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Doctorate in Management Science

Good afternoon, President Wildenthal, Provost Musselman, Dean Pirkul, faculty and the Class of 2016.

Having grown up in India, I was made to believe, largely thanks to Hollywood, that all universities in the United States have massive arches and Georgian architecture, winding hallways and wild parties.

When I was driven in to UT Dallas on a blistering July day in 2010, what greeted me was far enough from the Hollywood stereotype to make me wonder how different this University was going to be from what I’d expected.

Turns out, it was very different, and that difference is why UT Dallas has come to hold a very special place in my heart.

As a center of learning and knowledge-sharing, UT Dallas is unparalleled in the professors and mentors it attracts and the level of discourse it encourages within its classrooms. Undoubtedly, that is what led us all to the doors of this campus.

Yet, I fall back now on the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “I pay the schoolmaster, but ’tis the schoolboys that educate my son.” Or, as he would have said for our classrooms today, “’tis the schoolchildren that educate my son and daughter.”

Indeed, our peers in our classrooms and outside create the experiences that make these years in school memorable beyond the realm of knowledge alone. And, in that, UT Dallas truly makes its mark. The leaps we’ve made in our rankings in the years I’ve been here are a testimony to the growth this university, and the Jindal School of Management, has seen.

"As we step out of the haven that is UT Dallas, let us each pledge to ourselves and to our alma mater that we shall continue to believe in the values this institution has instilled in us."

Not only have we added a new building with some great creative spaces for our increasing student body, but every one of us here today has probably participated in business competitions, led student organizations in the school and engaged in networking with our growing pool of industry partners. This is, perhaps, one of the few schools where students can feel the personal touch that comes from having a small student body yet experience opportunities befitting a historic Ivy League.

In the six years I’ve been here, I have had the opportunity to interact with students from at least 20 different countries, from Vietnam to South Sudan. I have had debates and conversations with students who belong to the LGBTQ community and with students belonging to different races, religions and ethnicities.

I have seen the power of diversity at work on this campus, just as I have learned to see every problem in this world through a kaleidoscope — it really depends on which way you turn it, and the pieces fall into a different pattern. In my years as a student reporter with The Mercury, I have learned the values of silence and tolerance. I have acquired the courage to stand up for what is right, to voice my opinions yet to cede to an orator more effective than me when required.

Most importantly, UT Dallas has taught me the power of community. Nestled in the heart of a major Metroplex, we have tackled a whole gamut of challenges together, from helping out at homeless shelters to handling an Ebola outbreak. We have all thrown ourselves behind causes we have seen fit, going above and beyond the calls of duty, and have seen our classrooms further enriched by these vastly different experiences.

The degrees we walk out with today are but one part of who we are. The events that have shaped us these past few years will, in the end, determine who we become in the world beyond, as we leave our footprints indelibly sketched on the minds and lives of those we touch through our work each day.

As we step out of the haven that is UT Dallas, let us each pledge to ourselves and to our alma mater that we shall continue to believe in the values this institution has instilled in us. Let us take a moment to thank all our professors, parents and enablers who have helped us get here today and promise to never let their faith in us dwindle. More importantly, let us pledge that we will apply our educations to giving back to our communities, wherever they may be, as much as it has done for us, and more.

I end with the words of the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore: “The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.”

Indeed, as the sun streams upon us new graduates walking out of this hall today, that will be the purpose I will walk out with.

Anwesha Bhattacharjee MBA’14 graduated with a PhD in management science. She works full time as a data scientist at Sabre in Southlake, Texas