May 9, 2018
Dear UT Community,
Today, the Main Mall is covered by a stage, scaffolding and bleachers for our university’s 135th Commencement Ceremony. This is a tradition at UT — a physical transformation of the campus as we prepare to honor students who have earned their degrees and are poised to begin the next phase of their lives. It’s all about celebrating the accomplishments of the newest graduates of The University of Texas at Austin. It’s one of my favorite times of year.
Within every UT student there is a passion for knowledge, creativity and giving back to society. You see this in graduates representing every major at UT. For example, you see it in the Department of Theatre and Dance, where students write, direct and lead their own performance productions. You see it in the College of Natural Sciences, where students in the Start-Up Science program learn how to apply science in the startup of new ventures. You see it in the McCombs School of Business, where students manage actual investments in real estate funds. And I could give examples from every school and college because this type of experiential learning and innovation is happening all across the Forty Acres.
And UT students are always giving back — supporting their friends and contributing to their community. We see this profoundly in the actions of the UT Class of 2018.
The Class of 2018 will leave a gift for future Longhorns. The funds raised for the class gift will support the Student Emergency Services Food Pantry, Interpersonal Violence Peer Supporters, and a Longhorn silhouette installed in the Student Activity Center to celebrate the Class of 2018.
During the past year, I’ve been fortunate to work with Student Government President Alejandrina Guzman and Vice President Micky Wolf, Senate of College Councils President Austin Reynolds and Vice President Lu Barraza, Graduate Student Assembly President Isabel Chou and many other student leaders. I have come to understand the perspectives of many students through their leadership.
We often talk about what UT students will do after graduation, in their lives and in their careers, but it’s equally important to recognize just how much they are doing right now. Their impact on the world is already visible.
So today, with finals beginning and commencement less than two weeks away, I want to say how proud I am of our students.
To all freshmen, sophomores, juniors, graduate students, and especially, to all of our graduating seniors, master’s, doctoral and professional school graduates, congratulations. And to all members of the UT community — students, faculty members and staff members — I wish you all the best as we complete the academic year, together.
Gregory L. Fenves