What Starts Here…

University of Texas Commencement

[May 14, 2024 – Blog] We have a slogan at the University of Texas that says: “What starts here changes the world.” Never have I felt that to be more true than when I spoke at the 2024 commencement ceremony. Over 10,000 brilliant students earned their undergraduate and graduate degrees this year. Their hard work and determination paid off. 

When other universities canceled or diminished their graduation activities, the University of Texas Board of Regents, President Jay Hartzell and the UT administration, boldly stepped up and said our commencement would go forward full throttle.

This is true leadership, in my opinion. When the detractors, naysayers and those with differing political opinions spoke out loudly, President Hartzell stood firm. Graduates, including those deemed as “Covid kids” who had their proms and high school graduations canceled, finally got their day at the University of Texas on May 11th. The celebration was epoch and historic. 

Being a leader isn’t easy and is not for everyone. My decisions were not always supported as I’ve led organizations over the years. However, my husband Lee would ask me, “what’s the right thing to do?” When I would answer, he would say, “go to right and stand there.” 

As President and Chairman of the Board of the Texas Exes, I was honored to speak at the Commencement Ceremony and be part of the impressive processional complete with the UT band and orchestra. It was a thrilling experience. It blew me away seeing over 50,000 students and families packed into Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium to celebrate a myriad of accomplishments. I hope my words encouraged them to literally go out and change the world.

Proud to be a Longhorn,

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Gay Gaddis
Founder. Author. Artist. Trailblazer.

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