will be walking across this stage with memories that will last a lifetime. With that, I want to thank everyone in this room for allowing me to make the mistakes I made to become the 22-year-old you see today. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for putting up with my ridiculousness and letting me pursue my dreams. If I could, I would bleed orange and green.

Before I bid you farewell, there's one thing I want to share with my fellow classmates. Families and friends, this will be good information for you as well. That's right. I'm going to teach you how to correctly do the UT Dallas Whoosh. I figured that before you walk across the stage someone should show you how to properly do it. First, bring up your right arm about 45 degrees from your head, keep your right hand open, closing it is incorrect. Next, bring your left hand over your mouth like you are holding a microphone and about to sing your heart out to your favorite song. Lastly, there's bit of a lean at the waist to emphasize the movement of a comet. There is also the mini-Whoosh. These are appropriate when a full Whoosh seems out of place, however, the mini-Whoosh is more accurate with your left hand since it mirrors the direction the full Whoosh.

You'll hear this all day, but congrats, Class of 2013. We did it!

Teresa Tran is receiving her BS in accounting and her BS in finance. During her time at UT Dallas, she was the president of Beta Alpha Psi and a Residential Life Peer Advisor. As an officer of the student chapter she helped coordinate the annual Meet the Firms, professional meetings and workshops, and volunteer events, as well as attended the BAP National Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Md. She is currently the student campus rep for CPAexcel. She has accepted an accounting area teaching assistant position and plans to continue with the MS program at UT Dallas this summer. Though born in Michigan, she considers herself to be a native Texan and grew up in Fort Worth. She is very proud to have her mom, dad, sister, as well as other family and friends here today.