2012 Graduates Challenged to Find Their Passion

Published: Dec 17, 2012
The ceremony included 445 graduates, including two associate’s degree candidates, 351 bachelor’s degree candidates and 92 master’s degree candidates.
The ceremony included 445 graduates, including two associate’s degree candidates, 351 bachelor’s degree candidates and 92 master’s degree candidates.

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Roger Trujillo ’12 looked out at the nearly 450 graduates at the Dec. 15 Winter Commencement ceremony and said he was proud to be part of the 1 percent – the 1 percent of the world population that has earned a degree.

“Thus, by walking down the aisle and receiving our respective diplomas, we now join an exclusive and selective clique,” said Trujillo, who received a bachelor’s degree in management. “Great responsibility has been placed upon us, but it is also a huge opportunity.”

The ceremony was held in the newly re-dedicated Bob Martinez Athletics Center for the 445 graduates, including two associate’s degree candidates, 351 bachelor’s degree candidates and 92 master’s degree candidates.

Trujillo, of Key Biscayne, FL, said that his brother, who has muscular dystrophy, teaches him on a daily basis to live life to the fullest. He challenged his classmates to do the same.

“I challenge you to be passionate; I challenge you to care; I challenge you to change if you are not happy; I challenge you to be ethical in an unethical world; I challenge you to always do your best,” he said, “but most importantly, I challenge you to find happiness and a reason to take pride in everything you do.”

Jenna Tinney ’12 of Naples, FL, and a communication major, introduced the speaker, Michael Staczar, chair of the Department of Speech, Theater and Dance and associate professor of theatre.

Staczar is the recipient of the 2011-2012 Louise Loy Hunter Award, which is given annually by its previous recipients to a UT professor for excellence in teaching and cumulative contributions in service and scholarship.

Staczar noted each graduate’s shoes are a reflection of individuality, much like the degrees each received on Saturday.

“Today, as I gaze out upon you all in your caps and gowns, each of you demonstrates you individuality publicly; and your shoes—not unlike your degree—demonstrates intimately the quality of your education—the uniqueness—you now possess as graduates of The University of Tampa,” Staczar said. “So whether you wear stiletto, or flip-flop, work boot or wing-tip, you possess the foundations of learning to take that next step on your educational or career path successfully.”

The National Alumni Association (NAA) gave two awards at the ceremony. The Alumni Achievement Award was presented to William E. “Bill” Carlson Jr., president of the national public relations and communications consulting firm Tucker/Hall. The Esse Quam Videri Award, the highest award given by the NAA to a graduate of UT, was presented to Robert C. “Bob” Calafell. Now retired, Calafell had a long and prolific career with the GTE Corporation.