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Graduates Encouraged to Live UT’s Motto of Substance over Superficiality

Published: May 13, 2019

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Paul Heth ’90 told the crowd gathered at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall on Saturday to strive for a life of substance, rather than a life of superficiality, citing UT’s school motto, Esse Quam Videri — “To Be, Rather than to Seem.”

“As I reflect upon my time on this campus, I realize we’ve all spent our formative years enlightened by an educational philosophy that encouraged us, first and foremost, to be good rather than to seem to be good,” said Heth, principal and CEO of Patton Media, non-executive chairman of Karo Film Holdings and managing general partner of Monumental Films, who gave the afternoon ceremony address. “I had no idea how much the ancient call of our school motto would inform my life. But it was the desire for authenticity — for genuine connection and continual improvement — that provided me the road map for cultivating a rewarding professional and personal life.”

May Commencement 2019
More than 1,400 students received their diplomas at UT’s 148th commencement on May 11 in two ceremonies.

More than 1,400 students received their diplomas at UT’s 148th commencement on May 11 in two ceremonies: the Sykes College of Business and College of Arts and Letters were in the morning, and the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education and College of Natural and Health Sciences were in the afternoon.

Heth spoke of his career path and lessons learned along the way, such as to “always remember to count your blessings — and give back when you can,” and to discover the common humanity in the world.

“That might be the most important lesson I’ve learned in my career and from my time as a student here at our beloved UT — the ability to make meaningful connections is the true definition of success,” Heth said.

Blaise Guerriero ’19, who gave the afternoon challenge, echoed Heth’s focus on finding commonality while also lifting up one another through struggles.

“The most important lesson that I have learned while at UT, so important that I have it tattooed on my ribs … is that you have to just keep swimming,” said Guerriero, referencing the movie Finding Nemo and the need for perseverance in good times and bad.

May Commencement 2019
The top 3 most popular undergraduate majors in this class are management, finance and marketing.

“The fact is, there’s a certain amount of dues-paying we all have to endure before we know enough to take flight and soar,” said the morning ceremony address speaker, Erica Shames ’78, president and founder of Susquehanna Life magazine.

Hard work is essential to success, as is failure, both of which students shouldn’t fear, she said.

Both Shames and Heth said being resilient, as well as compassionate, are key factors to success.

“As you leave your campus today to make your mark on the world, I would encourage you to keep your eyes open — keep your minds open — to all possibilities, even possibilities you can hardly conceive of today. It’s entirely likely that some of you will enjoy long and prosperous careers based on technologies that do not even exist today,” Heth said. “That’s because the world is changing all the time. Those changes will carry with them opportunity, and those opportunities will carry with them your best chance for a happy and productive life.”

May Commencement 2019
Between the two ceremonies, there are 1,255 bachelor’s degree candidates and 160 master’s degree candidates — 1,415 in all.

Adam Jones ’04, senior vice president of strategy and development for the Miami Marlins, received the 2019 Alumni Achievement Award, and James Meslener ’19 gave the morning challenge. See images and videos from the weekend’s events at