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College of Science celebrates Class of 2012 at ceremony
     
The College of Science welcomed its newest group of graduates and celebrated their achievements during the Spring 2012 Commencement ceremony on May 13 at College Park Center.

The college awarded nearly 400 degrees to doctoral, master's and bachelor's graduates. Overall, more than 4,400 students, the largest graduating class in UT Arlington history, participated in commencement weekend May 12-13.

After the processional of faculty and graduates into the arena, Dean Pamela Jansma opened the ceremony by welcoming the graduates and their families and friends. UT Arlington President James Spaniolo then addressed the graduates, urging them to make their mark on the world. In explaining UT Arlington's push to become a Tier I research university, he said all people have to do is look at the students gathered in the arena.

"Graduates, you are our future," he said. "It's about highly-educated, well-prepared graduates who will be our next generation of leaders, humanitarians, great thinkers and entrepreneurs. Graduates, the years you have spent at UT Arlington in the College of Science have been nothing short of remarkable. Together, we have experienced unprecedented growth and achievement, and that's exactly what I wish for all of you - a lifetime of success, happiness and dreams fulfilled."

Spaniolo praised the graduates for their patience and perseverance during their college careers and said it is those same traits which will be required once they leave UT Arlington.

"Stay connected with us, because we want a lifelong relationship with you. Remember this about your alma mater: First class, first tier, first class, first place, and number one in our hearts forever. Go Mavericks!"

Jansma then introduced the commencement speaker, Thaddeus Arroyo, a Distinguished Alumnus who earned a B.S. in Mathematics in 1986. Arroyo, the chief information officer of AT&T, shared some of the things he has learned in the quarter century since his own graduation.

"Your degree isn't the most important thing you'll take away as you start the next chapter of your life," he said. "For me, the most important thing you can take away from your college experience is a love for learning and a commitment to keep right on learning. I have to admit, when I was planning my career, I didn't have an end state in mind. But I did set out to continuously learn, to continuously improve, and that has served me well along the way. But it's even more important for you, because the pace of change is even faster now than it was 25 years ago. At that time, business cycles played out over decades; now those cycles roll through the marketplace in a few short years, and the pace is still accelerating."

Arroyo also said that it's not enough to have the ability to learn. He stressed that the graduates must have a passion, and must cultivate it. He said in addition to learning the latest technologies in a certain field, it's important to learn from those around you, to find mentors and to be open to learning from those you might be in a position to lead someday. He said has learned much from his employee teams over the years.

"They taught me an important lesson time and time again, and that is, I can't let my sense of what's possible ever limit theirs," he said. "That brings me to my next point: Don't let anybody place limits on what you believe is possible."
Arroyo, the son of an immigrant and the first generation in his family to go to college, said he owes much of his success to the respect for education and hard work instilled in him by his parents and the fact that they urged him to never impose limits on himself. He quoted Henry Ford when talking about belief in one's self.

"To borrow his words, 'When you're shaping your dreams, always think that you can, believe that you can.' Other people and circumstances may impose limits or obstacles, but never do it to yourself. And about those dreams - make them big and bold. At AT&T, we use two words to frame how we think about the future, and that's 'rethink possible.' I think those are two pretty good words to keep in the back of your minds as you approach your future. I have absolutely no doubt that future is very bright."

 
The scene inside College Park Center during the College of Science Spring 2012 Commencement ceremony on May 13.
UT Arlington President James Spaniolo, alumnus and guest speaker Thaddeus Arroyo and Dean Pamela Jansma following the ceremony.

Arroyo urged the graduates to learn constantly, to dream big, and to bring a spirit of innovation to all that they do. He said they should always be on the lookout for new and better ways to do things. He noted that doing so means taking risks, and doesn't assure that they won't fail at times.

"You have to be prepared to deal with failure; learn from it and keep going," he said. "As you do that, it helps to remember the words of one of the greatest innovators in history, Thomas Edison, when he said, 'I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won't work.'

"If you remember only one thing, I hope it's this: We live in a challenging time, but it's never the wrong time for the right dream pursued with passion. May your dreams be big and bold, and may you pursue them with passion. May those dreams make the world a better place and may they bring you great joy along the way."

After all of the doctoral, master's and bachelor's degrees had been awarded, a special presentation was made in honor of Kirk Austin Hensley, a College of Science student who died in March at age 21 and who would have received his B.S. in Biology degree at the ceremony. His degree was presented to his family, with his sister, April Hensley, accepting his diploma from Dean Jansma, to a standing ovation from the graduates, faculty and guests.

Jansma then officially proclaimed the graduates as alumni of UT Arlington, and asked them to move the tassels on their hats from the right side to the left, conferring their official status as graduates. Those with Maverick class rings were then asked to move the rings to face outward, in keeping with tradition. The graduates then marched out of the arena and into the next chapters in their lives.

Posted May 22, 2012

The University of Texas at Arlington  |  College of Science
Dean’s Office: Room 206, Life Science Building, 501 S. Nedderman Drive
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 19047 Arlington, TX 76019 Phone: 817-272-3491 Fax: 817-272-3511
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