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Master of Science in Information Technology and Management

Thank you, President Wildenthal, Provost Musselman, Dean Pirkul, Dr. Powell, distinguished guests, my professors, loving families, friends and the Class of 2015 for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts with you on this joyous day. When I have heard commencement speeches by such great personalities as President Obama, Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey, to name a few, I always wondered how it must feel to represent our own fellow mates and have an opportunity to thank every person who helped us grow. It feels ecstatic.

We are here today to celebrate a great milestone. Graduation is a time to go back down memory lane and think about how we overcame our initial anxieties to take a bigger step, how with relentless perseverance we built big dreams and how our dedication and endurance pushed us to achieve the small and big goals we created. I am sure all of us have had these experiences. None of us made it here entirely on our own. Our mentors, guides, faculty members, family and friends believed in us in every way to make this happen.

One thought by Martin Luther King Jr. that comes to mind repeatedly today is, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” UT Dallas has taught us this time and again.

Most of us came here with a blank slate as a student of the Naveen Jindal School of Management. We were open to learning new things and experiencing new ways so as to grow into a better professional and individual. But I am sure not many of us knew how. At UT Dallas, our degree programs emphasized an understanding of the theoretical backbone and applying our knowledge with the help of the latest tools and techniques. Above all, they taught us to work in teams and develop relationships with our mentors and peers. The knowledgeable mentors and their helpful life lessons will stay with us to guide us lifelong.

“Graduation is a time to go back down memory lane and think about how we overcame our initial anxieties to take a bigger step, how with relentless perseverance we built big dreams and how our dedication and endurance pushed us to achieve the small and big goals we created.”

It is only here that I found out how it feels to receive some last-minute help from a teaching assistant for those nerve-wracking assignments. I was surprised by the number of initiatives our Career Center hosted to help students secure the best jobs and internships. I never thought studying in the library would feel so interesting. I even found tutors and high-tech gadgets that helped the not-so-physically privileged students to get on par with their peers. Do you all remember getting free food during Welcome Week, those lovely celebrations to inculcate every festival and culture on campus, hot coffee at Starbucks, the newly renovated Dining Hall and free coffee chat sessions by the Dean’s Council? It just made my day and every tough job seem so much easier.

The simulation assignments, industry projects, partnerships with corporations to make ourselves more marketable, business-idea competitions, entrepreneurship drives and the endless presentations prepared us to be the best. On the other hand, the JSOM Owlie Awards, scholarships, research assistantships and teaching assistantships rewarded us for our excellence.

Time flew so quickly. I feel proud that I experienced everything from being a good student, a teaching assistant, a mentor, an intern, a great friend, a balanced spouse and not to forget a loving daughter and sister without having to compromise on any of my roles. I believe that was possible because of the energy, motivation and great vibe this institution provides. UT Dallas teaches us to think different, be sincere, work relentlessly to achieve our goals, be proud of our skills and at the same time help others achieve their dreams. I remember one of my professors told me once, “The team is only as fast as the slowest member in it.” Teamwork, compassion and collaboration are now a way of life. UT Dallas lives by these principles. The University is now ranked among some of the top schools worldwide and also boasts a Noble Prize in Chemistry from Dr. Aziz Sancar in just a few decades of its inception.

As a soon-to-be alumni from such an innovative and nontraditional school, we have an obligation to take these lessons and push our boundaries to where we've never been before. There will be several told and untold opportunities to help our institution grow and carry on our legacy. I request all of you to participate actively in the alumni activities, peer-to-peer mentoring programs and stay constantly in touch. We have the responsibility of turning the vision of our founders into a reality and exposing the world to this unrivaled educational experience.

Thank you so much for your time, and congratulations to us all as we embark on the next stage of our journey.

Arundati Chadaga graduated with a Master of Science in information technology and management. Her aspiration is to excel in the field of business intelligence.

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