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Master of Business Administration

Thank you so much for being here. Thank you to the graduating students, all of the staff and faculty, and of course the families and friends who have supported us along the way. I am so incredibly honored to be here in front of some of the greatest minds at The University of Texas at Dallas. My name is Dara Stork, and I am a soon-to-be-graduate of our awesome, full-time, cohort MBA program. I have been looking forward to graduation day since my first day on campus. For me it’s been 18 months. I’m sure some of you have been looking forward to this day for more than that – so I’m going to keep this speech short and sweet.

So, how great does it feel to have closed this academic chapter of our lives? Doesn’t it feel wonderful? Now, I ask you this: As you go out into the world with your beautiful, framed diploma from UT Dallas, how are you going to change the world? Your answer is probably different from that of the person sitting beside you, which is probably different from the person sitting on the other side of you. But as you go out into this new chapter, I ask you to keep three things in mind while changing the world: Stay relevant, show kindness and be courageous.

First, stay relevant, and anticipate the pass. Are there any hockey fans out there? Raise your hand if you’re a fan. Well there’s this guy, who is kind of big deal, Wayne Gretzky, who once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” UT Dallas grads, where will you skate? You’ve learned much from some of the best and brightest professors, but don’t stop here. Remain relevant in our fast-paced world by skating to where the puck will be by continuing to learn and grow.

“People won’t remember specific project deadlines or deliverables, but they will remember your character.”

Second, show kindness. If you’re not a hockey fan, perhaps you’re a fan of Harry Potter. My favorite quote of all time is from Dumbledore: “Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.” UT Dallas is a lot like Hogwarts, in the sense that students who ask for help usually receive it above and beyond. Since we’ve already established that you’re going to change the world – while you’re doing it, I ask that you show kindness. People won’t remember specific project deadlines or deliverables, but they will remember your character.

Lastly, be courageous. I dare you. I double-dare you to seize the day and create your success. Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” With this degree, you’ve already built the foundation to create a bigger and better future for yourself. It is a fact that UT Dallas has some of the best faculty, staff, programs and students in the world. Now is your time to prove that to the rest of the world by showing courage, accepting the challenge and making a name for yourself.

On behalf of the graduating class, we want to thank our dean for providing great faculty, supporting the students through generous scholarships, and providing phenomenal career services to help us land our dream jobs after graduation.

Quick recap for you: Stay relevant, show kindness and be courageous. When we join together in these three parts, we will be the most positive change in our world. As Comets shooting from The University of Texas at Dallas, we will continue to shine brightly and positively change the world around us. Congrats, class of 2015!

Dara Stork graduated with a Master of Business Administration. After graduation, she will work in Dallas at Ericsson