UNT Dallas is growing in myriad ways, from its student body to number of degree plans offered to the campus itself. At Thursday's Convocation, another new measure of growth took hold -- the start of a Trailblazer tradition.
At the end of convocation, the first one held in the newly opened Student Center, the first-year students in attendance rose in unison, each holding a light in the shape of a candle. As the overhead chandeliers inside Campus Hall dimmed, Provost Stewart, standing at the podium, led the students in the Light of Learning Ceremony Pledge:
Provost: As we begin this journey together, we pledge to support the mission of UNT Dallas.
Class: We pledge to support empowering students, transforming lives and strengthening our communities.
Provost: As we begin our journey together, we pledge to commit ourselves to the university's vision.
Class: We commit ourselves to follow the pathway of learning that leads to social mobility.
Provost: As we begin our journey together, we pledge to support the university's CRED program.
Class: Through our studies and actions, we pledge to support the university's Career Readiness Educated Program.
Provost: As we begin or journey, we pledge to become in word, deed and action, UNT Dallas Trailblazers.
Class: We commit ourselves through study, dedication, service and leadership to become Trailblazers for UNTD and our communities.
Provost: Now in unison, let us pledge together:
Unison: By the sharing of the light of learning, we commit ourselves to seek knowledge in pursuit of the common good of humanity.
Prior to the ceremony, UNT Dallas Student Government Association President Monty Grant Jr., welcomed the Class of 2022 and introduced UNT Dallas President Bob Mong. Up next was the anticipated guest speaker, Karla Garcia. Garcia, 23, offered an impassioned speech to the students, telling them about her own life as the daughter of hard-working Mexican immigrants, and growing up faced with challenges in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas. Garcia graduated just a year ago from the University of North Carolina, and returned home to Dallas determined to uplift the community where she grew up.
She now works for Dallas County Promise, helping local high school students commit to attending college, and she ran for and won a seat on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees. She implored the students seated before her to reach for the stars, to not limit the scope of their dreams and to dedicate themselves to not helping improve the communities where they grew up to help future generations rise to the challenge of creating a better, more prosperous life for all.