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Master of Science, Information Technology and Management

A fantabulous morning, everybody! A fabulous morning to the UT Dallas leadership team — President Richard Benson, Provost Hobson Wildenthal, Dean Hasan Pirkul and Dean Marion Underwood — our sensational Jindal School faculty, Comets, friends of Comets and Oort clouds. Yes, I said Oort clouds. “O-O-R-T” clouds. Google says that Comets originate from Oort clouds; so, hello to all the proud parents of Comets!

I have been ready for this moment my entire life. But now that this is actually happening … gosh, I have never felt so many emotions all at once — nervous, excited, tense. But mostly I am relieved because I will be able to share the video of this ceremony with my great-great-grandkids to show them how awesome their great-great-grandma was!

Time does fly, and even faster when you are having fun! Two years ago, we had a lot of questions. What courses to enroll in? How often should we eat? Not once but thrice every day! Yes, even the simplest things seemed overwhelming. And yes, we were all vulnerable. Here is the deal: UT Dallas and the Naveen Jindal School of Management have taught us to embrace our vulnerability. As author and researcher Dr. Brené Brown said, “You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.” UT Dallas helped us become courageous by giving us opportunities to take risks through case competitions and innumerable networking sessions organized by the Career Management Center, and by embodying the spirit of JSOM through strong, student-led organizations. After all these amazing experiences, we have blossomed into independent thinkers and brave leaders in our beautiful, Tier-One campus that keeps getting bigger and better every semester!

“Never take anything for granted. Cherish the pure, selfless love and sacrifice your loved ones had to make for you to be called a graduate today.”

At the Jindal School, when you are curious, you can be so many things! We have been student workers, teaching and research assistants, officers in student organizations, entrepreneurs, and the proudest of them all, fellow Comets! With more than 300 registered student organizations at UT Dallas — 50 of them in the Jindal School alone — you can be who you are and what you want to be. UT Dallas celebrates your authenticity, which is what makes this place absolutely beautiful. Diversity nourishes UT Dallas.   

In addition to teaching us cutting-edge technologies, the Jindal School also taught us that when you stop and look around, there is so much goodness in this world. Being an officer for Dean’s Council has been one of my most rewarding experiences in my grad journey. Through the OWLIE Awards and Faces of JSOM project, I have had the immense joy of understanding just how special JSOM is. As human beings, we are wired to connect with each other. I am so grateful for all the wonderful people who made my grad life such a special one, as I’m sure you are too — our moms, dads, childhood best friends and siblings who have been with us virtually this entire time, and the new friends and family we made here over the past two years. We have been lucky in more than a million ways. As the saying goes, it is not all about luck; it is also about smart decisions. UT Dallas was our smart decision.

UT Dallas has been our lucky star, granting all our wishes. Where do I even begin? This is the place where I did my first Eurojump, had my first tango and swing dance lessons, ran my first 5K, celebrated my first Halloween as a Texas cowgirl. So many memories, so much awesomeness. UT Dallas has given all of us so many reasons to celebrate life and has inspired in a bazillion ways. Carry this inspiration and put your best self out there. Because you know what? The world could use some Comet love!

Love them or hate them, clichés are time-tested and true. Here are three of my favorites:

First, enjoy small things because, when you look back, how you spent your days is how you spent your life.

Second, be grateful and always look for a reason to celebrate. Happiness is a choice, as told by our very own Dean Pirkul. As Kurt Vonnegut advised, keep finding moments to ask yourself, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

And third, remember your roots. Never take anything for granted. Cherish the pure, selfless love and sacrifice your loved ones had to make for you to be called a graduate today. Appreciate all the faculty and staff who patiently answered even the silliest of your doubts to get you here today. UT Dallas and the Naveen Jindal School of Management have given us this marvelous journey and have made us wise and so full of experience that we are now indeed ready for the world!

We all leave today a tad bit surer of who we are and what we want. Understanding yourself is the beginning of wisdom. May the force be with you, wise Comets, as you get started on this journey of wisdom!

Thank you, UT Dallas, for keeping us all safe, secure and loved all these years.

I want to mark this very special milestone of our lives and wrap up my speech by sharing lyrics from my favorite song, “Verge” by Owl City.

These are our hours,
This is our time.
Out on the verge of the rest of our lives tonight.
Top of the world and we are dressed to the nines tonight.
Edge of the earth and we’re touching the sky tonight.
Out on the verge of the rest of our lives.

We will do what is right because we are Comet blazers! Go Comets!

Devi Karuppiah graduated with a master’s degree in information technology and management. She received the Dean’s Impact Scholarship, wrote for the JSOM Perspectives blog and worked as a research assistant for JSOM’s Executive Education program. She was a member of the Dean’s Council, the Management Consulting Club and UT Dallas Running Club.

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