Every year on July 4th, we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America with barbecues, parties, food, parades, fireworks and other celebratory events. As we enjoy the company of friends and family we also remember all those who have served our nation so that we can continue to be “the land of the free”. Let us never forget that the freedoms we cherish as individuals, and as members of a public academic institution of higher education, were made possible by the sacrifices of others. This places on each of us, as members of the university community, a special responsibility to ensure free, yet respectful, discourse and the exchange of ideas, the sharing of knowledge, and the development of new knowledge that will benefit our community.
As we expand and grow and as our reputation as a national powerhouse keeps increasing we must continue to strengthen our ties with the communities we serve. What better way to celebrate being part of America’s Dream City than to take part the City of Arlington’s annual 4th of July Parade. This has always been a special event for Lisa and me – starting in 2013 when we first joined UTA and were honored to be Grand Marshalls along with AISD Superintendent Cavazos and TCC SE President Coppola. It is special not just because a significant portion of the two-mile route goes through our university enabling us to greet our students, staff and alumni who line the streets, but also because it gives us an opportunity to be a part of the community we serve, sharing in the celebration and building pride.
This year we had two floats and the university was well represented by our UTA Ambassadors, the Cheerleaders, the Dance Team, members of the Marching Band, the Wranglers, Mr. and Ms. UTA, EXCEL and leaders of Student Government. As usual, Blaze was a hit with the crowd. It was wonderful to see the pride with which our floats were greeted. We are the hometown university and it is always great to see people cheer us on, do enthusiastic “Mav Ups” and join in the fight song. My thanks to our police and staff who assist in the parade and work so hard enabling the rest of us to enjoy ourselves.