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Published: December 16, 2022

Commencement Speeches Touch on Perseverance, Resilience and Empathy

Inexhaustible curiosity. Empathy. Problem-solving skills. These are the three qualities Kimberly Morris, assistant professor of health sciences and human performance, encouraged the December 2022 graduates of The University of Tampa to pursue in their future endeavors. 

Commencement speeches touch on perseverance, resilience and empathyThe 155th Commencement Ceremony took place Friday, Dec. 16, at the Florida State Fairgrounds, with 985 graduates. Photo by Edgly Marketing

The 155th Commencement Ceremony took place Friday, Dec. 16, at the Florida State Fairgrounds, with 985 graduates. 

“Try to understand the big picture from all sides,” Morris said. “As the old saying goes, you need to walk a mile in the other person's shoes. Then, don’t judge but have empathy.”

“Finally, with the knowledge of the big picture and with empathy, work on the fixes. Don’t just be a problem finder, but be a problem solver.”

Morris, who first came to the University in 1983 as the head athletic trainer, is the recipient of the 2021-2022 Louise Loy Hunter Award for Outstanding Faculty Member.

Morris was introduced by the Student Challenge speaker, Shelby Jackett ’22. 

Jackett spoke about loss, financial and mental health hurdles, and perseverance. 

Her challenge to the class of 2022 was to acknowledge the people who have supported and encouraged them during their time at UT and in life overall. 

“I challenge you to appreciate this community and their [contributions] to your successes,” she told the group.

Of the 985 graduates honored, 670 were bachelor’s degree candidates and 315 were graduate students. Nearly 60% of graduates were from Florida, and 15 countries were represented.

Morris emphasized the importance of persevering, which she said this generation has done while proving its resiliency. 

“I truly believe … you will be named our next great generation,” Morris told the crowd.

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