Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering
Distinguished faculty, staff, guests, family, friends and my fellow graduates: I'd like to thank you so much for the honor and privilege of delivering our class' commencement address. It is truly a deep honor to stand before you and represent the class of 2012 engineering graduates at The University of Texas at Dallas. First off, I'd like to thank all the parents and faculty members who have supported us the past several years.
It's been almost eight years since I first came to America, and it has been such an amazing journey. From a naïve boy standing in the Chicago O’Hare Airport, to a UT Dallas graduate fully prepared for the world ahead, I can still remember the day I was standing all alone in the airport trying to figure out what kind of food I could order given the limited English vocabulary I knew at the time. The only English word I felt comfortable speaking was “hot dog,” and although I wanted something more, I didn’t have the guts to order anything else. I lacked the courage to try something new. This was a time when I purposefully avoided taking advantage of the opportunities offered to me, because I did not yet have the confidence to say, “Yes.”
Graduates, we are still hungry, and we want to try something new. There are many opportunities, and some of us may be offered full-time positions, whereas some of us may want to pursue higher degrees in graduate school. Regardless of what we do after walking across this stage, we should say, “Yes,” to all opportunities we may have in the future. We have accomplished a lot in graduating from the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas, and we should all be proud of this. I am determined not to make the same mistake of just ordering a hot dog in the future. I never want to forgo any opportunities simply because I lack the courage to try something new. By remembering my personal experience in the Chicago O'Hare Airport, I must never forget that it takes a lot of courage to say, “Yes.” Yes is such a powerful word! It opens up new experiences and exciting new possibilities to everyone.
“Our time here at UT Dallas has been memorable because of both our failures and our successes. Because of all of the opportunities that we have been given at UT Dallas, we are now more prepared for the challenges we may face in the future.”
Graduation is also a powerful word. We, the class of 2012, are here today not just because we are finished with our college experience but because we now possess the courage to face all the challenges of a new life and a new set of circumstances. We all want to continue to grow, learn and become more successful.
Looking back over all the years at UT Dallas, sometimes we failed, but sometimes we were successful. However, our failures didn’t make our efforts useless, nor did our successes make our time any more valuable. Our time here at UT Dallas has been memorable because of both our failures and our successes. Because of all of the opportunities that we have been given at UT Dallas, we are now more prepared for the challenges we may face in the future.
I now know how easy it is for all of us to limit our possibilities by never taking a risk and only doing those things that we feel comfortable with. No matter how well we plan our lives, there are always going to be obstacles to overcome and new challenges to accept. I am thankful for the many people who have challenged me to overcome every obstacle and to reach for more than just what I could imagine.
We have all come a long way since we first began — not just those of us who are graduating here today, but all of those who have always been there for us along the way and will always be there for us in the future so that we can continue to say, “Yes,” to opportunities. For all of the faculty, friends and family and for all of us, I will always be grateful. Thank you.
Alex Chung graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. A graduate of Wichita Collegiate High School in Wichita, Kansas, he joined UT Dallas in August 2009 and received an Academic Excellence Distinction Scholarship. While at UT Dallas, he served as a volunteer coordinator of the Korean Undergraduate Student Association and managed volunteer efforts to teach math to underprivileged students at a Vietnamese community center. He also worked as a peer-led, team-learning leader and an engineering tutor at the UT Dallas’ Student Success Center. He has been on the Dean’s List several times. In addition to his classwork, he was an undergraduate intern at the Texas Analog Center of Excellence (TxACE) and participated in Dr. Bhaskar Banerjee's research group studying millimeter wave phased-array transmitter design. After graduation, he plans to pursue graduate degrees in electrical engineering with an emphasis in electronic circuits and systems.