Graduates Asked to Honor Change Agents, Encouraged to Dream

Published: May 12, 2014
There were 1, 163 degree candidates at the University’s 138th commencement on May 10.
There were 1, 163 degree candidates at the University’s 138th commencement on May 10.
There were 207 master’s candidates with 91 receiving MBAs.
There were 207 master’s candidates with 91 receiving MBAs.
The top 3 most popular undergraduate majors were criminology, communication and marketing (two-way tie for second place), and sport management.
The top 3 most popular undergraduate majors were criminology, communication and marketing (two-way tie for second place), and sport management.

In Their Own Words: Social Media

When William Sandoval ’14 received his diploma Saturday, he was the first member of his family to graduate from a university. And he didn’t just succeed academically. Sandoval left a mark — as president of Student Productions, the recipient of a 2014 Spartan Award for his engagement and leadership, as a residence hall head resident, as a Diplomat and as the 2013-2014 Outstanding Student Leader. He was chosen to give Saturday’s Senior Challenge.


“Though we are all very diverse in regards to our beliefs, culture, opinions and life goals, we all share the commonality of having been impacted by change agents who have made our lives a little bit better than they were before,” said Sandoval, who gave credit to his mother as his change agent. “She inspires me daily for she immigrated to the U.S. at a young age in hopes of providing her children with opportunities and resources far beyond her own reach.”

Sandoval, a management major from Mount Kisco, NY, was one of the 1, 163 degree candidates at the University’s 138th commencement on May 10. He received his diploma having already accepted a job overseeing the day-to-day operations of multimillion dollar AT&T retail stores. He leaves June 5 for the AT&T Retail Leadership Development Program.

Ariel Acosta-Rubio, a member of UT’s class of 1984 and founder and CEO of CHURROMANIA®, is considered one of the preeminent thought leaders on Hispanic entrepreneurship. He gave Saturday’s address and was presented with the UT National Alumni Association Alumni Achievement Award.

It was a special occasion for him, not just because of the invitation to give the commencement address, but because he missed his own graduation ceremony so he could start working. Acosta-Rubio was an international student when he came to UT from Venezuela, who had very little spoken or written English skills. But he wanted the crowd to remember his advice, not that he was finally wearing his own cap and gown.

“You will fail and likely hit rock bottom,” he said. “When you fail, you may discover a hidden skill inside you that will make you more resilient, resourceful and a stronger person.”

Acosta-Rubio’s failure was just a bump in the road. He now owns 140 CHURROMANIA stores in seven countries and in more than 50 cities around the world. So his second lesson? Dream.

“We used the power of visualization to imagine and to dream our future,” said Acosta-Rubio, who opened his headquarters in South Florida on a street where, unemployed, he used to look for work himself. “We keep dreaming and believing in what’s to come.”

Acosta-Rubio said the third lesson is to seek balance through partnering with the right individuals who will help execute your dreams.

“My dear Spartans, it is you who now have the opportunity to shape the future and provide growth for your communities and your countries,” Acosta-Rubio said. “You are responsible for living your dream and becoming the leaders of today and tomorrow.

UT Graduates by the Numbers:

Total graduates = 1,163
Countries represented = 66
% of graduates from Florida = 43

Undergraduates:
Total bachelor’s degree candidates = 956
Summa cum laude (GPA 4.0) = 6 (University record)
Magna cum laude (GPA 3.75 or higher, but less than 4.0) = 83
Cum laude (GPA 3.5 or higher, but less than 3.75) = 143
Top 3 most popular undergraduate majors in this class = criminology, communication and marketing (two-way tie for second place), sport management

Graduate Students:
Total master’s candidates = 207
With honors (GPA 3.9 or higher, but less than 4.0) = 6
With highest honors (GPA 4.0) = 5
MBAs awarded = 91