1,565 Earn UT Dallas Diplomas in Fall Ceremonies

Student Speeches Emphasize Perseverance, Leadership in Everyday Life

Dec. 8, 2007

In formal ceremonies of pomp and circumstance, sprinkled with a few tears of joy, UT Dallas awarded approximately 1,565 degrees at its December graduation ceremonies.

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From the President:
Address by Dr. Daniel

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The Grads' Speeches

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87-year-old graduate
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Ceremonies were Friday and Saturday in the University’s Activity Center. UT Dallas granted 672 graduate and Ph.D. degrees and 893 undergraduate degrees. 

At UT Dallas, students compete to present the commencement address.  Selected by a committee of student peers and faculty, the candidates were judged on academic achievement, campus and community involvement and speech content. 

Speeches this year were given by four students: 

  • Leia Bell — receiving her cohort MBA from the School of Management
  • Shahina Shad — receiving a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Dianna Adams — with a Bachelor of Arts in literary studies from the School of Arts and Humanities
  • Scott Turbeville — obtaining a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the School of Management

 “Today is a momentous day for us as graduates,” Adams observed.  “Several good and even some bad choices have led us to this moment.  Holding a degree of completion says to the world, ‘I stayed on my chosen path and did not stray.’ ”

Shad agreed.

“I believe that an education, especially one from a prestigious institute of higher education such as The University of Texas at Dallas accomplishes much more,” Shad said in her address.  “It builds character — it refines and polishes the soul as well as the mind.  It teaches core values such as patience and perseverance.”

In her talk, graduate student Leia Bell reflected about the importance of being a good leader. 

“In the flurry of classes, exams and group projects, it’s easy to forget the important role of leadership in our daily lives,” Bell said.  “But it is my sincere hope that, as you leave the university, that you will put a few very basic leadership principles to work every day and that those principles will serve you well.”

UT Dallas President Dr. David E. Daniel also addressed students at each ceremony.  In his speech, Daniel noted that he was proud of the role that the University played in securing the future.

“The University of Texas at Dallas is a role model for what quality public higher education can be, Daniel said.  “This is public higher education at its best — quality plus access.”

Scott Turbeville likely summed up the thoughts of many attending his graduation ceremony when he talked about the independence his degree will allow. 

“A degree from this great University means we have a certain amount of freedom; we can choose a challenging path and never sacrifice our ambition, our goals, for security,” Turbeville said.  “It’s not important to know where we are going, or to have our entire lives mapped out.  Whether its graduate school, a career or starting a family, what is important is to keep challenging ourselves, never settling, never taking the easy way out.”

The largest of the University’s seven schools, the School of Management, awarded the most degrees at any of the four ceremonies with 643. 

Next were the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science with 256; the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences with 168; the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences with 135; the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics with 126; the School of Arts and Humanities with 119; and the School of General Studies with 118. 

The University holds two commencement ceremonies per year, in the spring and fall.  Since its founding in 1969, UT Dallas has awarded 61,062 degrees.  Graduate and professional degrees were awarded at 5 p.m. on Friday.  The undergraduate ceremonies took place at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Media contact: Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, [email protected]

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Helen Small, graduating at age 87, was praised by President David Daniel as "a unique and remarkable example of the value of lifelong learning."


Women graduating from UT Dallas

Since its founding in 1969, the university has granted 61,062 degrees.

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August 25, 2019