The University of North Texas at Dallas celebrated the accomplishments of more than 300 graduates Friday, December 16 at the fall commencement. Friends and family of the graduates packed the 4,500-seat auditorium at the Inspiring Body of Christ Church in Dallas in support of the students' efforts and great successes.

It was a night of collective accomplishment, as each graduate knew they had not achieved this milestone by themselves or for themselves. Sons and daughters walked the stage, many the first in their families to attend college. Mothers and fathers proudly received their diplomas, waving to their children who were cheering from their seats.  

Dr. Sheron C. Patterson, an author, celebrated orator, and trained pastor, addressed the more than 300 UNT Dallas graduates as the commencement speaker. She encouraged graduates to be relentless in their pursuit of success, regardless of the obstacles they may face. Maria Cardona-Brooks, a sociology major and UNT Dallas staff member, served as the student speaker and congratulated the students on never giving up on their dreams.

“You’ve sacrificed so much along the way,” Cardona-Brooks said.  “Sometimes you had to choose between buying books, and paying your electric bill. Other days you had to decide to go to your son’s soccer game, or stay late on campus for a study session. It’s been hard, but you kept going and never gave up. Congratulations, you did it!”

The ceremony was the university's largest commencement to date, with 73 students receiving master's degrees, and more than 270 undergraduates receiving degrees in business, education, human services, and liberal arts and sciences.

Photos from the Fall 2016 Commencement are available at https://untd.smugmug.com/16290-Fall-2016-Graduation/.