Sen. Royce West, a visionary for UNT Dallas, congratulates our record-setting graduation class from his Austin office

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Senator Royce West UNT Dallas commencement

Texas Senator Royce West, whose vision for urban Dallas students to attain a quality and affordable education at a public university created UNT Dallas, was unable to attend our Spring Commencement last Friday due to legislative duties in Austin. However, Sen. West was certainly there in spirit, and in words, as Arthur Lumzy, UNT Dallas Director of Career Services, read his speech to our more than 500 graduates and an estimated 5,000 in attendance at the Inspiring Body of Christ Church.

Senator West has also put those words in a video message from his office in Austin. You can watch the video above, and read his remarks below. 

Good afternoon and welcome.

It is indeed a privilege and pleasure to commend and welcome the 2019 graduating class of the University of North Texas at Dallas, your families and friends, President Mong, regents, and the administration, faculty and staff. Graduates, this day, YOUR GRADUATION DAY, will have a phenomenal impact on your lives and the growth of UNT Dallas.

I'm so overwhelmed by this day, even though I can't physically be there with you. I'm in Austin, fighting the good fight for you and your families.

This day is a most auspicious day in the development of the University of North Texas at Dallas. 

You join 519 other spring graduates. Combined with the fall graduates, we celebrate more than 900 UNT Dallas graduates, the largest number ever.

Hey you, in the back texting, stop it. Pay attention to everything that goes on today, especially the message from my friend, Tom Joyner.

Remember, you will be marked a GRADUATE and much will be expected of you.

The kind of leadership that UNTD has cultivated and birthed in YOU is life changing.

Luke 12:48:4-6

From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked.

You have truly been given much:

An education,

An opportunity to succeed, 

A possibility to advance professionally, 

A chance to grow personally,

A responsibility to engage civically,

A calling that will allow you to help others, and

A commitment to be a part of God's will.

I recall sitting on a plane coming back from the Capitol during one of the many battles concerning Dallas' first public university, you see we didn't know which established university would work with us on this project.

I prayed a prayer and asked my God to allow me to be a part of His will and create a university for generations yet unborn.

You are the manifestation of that prayer. Congratulations to you for your hard work, tenacity and determination. And, thank you to those that supported you and made this day possible. To the children, parents, spouses, partners, siblings, family, friends, employers and co-workers of today's graduating class, THANK YOU!!!!!!!

You, as a UNTD graduate, must have vision. You must have determination. You must persevere -- particularly when times are tough. You must listen, evaluate, adapt and reevaluate.

The days ahead of you will not be easy. Your way will not be straight. Nor ... your experiences always pleasurable. But, be not discouraged because you have traveled the halls and classrooms of an institution of the highest educational caliber, created JUST for YOU, the University of North Texas at Dallas, home of the Trailblazers.

I look forward to witnessing your journeys forward and your successes.  Congratulations graduates. I'm so proud of YOU!