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Graduates Encouraged to Remain True to Themselves

Published: December 20, 2010
  View photos from commencement.

As more than 400 graduates in black robes and tassels dodged the raindrops on the way to the Bob Martinez Sports Center on Dec. 18, their friends and family could barely contain their excitement. The University of Tampa’s 129th commencement was a milestone for many that day.

“I’m sure you’ve dreamed about this moment for months, maybe years,” said Britt Shirley, professor of information and technology management and recipient of the Louise Loy Hunter Award. The award is given annually by its previous recipients to a UT professor for excellence in teaching and cumulative contributions in service and scholarship.

Shirley, who was introduced by Michael Seitzler ’10, told the Class of 2010 to keep their expectations high and search for their cultural match – a place where they can truly be themselves.

"If you get to do what you like, if you get to do it with people you enjoy working with, and if you are challenged on a continuous basis to improve yourself and those around you, you have found your cultural match,” Shirley said. “Make sure you always have the opportunity to be yourself.”

Noting that their diplomas signal entry into one of life’s stages, President Ronald L. Vaughn told the graduates he hoped their time at UT had instilled a sense of selflessness that links them to all of humanity. He also said he was proud of their choice to make education a priority.

“Education is our fundamental resource. We hope to ignite in you a hunger for constant learning,” Vaughn said. “Live to learn for the richness of life it will continue to bring.”

Ronald McClarin ’87, president of the National Alumni Association, presented Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor ’81 with the association’s Achievement Award and Elvira Pinto with the 2010 Service and Recognition Award.

Eugene McNichols, chairman of the Board of Trustees, encouraged the graduates to keep planning and dreaming. Commencement was just the starting line for their next achievement.

“All of us expect great things of you because you have proven your ability to persevere,” McNichols said.

Charu Bahl, an advertising and public relations major, gave the challenge to the graduating class. Bahl has been involved with Diversity Fellowship, the Indian Cultural Association and the Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Transsexual, Bisexual Alliance (GLTSBA). Last fall she became a member of the Resource Team for Faith, Values and Spirituality, which was formed to provide programming for the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values.

“Today is the stepping stone for our greatness,” Bahl said. “Embrace who you are, all your quirks and weirdness, because that’s what makes you great. Good luck, and stay fabulous, Class of 2010.”

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer

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