The University of North Texas at Dallas celebrated the commencement of approximately 375 students at its fall graduation ceremony Friday evening at the Inspiring Body of Christ Church.
UNT Dallas President Bob Mong, now in his fourth year leading extraordinary growth at the university, recognized this latest class of graduates for their hard work, excellence and resilience in pursuit of earning a college career at UNT Dallas.
For many in this class, as in the classes that preceded them, they are the first in their families to earn a college degree. And so, as has become tradition at UNT Dallas commencement ceremonies, the church’s large auditorium overflowed with thousands of friends, family members and well-wishers who came to support and cheer their graduates as they triumphantly walked across the stage.
“Such is the nature of UNT Dallas graduations. They are quite exciting,” Mong said. “Our momentum is very real as we come together to build DFW's emerging urban university. As a campus community, our growing university continues to enrich the lives of our students, strengthen our surrounding communities and improve society.”
Commencement keynote speaker, local businessman Roland Parrish, CEO and owner of Parrish Restaurants, Ltd, delivered an inspirational speech. Parrish earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Krannert School of Business at Purdue University, while lettering four years in track, and serving as team captain.
He spoke to the graduates about commitment and persistence in his own career, as he originally received a rejection letter as a franchisee applicant at McDonald’s only to now own more than two dozen stores in the Dallas area, with total revenues of more than $66 million annually.
Student speaker Tiara Burns addressed her classmates as they accomplish one goal and prepare for the next exciting chapter in their lives.
Friday’s graduation ceremony included summer and fall 2108 graduates.
“This is such a special night for our newest class of UNT Dallas graduates, and we are so proud of all of them for their commitment, dedication and perseverance to realize their goals,” said Dr. Betty Stewart, UNT Dallas Provost. “The smiles on their faces and on the faces of so many friends and family members who came to celebrate their achievement is the reason UNT Dallas is here.
“We congratulate all of our new graduates, and wish them the best of luck as they head into exciting careers or continue to further their education.”