Nearly 2,800 students earned their UT Dallas degrees last fall. The largest-ever December cohort of graduates included 1,524 bachelor’s students and 1,189 master’s students. Seventy-one doctoral candidates were also certified. About 2,750 students participated in the commencement ceremonies, including some who earned their degrees over the past summer.
The formal recognition of the graduates began on Monday, December 17th, with the doctoral hooding ceremony. During this ceremony, faculty members and students dress in traditional academic regalia, with family members and friends in attendance. As each comes to the stage, the student’s advisor places the doctoral hood over the head of the graduate, signifying his or her successful completion of the doctoral program.
On Wednesday, December 19th, the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science held two commencement ceremonies to recognize the 680 expected graduates; this includes 364 computer science and software engineering students. In keeping with UT Dallas tradition, students delivered the commencement speeches at their respective commencement ceremonies. Jean-Pierre Salazar Lubo, a BS Software Engineering Graduate, gave the commencement speech for the Computer Science/Software Engineering commencement ceremony. You can read his speech here. UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson also addressed the graduates, their families, friends, and supporters.
Prior to the computer science and software engineering commencement ceremony, CS and SE family, friends and graduates were invited to attend the CS Department Graduation Luncheon. The CS Graduation Luncheon is a biannual tradition that honors the University’s newest CS/SE alumni and provides the new graduates with the opportunity to reflect on their time at UT Dallas while enjoying food and speeches given by UT Dallas alumni in the tech industry. During last fall’s graduation luncheon, Chander Dhall, an accomplished UT Dallas Computer Science alumni, CEO of Cazton, delivered an inspirational speech to the newly graduated cohort of CS/SE students and their family members.
Dhall’s life story interspersed with life lessons made for an inspiring luncheon presentation that was very well received. He traced his life story from childhood in the Himalayas of India through his education at UT Dallas where he got his masters in computer science and ultimately to his success as a businessman. Dhall has had many varied experiences that have informed his view of life and business, and the life lessons he imparted to current UT Dallas graduates comprised the basis of his presentation.
The speech to graduating students summarized Chander Dhall’s approach to life and business, starting with his early ventures into entrepreneurism selling crackers on the street to the present day where he is running his own company. He credits lessons learned from his grandfather and his father with the success he’s had through the years. His grandfather taught him the value of karma, the Hindu and Buddhist concept wherein the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. It was his grandfather’s decision to choose karma over money that proved to have the most value by far in the course of his family’s history through the difficult times associated with the partition of India. It was through his grandfather’s and father’s charity and “giving back” that ultimately brought the family happiness and prosperity. Dhall has lived by these values and has continued to value Karma over money.
His message and advice to the graduating students comprised of five key points: 1) Choose karma over money. He stressed the message from his father that “people shouldn’t do bad karma to create money. Money is ephemeral, but good karma can never be lost.” 2) Adversity brings the best out in people. Embrace it; adversity propels you to extend yourself beyond what you might have thought. Adversity forces you to work hard and leaves a lasting sense of humility. 3) Give back, and in the process, be honorable. Charity to others inevitably yields future dividends both quantifiable as well as unquantifiable. It is consistent with the notion of good karma. 4) Never follow money. Dhall shared experiences where his career path was not dictated by salary level, but rather by opportunity. In each instance, at each crossroad of his career, he chose to follow the path that experientially rather than financially made the most sense. Ultimately, doing the right thing dictated the preferred path. 5) Only start a business if you have real solutions that can help others. Hard work and being solution oriented are the key to success.
ABOUT CHANDER DHALL
Chander Dhall, CEO of Cazton, is an awarded Microsoft MVP, Google Developer Expert and world-renowned technology leader in architecting and implementing solutions. He’s not only rescued software development teams, but also implemented successful projects under tight deadlines and difficult business constraints. His company has a proven track record of not just saving the client millions of dollars, but also providing an expedited delivery time. Chander’s team of experts are internationally-acclaimed speakers in top technical conferences in the world.
As an Azure Advisor, ASP.NET Insider, Web API Advisor, Cosmos DB Advisor, and an MVP for Visual Studio and Development Technologies, Chander has insight into new releases on technologies used by millions of developers. His critical advice, impeccable vision, futuristic strategy backed with creating and establishing best practices in the industry are some of the reasons for his unparalleled success.
At the same time, he’s a voracious and highly-respected speaker. Chander is known to elucidate critical and complex concepts while making them easy to understand. He’s one man who can talk to anyone from a junior developer, a senior architect all the way to an executive and knows how to speak their language. He is the author of “Scalability Patterns” and “Building Single Page Application Using ASP.NET Core & Angular.” He has utilized his amazing business sense having started a company with zero funding and turned it into a multi-million-dollar company in less than two years.
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 2,800 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,000 master’s students, 190 Ph.D. students, 52 tenure-track faculty members, and 41 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2018. 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.