Commencement Address Spring 2019
I join in welcoming to UT Dallas all of our graduating students, my University colleagues — and most especially families and friends, including those who are watching online or via the Facebook livestream.
Commencement is one of the greatest rituals in American culture — connecting today’s graduates with those from years past.
As your UT Dallas hosts today, we are united to make this the kind of day that inspires fond memories.
You will find, as have those who graduated before you, that a degree from UT Dallas is a wonderful investment for the future.
In fact, when it comes to academic quality and best financial outcomes, the 2019 Forbes America’s Best Value Colleges rankings place UT Dallas as the top public university in Texas and 15th in the U.S., tied with the University of Virginia. Not bad company.
This spring, we will award 2,528 bachelor’s degrees and 1,878 master’s degrees. We also have certified 82 doctoral degrees and 10 audiology degrees.
We are holding 10 commencement ceremonies and one doctoral hooding ceremony over four days.
On a personal note, as a father, I have had the joy of watching all three of my children graduate from college.
And even though, through my job, I know a lot about college campuses, I haven’t experienced college in the same way that my children did — or that our graduates have while here.
Regardless of how involved a student is on campus, it is almost impossible to fully grasp the complete sweep of activities that occur in a typical day at UT Dallas.
From the serene quiet of early morning to the quickening pace throughout the day and early evening, and finally, to the quiet that comes as night falls.
Rather than try to describe what takes place in a 24-hour period, let me give you a glimpse. This is UT Dallas in its transition from dawn to dusk.
I love that video for its perspective. It beautifully portrays our lively campus.
Among all the moments of transition on a college campus, the most notable occurs on Commencement Day — when the students embark on the next phases of their journeys. And we get to celebrate with all of you.
Family and friends, I hope that you have spotted your student in the chairs. In a short time, they will cross this stage.
Each student whose name will be announced during this ceremony has achieved one of life’s great goals.
They have found support and encouragement — from those who have taught and guided them while here, and from family members and friends who made it all possible. To this dynamic graduating class, today marks a rite of passage. It is a public affirmation of your hard work and determination.
It is also a day when each of you earns a new title — you can proudly call yourself a graduate of UT Dallas.
That is an honor that you share with more than 112,000 alumni around the world.
No doubt, students, UT Dallas is a better place because you have been here.
- Along the way, you were inspired to:
- Volunteer in the community,
- Tutor schoolchildren and senior citizens, and
- Create solutions for global and local issues.
- In both the academic and athletic arenas, you competed throughout the state and across the country.
- Some of you pitched business ideas or challenged others in debate, chess tournaments or esports.
- Others creatively expressed yourselves through music, art, dance and performance.
- And just as importantly, you found ways to not only be a student but to be employees and employers.
- And some of you have arrived at this day as parents — or grandparents!
I applaud each and every one of you for navigating the rigors of academic life and for finding ways to connect with the world beyond our campus boundaries.
This mixture of learning and engagement does not end on Commencement Day. It is true that your college years can prepare you for a job, and no one does it better than UT Dallas.
More importantly, we have prepared you for a lifetime of learning and growth, and my wish is that this will be an enduring gift from UT Dallas.
So, in conclusion, congratulations, Comets!
We are proud of you.