Thank You Speech to Family and Friends

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Good evening, and congratulations to the University of Houston NSM Class of 2019! It is so wonderful to be here in the Fertitta Center, surrounded by our friends, families, faculty, and so many others who have helped us achieve the degree we will receive today. Incredible amounts of dedication, hard work, and grit have led to this achievement, and we would not be here were it not for the constant support of our loved ones.

A few weeks ago, I read a joke that said, “Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, and I thought to myself, where the heck is the ceiling?” Although the joke was meant to be taken at face value, I started thinking about the ceilings we have experienced throughout our lives that block us from attaining our goals. We’ve struggled with family circumstances, finances, and numerous other challenges to obtaining a degree. Despite this, the University of Houston and our experiences here have constantly been lifting that ceiling for us to see and reach for the stars, or in this case, our future.

UH has made significant strides in improving academics, student opportunities, and research throughout our time here. We’ve witnessed the approval for a new medical school, unprecedented progress in the university’s billion-dollar ‘Here, We Go Campaign’, and huge advancements for student inclusion and advocacy initiated by truly supportive leadership.

However, the real raising of that ceiling has been accomplished by each and every one of the students sitting here today. So many of you have faced significant adversity and still pushed through to obtain your degree. While at UH, I’ve met single mothers, students working two or even three jobs to pay for their tuition while taking a full course load, veterans coming back to school so they can rejoin the workforce, and second-career adults changing their life paths. All of us have reached points during our time here when we have felt like quitting. I can remember long hours at the genetics laboratory, struggling to understand organic chemistry reactions, and sometimes feeling like giving up my entire degree plan just to get a good night’s rest.

Despite this, what has kept all of us going has been the compassion and commitment to sharing the knowledge which is so evident at this university. All of us have made our mark here, whether it is through mentoring programs like the Scholars Enrichment Program, student activism in the wake of national and international events, the sharing of discourse, or even participating in music and drama activities. One of the most vivid examples of this sharing of knowledge is the solar eclipse-viewing party hosted by the UH Department of Physics and the Astronomy Society back in the Fall of 2017. I remember walking by SR1 and SEC and seeing so many students, faculty and staff gathered on the lawn teaching one another about the eclipse and sharing viewing boxes and glasses. That day truly exemplifies what the University of Houston is all about. The diffusion of ideas and knowledge on the lawn that day was just one instance of the commitment and love for learning shared by so many students and faculty at UH.

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In addition to shared knowledge, we have been bonded by our shared experiences at UH, as we came together as Cougars and Houstonians to repair our city in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. We shared our commitment to improving the Houston community through many student volunteering groups, such as the Metropolitan Volunteer Program, Student Government Association, and numerous student organizations. We cheered for the amazing Cougar sports teams, including our Men’s Basketball team all the way to March Madness. (Ya woo, Cougar basketball!) We grew together over orientation activities, getting a feel for college life, late nights studying, and finally applying for graduate school or jobs as we approached the end of our time here at UH.

We are blessed to have received such tremendous mentorship from our professors and TAs, advisors, and staff. It is your commitment to our education that has helped us reach where we are today. I would like to take this moment to thank all of the professors, TAs, faculty, and advisors who went above and beyond to help us achieve our goals.

I would also like to recognize all the Spring 2019 NSM graduates. We did it. After all the hard work and times we felt like giving up, we stand today surrounded by our peers, families, and faculty, empowered to achieve our goals in the workforce and postgraduate education. I especially admire all of the students graduating with Master's and Doctorate degrees today. Through your hard work, you mentored and inspired us more than you know.

A last thank you goes out to our friends and family. Thank you for supporting us through all the challenges we faced, and for believing in us.

I encourage all of us to continue pushing that ceiling and reaching for the stars of our future. Keep cultivating the culture of shared knowledge and ideas that the University of Houston has instilled in us. Approach your career with both pragmatism and excitement. Be a positive influence in whatever career path you choose. And most of all, don’t forget the institution that helped get you there. Congratulations to the NSM Class of 2019, and Go Coogs!

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Thank You Speech to Family and Friends. (2023, August 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from
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