For those who could not attend the Spring 2016 UT Dallas Computer Science and Software Engineering Commencement Ceremonies on May 14th, software engineering student Izuchukwu “Izu” Elechi spoke at the first Jonsson School commencement ceremony on the 14th. Below is a transcript of his speech. (Congratulations Izu!)
First of all, before I begin, I would like to give a warm welcome to all of the students, faculty and staff who’ve made it this afternoon to be a part of this commencement ceremony and thank our friends and families from the UT Dallas community, the DFW community and beyond for being a part of this special day.
Thank you, and welcome to the commencement for the spring 2016 graduating class of The University of Texas at Dallas.
If there’s anything I’ve come to understand in my four years here at UT Dallas — and bear with me, I see the cliché already — it’s that the only thing that’s constant is change.
My time here at UT Dallas is rife with it, as I’m sure yours is as well — changing faces and friends, viewpoints and ideologies.
I can sincerely say I’m leaving UT Dallas quite a different person than I entered it, with more informed views and richer experiences to draw from that were shared with many of you out here today, through courses, through my involvement in organizations like the Association for Computing Machinery and through meeting with and working with such a diverse set of people day in and day out.
My involvement in the ACM, for example, has helped reshape how I view the importance of different viewpoints and backgrounds when coming together to effect change at scale, a lesson that’s going to stay with me.
Change, however, doesn’t stop here. It’s everywhere we look right now and happening in very real ways: changing political climates beyond what we viewed as possible, changing technologies reshaping how we interact with the world and people around us, changes in medicine, in how we conduct business and elsewhere.
And it happens whether we oppose it or not. But, it’s not a “thing that happens,” and we can’t view it that way. Change is our tool for how we’re going to shape our futures and the futures of those around us.
We can embrace change, whether personally or professionally, and direct it — by our effort — for our good and for the good of those around us by taking action where we want to see change.
We’ve seen it every day on campus here at UT Dallas, with students reshaping their schools, from the Naveen Jindal School of Management to the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, through incredible student organizations and initiatives.
But, let’s keep in mind that the mark the students of the Class of 2016 can make does not end at UT Dallas.
Let’s take another look at change in the industries around us. The world right now is ripe for us to change them — to move us forward.
Catch a flight and fly half the world’s circumference in any direction. It doesn’t matter what language is spoken, they all know these words: Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft.
There’s never been a better time to change the world, and there’s never been a class of people so large and so capable of doing it.
Go out there. Make things happen.
And, no matter what industry you’re going into, no matter what job you’ll hold, no matter what work or research you’ll do, do us all a favor:
Do work you’re proud of. Do work you’re passionate about. Leave the world a better place than you found it, no matter what the scale is.
In whatever you do, never be content with the way things are. That’s not progress. Leave your mark.
Thank you, and I look forward to seeing what you guys do out there.
Izuchukwu “Izu” Elechi graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in software engineering. He has served as president of the UT Dallas chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, president of TEDxUTD, on the board of HackUTD and on the ECS Student Advisory Council. He has also been a member of the Entrepreneurship Club, the UX Club and Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, Iota Omega chapter. After graduation, he plans to intern for the summer as a mobile interface designer at MailChimp and intends to continue his studies in human-computer interaction.
ABOUT THE UT DALLAS COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 1,600 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1,100 master’s students, 160 PhD students, and 80 faculty members, as of Fall 2015. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.