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Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry

Thank you, Dr. Wildenthal, Dean Novak and the faculty and staff present with us today. Thank you, Dr. Wildenthal, for continuing to lead UT Dallas in this time of transition closer toward our goal of Tier One status. Thank you to all of our professors who have invested countless hours in educating us by opening up your offices, your labs and your homes to us. You have encouraged us at each step of our journeys at UT Dallas. You have patiently taught and equipped us, enabling us to celebrate this moment today. I also want to thank all of our friends and families for your emotional and financial support and encouragement, without which my fellow graduates and I would not be here today. Let’s give a round of applause to all of these important individuals in our lives.

We are Comets, today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lives. As Comets, we are proud of our mascot, Temoc (yes, that is “comet” spelled backward), we actually like the colors orange and green, we love our DIII athletics and the commitment to and prioritization of academics it represents, we take pride in our undefeated football team – which, as you know, is a big deal here in Texas – and, of course, we have an awesome chess team. We are proud of our incredible faculty, staff and peers. Our experiences over the past four years have bonded us together as a family and a community. From navigating the ever-changing construction to overcoming the challenges of ochem and genetics to writing the pages and pages of lab reports necessary to graduate to serving our local community through events such as Viva Volunteer, we did it, and we did it together. Let’s remember that while today we are leaving our home as alumni, we are not leaving the Comet family.

"Let’s choose not to be satisfied with the status quo. Let’s step up and push past boundaries and break down barriers."

There's another quality that Comets possess that I want to highlight today: Comets are disruptive. Consider a comet impacting the Earth. It would certainly disrupt our daily routines and get our attention. As UT Dallas Comets, we have the ability and the opportunity to make an impact of the same magnitude on our world. By disruptive, I mean that we can change the way our world thinks, change the way we evaluate and respond to the different issues we face today in health care, in the classroom, in the environment and wherever else we may encounter problems. Let's choose not to be satisfied with the status quo. Let's step up and push past boundaries and break down barriers. Let's innovate new technologies, new research, new procedures, new methods and new organizations. Think about the impact of hundreds of UT Dallas Comets arriving across the United States and around the world. Our time at UT Dallas has prepared us to enter the next season in our lives and to be leaders. We’ve been able to perform original research, participate in fellowships, lead organizations, participate in Student Government, shape our University and impact our community. These have all shaped who we are today.

Today, we take the first steps toward applying what we have learned at UT Dallas to our futures. Congratulations on your success at UT Dallas and best wishes for a bright future. We made it! Now, let's go and make a difference. Let's be disruptive. Let's be Comets!

Matthew Gillings graduated summa cum laude with a degree in biochemistry with major honors. After graduation, he will pursue a medical degree at UT Southwestern Medical Center.