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Bachelor of Science, Accounting and Finance

Honor, courage, commitment: As a newly enlisted sailor in the United States Navy, I was told these three words were going to define my life for the next four years. They meant honor to my country, the courage to fight for it and the commitment to serve. We called this part of the Sailor's Creed and chanted these three words multiple times a day to remind ourselves why we chose to be in the Navy, but I never realized that these core values would still be relevant today.

Honor. To have honor is to give respect to someone or something. I am honored to be the daughter of my hardworking, independent, strong and beautiful mother. She gave my brother, sister and me everything we wanted, even when it was hard to come by. Like me, each of you honor and respect those that have supported you throughout your lives. We have all heard the life lesson: Everything can be taken away from you, except your education. Knowledge is our most valuable commodity, so we should keep seeking to learn because what you learn will always be with you.

We are honored to be here, graduating from UT Dallas. UT Dallas is not just a university; it’s like a friend down the street. We have watched building after building being added to campus, seeing the UT Dallas logo on cars and in stores, hearing about the awards and recognition the University was receiving and watching friends and family members graduate from here. It is like UT Dallas grew up with us. Now, it is an institution that is still rapidly growing and attracting students from all over the world. We are all honored to call ourselves Comets and, after today, alumni from The University of Texas at Dallas.

"We have all somehow contributed to each other’s experience here, and I am truly honored to celebrate our accomplishments today."

Courage. Nelson Mandela said that "courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." Like most students, we all had fears as we came to college. Will we make friends? Will we be able to get involved? It was like reliving Mean Girls, only it was for returning to college for me. Thankfully, UT Dallas, the staff, the faculty and the students have made this experience incredible and life-changing.

Students are able to get involved in the areas that appeal to them and make connections that benefit their futures. There are many organizations on campus that mold the experiences of students. Participation in the Professional Program in Accounting helps students connect with employers. Veterans of UT Dallas assists veterans while they assimilate back into a civilian lifestyle. The Jindal School of Management’s Dean’s Council was established to create a connection between students and the deans. They address students' concerns and ideas to improve and grow JSOM. Beta Alpha Psi is an honors organization that promotes the development of professionalism and philanthropy. Our organization has grown into one of the largest chapters in the nation, and our team hopes to continue that growth next year.

Commitment is about dedication. We all demonstrate our dedication by sitting here today. Just think about all this time we have spent to be able to walk across this stage. The hours we spent in class, the hours we spent studying, the hours we spent looking for parking are all hours we will never get back, but are hours well spent to call ourselves alumni of UT Dallas. Commitment is also about loyalty and giving back to the institution that has molded us into the graduates we are today.

Whether you are starting a new career in the professional world or returning here as a graduate student in two short weeks, like me, remember the journey and people it took to get here. We can confidently say we wouldn’t be here without our supportive professors, who have each demonstrated the kind of professionals we want to be. They are all role models whose knowledge and life experiences help set the example of what it means to be a JSOM graduate.

Lastly, we are immeasurably thankful for our fellow students and the irreplaceable friends made here. In our last years on campus, we witnessed the different countries, beliefs and cultures and were blown away by how we all somehow cohesively fit together on campus. Our unique university that is known for its nationally accomplished chess team also has one of the largest athletic departments in the American Southwest Conference. There are students who grew up 8,000 miles away yet sat right next to us in class. We have all somehow contributed to each other’s experience here, and I am truly honored to celebrate our accomplishments today.

Congratulations, Class of 2016. Let’s go make our school proud!

Malicka Modgil graduated magna cum laude with a degree in accounting and finance. After graduation, she will pursue an MS in accounting and an MBA at UT Dallas while serving as president of Beta Alpha Psi. She also will begin work at BDO as an audit associate.