Graduation ceremonies, which celebrate all the hard work students have put forth during their time at UT Dallas, are also the time when a Comet becomes a proud UT Dallas alumnus. As first happened last fall, each of the University’s eight schools hosted their own ceremonies — 12 total, plus a doctoral hooding ceremony, presided over by their respective deans, on May 13, 16, 17, and 18. More than 3,700 students participated in the 12 school ceremonies and the doctoral hooding, which opened the commencement schedule on Friday, May 13th. A total of 2,933 bachelor’s, 1,100 master’s and 110 doctoral degrees were to be awarded. The Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science was pleased to announce a total of 1072 graduates who earned 816 bachelor’s degrees, 212 master’s degrees and 44 doctoral degrees in Spring 2022. Out of those, 483 bachelor’s degrees, 131 master’s degrees, and 14 doctoral degrees were awarded to Computers Science and Software Engineering majors.
Faculty, staff, graduates and their families began the festivities on May 13th with the doctoral hooding ceremony taking place at the Activity Center. Following the hooding ceremonies, Spring’22 graduates and their supporters were invited to the CS Department Graduation Luncheon. The CS Graduation Luncheon is a biannual tradition that honors the University’s newest CS/SE alumni and welcomes new graduates into the alumni community. It provides 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. The Spring’22 CS Graduation Luncheon featured inspirational speaker and UT Dallas Computer Science alumn, Dr. Timothy Rozario. Dr. Rozario is Head of AI Solutions Engineering at AItomatic in Mountain View, California. Dr. Rozario is a self-motivated and result-oriented data analyst with a focus on deep learning and AI in healthcare.
Dr. Rozario opened his speech by saying, “Now that you have graduated, the unfortunate but truly amazing thing about the next phase in your life is that you won’t have a scheduled core curriculum anymore to guide you through life, but now every decision that you make in your life from this point forward is going to be an elective. So, you owe it to yourself to become good at decision making and making wise choices.”
He continued on by saying, “If you haven’t been to the edge and stared into the abyss and come back from there, then how are you going to know what response you will have when life throws its challenges at you in different stages of your life and career because no matter what, life will do that. UT Dallas has given you the tools to go up against your challenges and overcome them. It is up to you to learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward and growing while on your journey through life.”
At the end of the speech Dr. Rozario told the graduates and their supporters, “One of the most important lessons I try to impart on people is to always try to start with an end in mind, always first define what that high level of purpose has to be for you. Ask yourself who are the most important people in your life, who has influenced you the most, who will be there for you in the end, and what will they say about you. Those questions will help you define those goals you are setting yourself up to achieve and then allow you to work backwards from there. When you reach life’s crossroads – of which there will be many – that you come across throughout your journey ask yourself “which path should I take?” Take the path that pushes you closer to your purpose and goals.”
The University of Texas at Dallas continued to celebrate the spring commencement ceremonies with a new twist for its most recent cohort of graduates. After listening to students’ opinions about school-based graduations, the University decided to hold a new inaugural graduation celebration called the “All-University Commencement” to honor graduates across all schools. The “All-University Commencement” is a grand processional open to all students graduating this Spring and those that graduated last Fall and summer. UT Dallas President Dr. Richard C. Benson presided over the inaugural All-University Commencement ceremony, which was held outdoors at the University Roundabout on Sunday, May 15th.
“The hallmark of the all-university commencement is the keynote address by a person of great distinction, and just such a person is with us tonight. … Mr. John Olajide,” said Benson, the Eugene McDermott Distinguished University Chair of Leadership. “Growing up in Nigeria, he proved to be a top student with great entrepreneurial instincts. And thanks to guidance from a family friend, he pursued an education in Texas at the greatest university for a young man with his talent — UT Dallas.”
Olajide BS’04 thanked the graduates for attending and encouraged them to move toward their goals and show up for others when they need help. “I knew I wanted to have a positive impact in the world, and I knew I couldn’t do it on my own,” he said. “We have to show up for others and know they’ll do the same for us when we need them.”
Olajide’s message reinforced the event’s theme — “Bright Futures Ahead” — by encouraging Comets to work through adversity and challenges. “There is no straight path to success, but maintaining a belief in yourself is critical, and staying strong through times of adversity is essential to whatever success that you seek,” said Olajide, CEO and founder of health care technology company Axxess, and co-chair of New Dimensions: The Campaign for UT Dallas.
“Life is about priorities, and you are all here because this celebration of your accomplishments is important to you, your loved ones and your university,” said Dr. Inga Musselman, UT Dallas provost, vice president for academic affairs and the Cecil H. Green Distinguished Chair of Academic Leadership.
During the graduation ceremony Dr. Stephanie Adams, Dean of the Erik Jonsson School, strongly encouraged students to continue along that path. She took note of the fact that many of the graduates completed half of their degree programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing that their resilience would continue to help them as they tackle challenges in their fields.
At the end of each commencement day, the graduates, along with their friends and families, were able to celebrate their achievements by participating in the University’s con-GRAD-ulations celebration on the Memories on the Mall outside the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center. This tradition honors the University’s newest alumni and gives graduates the opportunity to once again reflect upon their experiences at UT Dallas.
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 4,000 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,010 master’s students, 140 Ph.D. students, 52 tenure-track faculty members, and 42 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2021. 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.