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From our Dean

Clark School Graduates,

We know that many of you feel understandably frustrated and disappointed: This isn’t how you expected your college, graduate, or postgraduate career to end. I realize that may not change your feelings but wanted to acknowledge that those feelings may exist. As President Pines said, “We know how important this time is for our winter graduates and their families, but our first responsibility must continue to be the health and well-being of our community.”

We at the Clark School are frustrated and disappointed, too, and wish we had a public health environment conducive to celebrating this incredible milestone in your life.

We recognize, however—and hope you recognize it, too—that while we lost a celebration to COVID, COVID can’t diminish what you’ve accomplished. Far from it.

I’m a first-generation college student, the son of a military veteran, proud of the service of my father, and the proud parent of two engineering students. I know how big a day this is for each of you.

I also know the world has a lot to ask of you:

  • How will we prepare ourselves for the next challenge that we will face?
  • How will we continue to provide the energy resources that we need for our nation in a way that also addresses climate change?
  • How will we harness the potential of AI and intelligent automated systems to improve transportation, manufacturing, and healthcare?
  • As we develop the solutions to these challenges, how do we ensure our solutions create equity across various communities?

Society wants and needs solutions to these challenges. If there’s anyone who can successfully answer the call, it’s Maryland engineers.

There’s greatness in this graduating class: I’ve seen it. We all have. The future of autonomy, energy, transportation, healthcare, quantum computing, and more is in this class. Anyone who can navigate the challenges you've faced and stay focused on impacting society is great—and that’s you.

From fighting climate change to confronting bias in engineering design, that’s what Terp engineers do. When the world looks for solutions, it goes to Maryland—and that means it goes to you.

We applaud you. For years, we’ve called you “students.” Not anymore. Now, we call you innovators, game-changers, and problem solvers. In addition, it’s our honor to call you alums of Maryland Engineering.

To the families and friends of today’s graduates: Earning a degree takes a team. Our graduates are undoubtedly the MVPs, but you played essential roles in the success of each graduate that we celebrate today. Thank you for supporting our Terp engineers.

To our graduates, we have one final assignment: Be Fearless. Advise governments. Shake up industries. Help people live safer, healthier, and longer lives. A. James Clark would often say, “As engineers, we are trained to solve problems [and] confront challenges, no matter how difficult.” That’s what I challenge all of you to do.

We are excited for your future and welcome you back at any time as part of our family of alums. Keep in touch and share your success, or help us with great programs like Engineers Without Borders, Women in Engineering, or the Center for Minorities in Science & Engineering.

Once again, congratulations. I wish you much success as you start the next phase of your journey. We’re excited to see what you do. Go Terps!

Samuel Graham, Jr. (he/him/his)
Dean and Nariman Farvardin Professor


From our Student Speaker

For every single one of us, the pandemic changed the course of our lives overnight. When we thought it was under control, it struck again. Over that time, many of us worked, studied, and struggled together each semester but no matter how difficult things got, we persevered.

I know we all have stories of immense sacrifices—but we did it. All of those late nights studying, early mornings in class, and hours upon hours reviewing faulty code just to realize you missed a semicolon has paid off.

Years ago, every single one of us took a leap of faith applying to the University of Maryland: a step toward an ambitious and bright future in engineering. As of today, we are the engineers we dreamed of becoming.

We are the future of engineering. No matter where life takes us, we need to remind ourselves that it takes one small step to change our future. Never stop dreaming because the possibilities of success are endless.

I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to share classrooms with you all. I wish you the very best on your future endeavors. Thank you and congratulations Class of 2021!

Jaser Attallah
Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering



Related Articles:
Olusola-Ajayi to Deliver Student Speech for Clark School Spring Commencement
Holland to Deliver Student Speech for Clark School Winter Commencement
Epps to Deliver Winter Commencement Speech
Alumnus Thomas Hicks to Serve as Commencement Speaker
Watch Stephens UMD Commencement Speech Online
Smile! Clark School Commencement to Stream Live
Lyles to Speak at Commencement
Tether to Speak at Commencement
Mardirossian to Speak at Commencement
Alumna Duong to Speak at Commencement

December 22, 2021


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