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One Night in Asia Talent Showcase

November 2, 2015


Good evening and welcome to the One Night in Asia Talent Showcase, a highlight of Asian Heritage Month at the University of Texas at Arlington.  I’d like to begin by thanking the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the student leaders who worked very hard on organizing tonight’s program, as well as the many talented students who will be performing.  I’d also like to thank, and sympathize with, the talent judges – theirs will be a very difficult task given the high level of talent at UTA.

In a world where news almost weekly highlights conflicts between countries, races, and even communities it’s great to experience the environment at UTA where inclusion is the norm and we share in the celebration of diversity.  A lot has been made of our ranking as the fifth most diverse national university and yes that is something to be very proud of, but I’d like to focus on other aspects related to UTA today.

We are a community that draws students from the Metroplex, the state of Texas, the breadth of our nation, and from over 100 countries across the globe.  Each time I walk across campus I feel the same sense of energy as one does at a large international airport - people from all walks of life and points around the globe, moving with purpose toward their destinations and dreams. The diversity of our campus, the aspirational nature of our students, the drive of our faculty members, the spirited, hard-working, and dedicated manner in which we all pursue our individual and collective goals – I believe these are hallmarks of this institution.

But unlike the experience of a sole traveler in an international terminal, we at UTA are connected to one another. These connections form as we work side by side in labs and studios; as we take classes and study together; through friendships forged in student organizations; as we cheer on or participate in athletics; and as we plan and participate in programs such as this. This self-perpetuating combination of excellence and achievement – highly ranked academic programs attracting the best and brightest scholars – yields national and international accolades, which further accentuate UTA’s status as a preeminent place for intellectual pursuits and a driver of positive change – a model 21st century urban research university – a gateway to education for the globe.

Arts and culture are an inherent part of the soul of a community, and universities are ideal locations for celebrating the cultures of faraway places represented through their student ambassadors.  UTA has long had strong relations with the Asian continent, and it’s only fitting that today we celebrate one of the continents that serves as home to a large percentage of our international students. 

One Night in Asia – the title itself is enticing, bringing to mind the beauty and mystery of this vast continent, its amazing cultures and history, the legacy of art, the beautiful and rhythmic music, and the captivating dances.  One can almost imagine a glowing moon lighting up forests, expansive beaches, and sprawling cities.  It’s captivating and I’m looking forward to watching the different performances tonight transporting me to lands far away but reminding me that they are right here – in the form of our students. 

This is our community – this is the University of Texas at Arlington – diverse, inclusive, a university of IDEAS, and one that represents THE model 21st Century Urban Research University.  This is all due to you – our students.  Thank you for what you do every day to further our ideals and to ensure that we remember that while we are located in Arlington, Texas – we have Global Impact.

Thank you.