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BIMS Graduation Highlighted by Student Speaker, Singer

Posted May 22, 2017

BIMSgraduationThe Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVM) 277 graduates were treated to inspiring words by a classmate and entertained by another classmate during their commencement exercises on May 11, at Reed Arena.

Joel White—Aggie graduate, a Singing Cadets alumnus, and son of professor & Tom and Joan Read Chair in Veterinary Surgery in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Services Sharon Kerwin—opened the ceremony with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. Kerwin will attend veterinary school in the CVM beginning this fall.

Class speaker Francis Mtuke offered a reminder to the 258 biomedical sciences and 19 university studies with a veterinary medicine concentration degree candidates of the journey they have made and the one yet to come as he shared his personal story.

“I am not one to usually get too overwhelmed with emotion, but as I look out at my fellow classmates, I am reminded that I—like many of you—am not supposed to be here,” Mtuke said.

A native of Africa, Mtuke recounted the chance taken by his mother—a woman humble in both attitude and size, standing at 5’2” tall—in leaving their small Zimbabwe home nearly 20 years ago and venturing to America.


Dr. Elizabeth Crouch and Joel White

“She took a chance in order to realize the dreams that she had for a 3-year-old boy she called her own,” Mtuke said. “This 9,000-mile leap of faith lead her on a path which would see her advance from working as a nanny, to the fast food circuit, all while progressing toward a nursing degree, a degree she would attain and which would set ablaze a fire inside that boy to reach for his own dreams—a fire which I have been fortunate enough to see time and time again in the eyes of the graduates that fill the very seats of this arena.

“She shared with me not only unquantifiable love, but she also shared with me an underlying faith in the possibilities of this country and, four years ago, in the possibilities of this university,” he continued.

As graduates, their A&M experiences—accentuated by “the most inspirational and influential people” the students “have had the privilege to meet”—will carry forth in the possibilities of the new journeys that lie ahead, Mtuke said.

“For those of you who are uncertain about your job prospects moving forward, let me be the first to tell you that you are in high demand; in fact, you could be employed as early as tomorrow,” he said. “Thanks to the Texas A&M experience, we leave here tonight as leaders and journey out to a world in that is in dire need of just that.”

He also reminded his peers that their duty as Aggie alumni include representing the Texas A&M virtues and serving as life-long ambassadors of the university. They can do that, he said, by dreaming big.

“Fear will undoubtedly be a player in each and every one of our lives, but, fortunately, we have the ability to decide how much. So do not disguise fear beneath the veil of practicality. And do not seek to avoid failure, but rather seek to attain victory. Do not downgrade your dreams to match your reality, but, instead, upgrade your belief to match your vision,” Mtuke said. “Inspire others through your effort and let your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears. Some of your biggest accomplishments will come without glory and recognition, so seek rather to be of value than to simply be successful. And above all else, maintain positivity.”

His speech touched not only his peers and their guests but also the faculty and administration.

“Francis represented the CVM so beautifully with his words and heart,” said Elizabeth Crouch, CVM assistant dean of undergraduate education.

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