A Glimpse of Graduation

Dana Scott

Bachelor of Science, Political Science

It's hard to describe my excitement to have reached this point. Perhaps the only way to express it, is to reflect on how I came to be in a position to graduate from The University of Texas at Dallas. I would hazard a guess that the essential elements of my story will ring true for every one of my peers in their caps and gowns, waiting for my speech to be over so they can walk across the stage.

Profile Photo of Scott Dana

After I took two years off between high school and college, I was worried about going back to school. I ended up accepting admission to The University of Texas at Dallas without ever having seen the campus. It is possible that at that point it was a good thing, since you had to walk through the library to get from one side of the school to the other. But after a freshman year full of detours, the beauty of the campus was revealed. Greenery and grand new building facades stared back at students from the reflection pools that welcome visitors into the mall area. The longer I have been here, the more beautiful the campus has become, with no end to that in sight.

UT Dallas also accepted me sight unseen. I did not know one single person when I arrived here, but before I even finished moving into my apartment, I had been invited to a birthday party. On the bus to Comet Camp, I met someone who loves Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as much as I do. Before I finished my first semester, I had found people as passionate about swing dancing as I am. There are so many student organizations and such an amazing range of people here, it is impossible not to see your interests reflected on the faces of fellow students.

“There are so many student organizations and such an amazing range people here, it is impossible not to see your interests reflected on the faces of fellow students.”

It is not just the wonderful student body that welcomes newcomers to UT Dallas. The faculty, staff, and every representative of the University that I have encountered during my time at UT Dallas have contributed to my love of this school. Dr. Paul MacAlevey, a professor in physics, a department almost entirely foreign to my political science, never fails to call me by name and ask how my semester is going. Dr. Gregory Thielemann has a group of students that cannot wait to take a class with him every semester, myself included. It would take far longer than I have here on stage to list all the professors and University staff that have positively influenced my life here at UT Dallas. Yet, as I wrote this speech, I was grateful for the opportunity to reflect. I can only hope that I conveyed my appreciation of their kindness, expertise and time to each of them.

My experiences have not been unique. Every person I have met here has been similarly welcomed by the student body and faculty of the University.

I have never been fond of cliché endings to commencement speeches, but trying to write a speech without one has proved impossible for me. I hope you will all forgive me if I only slightly change a well-known phrase to wrap up my speech and my time here at UT Dallas.

Shoot for the stars — even if you miss, you’ll land among the Comets. Whoosh!


Dana Scott graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in creative writing. A native of New Mexico, she is a member of the Collegium V honors program and a recipient of an Academic Excellence Honors Scholarship. Among her many activities at UT Dallas, she was a member of Newman Catholic Ministry, the John Marshall Pre-Law Society and the 2011-2012 Intramural Championship team, The Brave Little Toasters. She has won multiple national awards as a member of the UT Dallas Mediation Team, and also performed as a swing dancer on the Dallas Swing Dance Society's ACME outreach performance team.