UT Dallas

Glimpse of Graduation, Spring 2019

Photo of Weston Tuttle
View More Tevin Edney Bonnie Helm
Brian Hoang
Aminah I. Khan
Ashton Rel
Zehra Rizvi
Emily Stinnett
Pranav Thanki
Weston Tuttle
Christian Vieira

Weston Tuttle

Bachelor of Science, Global Business

Thank you all for being here today.

Today is a day of great pride and recognition of this monumental milestone in our life. Today the sun will set on our horizon, but tomorrow it will dawn a new era. I want to say that it only gets easier from here, but we all know that’s not true.

Do you remember, when we were in the third grade, running around the playground at recess? And then feeling the warmth of the sunshine on our faces as we sat in class, daydreaming about what life was going to be like when we were older?

Inevitably, an adult close by would be able to read our minds and tell us never to wish to grow up but to enjoy being a kid. There is a sweet naivety in being a child that is lost as we age.

“Class of 2019, that is what I encourage and inspire you with today. That in times that are hard, we can speak words of comfort. In confusing situations, we can speak clearly. In the wakes of tomorrow’s tempest, we could command our sails because, no matter where life will take us, we can choose to change our disposition with the words in which we speak.”

While this is an exhilarating day for all of us here, May 14, 2019, is also a very bittersweet one for some.

Today is a day I have dreamt of, believe it or not, since the third grade. I am the first of the children and grandchildren to graduate with a four-year degree — that would be even more impressive if I had more than two siblings and one cousin. And everybody I wanted at my graduation is here, with the exception of one specific person I cherish deeply.

Sept. 9, 2017, when I was a junior at UT Dallas, my Momma passed away. I took three weeks off from school, as I had arranged with my professors as soon as I found out my mom, a 12-year ovarian cancer patient, decided to quit treatment and call in hospice. You have never met anyone so joyous, courageous, sassy and classy than my Momma. She was the softest, sweetest, prettiest, most Southern thing your eyes could behold. Beyond all of that, she was filled with the most incredible motherly wisdom anyone could dream of possessing.

Today, as we graduate, I would like to leave you with some wisdom my sweet Momma gave my sister, my brother and me.

The first is that there is always a positive side to every situation — you just have to see the good. As we move on from this day, our lives will be filled with uncertainty. Positivity gives you certainty in uncertain situations because it expands the way you think. Cancer is an aggressive enemy. It disrupted our family vacations. It took away all the money my parents set aside for college. Wiped out almost everything we owned, but there was a positive side. It forced us to be intentional with one another and cherish every moment together. We never hung up the phone or left the house without saying “I love you,” because we never knew when it would be our last. That reminds me, Dad, Gentry and Payton, I love you.

The second guidance of wisdom my Momma passed on to us, was to see things from other people’s perspectives. What we need to bring in every aspect of our lives is the ability to view and understand from a varying perspective. It is Aristotle who said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Look around this room. At this graduation, are we not a collective body of educated minds? Are we not to be thinking and understanding in a way that is abnormal to our nature? Thinking with an opposing mind does not mean you have to accept their thoughts or conclusions as your own, but we can never understand someone as an individual unless we allow ourselves to think like them.

One of the last nuggets of wisdom my Momma gave us was the moment when we found out her cancer had spread to her brain. This is what she said: “It is our attitude toward a problem that determines our outcome.” I don’t know what challenges we will be faced with as we graduate and move into our careers, but I know this — our attitude toward a problem is what determines our outcome. We could, in the case of my family, accept cancer as a reality and live every day waiting for my Momma to die; or we could “get happy in the same breath we got mad in,” another one of Momma’s sayings, and see the bright side of another day, seek to further understand and change our attitude by speaking life into our darkest days.

Class of 2019, that is what I encourage and inspire you with today. That in times that are hard, we can speak words of comfort. In confusing situations, we can speak clearly. In the wake of tomorrow’s tempest, we could command our sails because, no matter where life will take us, we can choose to change our disposition with the words in which we speak.

So always remember and never forget:

1. There is always a positive side to every situation — you just have to see the good.

2. See things from other people’s perspectives.

3. It is our attitude toward a problem that determines our outcome.

Thank you and congratulations!


Weston Tuttle is graduating with a bachelor's degree in global business and a concentration in supply chain management. A transfer student from Collin College, he was on the winning team of the Naveen Jindal School of Management’s 2017 Businesses Give Back competition. He presented academic research on cloud-based computing systems and cyberterrorism at Oxford University last year. His research paper examining the effects of censorship on human behavior will be presented at Harvard University this year through the International Journal of Arts & Sciences.

 

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