Current President's Site

Presidential Commencement Address - December 2015

Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, President ad interim

UT Dallas students about to enjoy your formal graduation ceremony: Congratulations! You have accomplished something deeply worthwhile.

We, your faculty and staff, are proud of you. I am certain that your families are very justly proud of you, and you should be proud of yourselves, for graduating from a University that sets very high and rigorous intellectual standards.

UT Dallas selectively admits students with the demonstrated potential to do great things. Our dedicated and our highly talented faculty help these students develop that potential. Probably they often demand that development. The environment of questing students and great faculty, interacting with each other in and out of the classroom, challenging each other, and inspiring each other, is the essence of quality education. In this environment, your years at UT Dallas have seen you increase your knowledge, deepen your understanding, and grow into wiser, more mature human beings. We are confident that your UT Dallas education has provided you with the foundation upon which you will fulfill your life's ambitions and dreams.

You, with your natural talents of brains, personality, character and your accumulated years of education, will be the most important determinant of your future success in life. But, still, it does not hurt to have a great nameplate on your vita. To be a graduate of a great university, a university that sets high standards for itself and its students, is a choice you made, and I think a wise one. You came to a great university. I am happy to tell you that you are leaving an even better university, one that has grown along with you, becoming better both in its substantive excellence and in the national and international recognition of that excellence. Our commitment to you as you graduate is that we, who you leave behind, will remain dedicated to continuing the work to make UT Dallas an ever greater and more widely acclaimed university. Our goal is that as you go through life, your statement "I graduated from UT Dallas" will resonate ever more strongly with colleagues, friends and people in positions of power.

During your years with us you have witnessed great advances in the purely material aspects of UT Dallas: the landscape, the new school of management building, the O'Donnell Building, the dorms and now the almost completed Bioengineering and Sciences Building. The new Callier Building and the addition to the Student Services Building, and the third parking garage are currently the latest culprits to blame for making it difficult to get from anywhere to anywhere on campus. Soon, we will start work in earnest on the new home for our alumni, a home that we hope you will visit often and for many, many years.

But of course, as much as beautiful and elegant grounds make us feel proud and happy, and as essential as it is to have good classrooms and laboratories in which to learn, study and work, the material aspects of a university are less important than are its people. The University is, fundamentally, its faculty and its graduates. It is as great as their accomplishments are great.

So how do we keep UT Dallas getting ever better and better known? It is a job for all of us. The administration will continue recruiting and hiring great faculty. These faculty will continue to strive to set ever higher marks for teaching and research. The University will do its best to tell that story to the world. But you graduates also must do your part. Live wonderful lives, do great things, make your mark on your world, and let the world know that you are a Comet. This year one of your fellow alums set a pretty high bar for you to emulate. Aziz Sancar, a 1977 UT Dallas doctoral graduate, won this year's Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

But, then, the sky is no limit for a Comet, is it?