New Grads Challenged to Make a Positive Impact

Published: May 7, 2012
More than 1,200 students became graduates at the 132nd commencement of The University of Tampa.
More than 1,200 students became graduates at the 132nd commencement of The University of Tampa.
The top three most popular undergraduate majors in this class are management, communication and marketing.
The top three most popular undergraduate majors in this class are management, communication and marketing.
Of the 1,217 graduates, 46.9 percent were from Florida.
Of the 1,217 graduates, 46.9 percent were from Florida.

 

Photo Gallery of 2012 May Commencement 

The lines of soon-to-be University of Tampa graduates couldn’t stand still. Their excitement was palpable as they waited for the start of the 2012 May Commencement at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on May 6.

As the music started, it took no more than four beats for the students to stand a little straighter and embrace the magnitude of their achievement. During the processional, eager faces scanned the crowd for family and friends who were bubbling with joy, waving fanatically in the hopes of eye contact to share in what they must be feeling — pride, relief and amazement at this life milestone.

“We cannot become humbled with our latest achievements,” said Kelsey Thomas ’12, who gave the challenge. “The world is shifting at our feet, and we need to lead our lives with the notion that there is always more to do, always more to learn and always more to achieve.”

Thomas reminded her classmates that they all have the tools with this college degree to make a positive impact on the world.

“We have no excuses, and we must remember that we are not entitled to anything,” she said. “All of our successes will come from a combination and commitment to hard work, enthusiasm, earnestness, integrity and civility.”

A bouncing beach ball, caps that were bedazzled and glittered with Greek letters and graduate names, shoulders draped with home country flags and even one who was lifted onto the shoulders of his friends, were all clear signs that this 132nd commencement, the largest yet with more than 1,200 graduates, was a time to celebrate.

“This is a special day in so many ways, and certainly one of the most anticipated events of the year,” said President Ronald L. Vaughn. “You have worked hard, shaped your own identity and made lifetime friends from places close and far.”

Dennis Zank MBA’82, who gave the commencement address and was introduced by Carlos Salinas Zárate ’12, offered advice for succeeding with diploma in hand.

He suggested “success enhancers,” which included working hard, learning from mistakes and finding a balance between intellectual and social skills. He said a negative attitude, resistance to change and a lack of decision making will all work as “success killers.”

“There is no substitute for your hard work and persistence,” said Zank, chief operating officer of Raymond James Financial, who challenged the graduates to constantly refine and evolve. “You should do hones, self-assessment of your capabilities, and learn from your mistakes which are inevitable and unavoidable.”

Don DeFosset, chairman of the UT Board of Trustees, asked the graduates to remember what these four years have meant.

“We’ve provided a rich environment where you learned how to think, not what to think,” said DeFosset. “UT will always be a positive part of you.”


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