Graduates Encouraged to Live Fearlessly

Published: May 10, 2010
While Rashid Skaf ’92 couldn’t remember who gave the commencement address at his graduation, he hoped graduates at UT’s 128th commencement would remember at least one thing he said at theirs.

“Live fearlessly and without regret,” said Skaf, the keynote speaker at the May 8 spring commencement.

Skaf, president and CEO of AMX, graduated from UT with a degree in management before receiving his MBA at the American Graduate School of International Management-Thunderbird (now the Thunderbird School of Global Management).

“Never let anyone else tell you what is possible or right,” Skaf continued. “Never compromise your true core beliefs or you’ll be lost. I believe everything is possible, even probable.”

Skaf spoke to more than 1,000 graduates and a crowd of families and friends at the St. Pete Times Forum, encouraging those in caps and gowns to “take risks, explore and challenge yourself, envision the possibilities and make them a reality.”

Eugene McNichols, chairman of the Board of Trustees, reminded the graduates to thank those who helped them get to commencement. He challenged them to verbally set a goal for their life’s purpose and to “make a permanent difference in this world.”

Quoting Henry Ford, McNichols said, “You don’t build a reputation on what you intend to do.”

“Today, Class of 2010, your intentions are reality,” McNichols said. “You are the reality show, and we’re filming it.”

Bryan Cormier ’10, of Fitchburg, MA, issued the student challenge. He told his peers that although it feels like the hard work is over, it’s not the time to rest.

“Today is the first step toward achieving your dreams,” said Cormier, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history. “Never under any circumstances surrender your aspirations.”

The class of 2010 wasn’t the only one honored on Saturday. Thomas Meachum ’81, MBA ’93 was awarded the 2009 Esse Quam Videri Award. Meachum has served on the board of directors for Tampa Alpha, UT’s local alumni chapter, since 1993 and has helped raise more than $200,000 for the University at various Tampa Alpha activities. He also helped found The Royal Krewe of Sparta Endowed Scholarship for student athletes.

April (Gillespie) Jones ’04 received the 2010 Young Alumnus Award. She has been on the National Alumni Association since shortly after graduation and is now the vice president of financial affairs for them.

To see highlights from the 128th commencement, visit our photo gallery. To see videos of what some graduates are doing with their diplomas, visit our Life After UT gallery.


Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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