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Christian Filsouf

Bachelor of Science, Business Administration

I recall my first day of classes here at the Naveen Jindal School of Management. As I shuffled through the halls anxiously looking for my first class, I accidently bumped into a gentleman and dropped the stack of books I was carrying. He kindly helped me collect my things, pointed me in the direction of my class, gave me a pat on the back and wished me good luck. I remember thinking, “What a nice man helping me out. That was really kind of him, but he seems a bit dressy for someone on the first day.” I later found out that man’s name was Dr. Hasan Pirkul, and he was the dean of the school. I felt as though I had met Elvis Presley, and that energy stuck with me for the rest of that week.

"My friends, as we move on with our lives, be it in a career or in graduate school, let us strive to make waves. We all have been comets in this galaxy we call UT Dallas, we have been transformed, molded and bettered by it."

 I arrived at UTD in the fall of 2015 as a transfer student from Amarillo, Texas, which is about five hours away in the far-off, magical land of West Texas for those of you who are unfamiliar. I arrived wide-eyed and ready to learn. However, I had an enormous feeling in the pit of my stomach. Perhaps it was a feeling of anxiety, living away from my parents for the first time. Perhaps it was an enormous feeling of responsibility in preparing myself for the future. Perhaps it was my sheer fear when I saw Temoc for the first time.

Whatever that gut feeling was, I'm sure many of you have felt the same. Perhaps it was your first time being away from your families. Perhaps you came here from a different city, a different state or even a different country. Perhaps you were returning from the workforce, eager to better yourself and prepare for a brighter future. Maybe you're a road warrior making the brave commute across DFW traffic. Whatever your circumstance, you decided to call UTD home.

I recall a quote from my orientation that has resonated with me my whole time here at UTD. The Student Government president read us a quote from the philosopher Alan Watts, which stated: “You are a function of what the whole galaxy is doing, the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.” My friends, as we move on with our lives, be it in a career or in graduate school, let us strive to make waves. We all have been comets in this galaxy we call UT Dallas. We have been transformed, molded and bettered by it. From conversations with our professors, activities with our organizations, bonding time with our friends and classmates and studying in the McDermott Library, we have prepared ourselves for the universe, which lies ahead.

 Looking ahead, there’s another quote that I find just as empowering: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi lived by this quote. This man of humble beginnings empowered a nation, and continues to inspire millions long after his death.  Each one of us holds a similar power. It matters not where we come from; what matters is where we are going. If we all seek to do our best, to live our lives as a reflection of what is important to us, then we can all achieve greatness. Each one of us has already done so. In the past four years, UT Dallas has achieved massive growth and recognition. The Jindal School of Management continues to rank among the top business schools in the country, and it all stems from the work of our faculty and the achievement of our student body. In fact, JSOM ranks fifth in the top business schools worldwide, and you all here today have made it the great institution that it is. In this tremendous period of growth for our campus, it has been an exciting period to be a Comet. As our school grows, so does our name recognition, and our campus pride — a pride that we will carry with us the rest of our lives. We have many to thank for building such a terrific school — Dr. Benson, Provost Musselman, Dean Blanchard, Dr. Powell and Dean Pirkul. Thank you for your leadership and making this journey happen for all of us. On a personal note, I’d like to thank Dr. Monica Brussolo for being another mother to me as I’ve lived away from home these past few years, and my parents for immigrating to this country to give my sister and me a brighter future. Ultimately as we walk across the stage today let us bear in mind the people who have helped us get here today. We’ve all surely made our loved ones proud.

Thusly, as we venture forth into a new chapter of our lives, let us hold on to what make us Comets. Whenever you arrive at your next destination, be it your dream company, your first class of grad school, or that very well-deserved vacation, remember your time here at UT Dallas — and give it a big Whoosh!

Christian Filsouf graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He plans to finish his MBA, attend law school, work in corporate law, and eventually become a congressman.