On Friday, May 5th, the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin celebrated the graduating Class of 2023. This year’s graduation was a particularly special occasion as the school celebrated its 75th anniversary as well as its first graduating students in the new undergraduate Informatics major. Excited graduates, their families, faculty, staff, and friends of the iSchool gathered at the Lyndon B. Johnson Auditorium for the event, which was also live streamed on the iSchool’s website for guests who were unable to attend or preferred to watch virtually.
Live music provided by Central Texas Philharmonic accompanied the processional, led by Dr. John Robert Bautista, who served as marshal. Dean Eric T. Meyer provided opening remarks and congratulated students on their academic accomplishment, including an acknowledgement of first-generation graduates as well as the first Informatics students ever to be awarded a bachelor’s degree from the school. “We live in an information-centric world, and School of Information graduates are among the best-prepared to navigate within that world,” Dean Meyer said before introducing the guest speaker, Dr. Jonelle Bradshaw de Hernandez, a Research Assistant Professor at the School of Information and Executive Director of Foundation Relations at The University of Texas at Austin.
“Graduates, you will be the bridge between data science and the human, social and technology frameworks,” Dr. Bradshaw de Hernandez said. “Now more than ever, we will need people like you to speak effectively and often with others. These people are different from the disciplines which you hail. Celebrate that. Graduates, speak to the philosophers, the ethics folks, the neuroscientists, and the creative artists. Don’t forget the dancers and rocket scientists—sometimes they are one person. Walk in their shoes, or walk beside them, and sometimes pick them up and carry them. You hold the secret sauce: information, pure and simple. You speak multiple languages, science, math, art…you speak the language of humanity. And we need you to balance the rapidity of artificial intelligence with who we are as humans.” She also encouraged graduates to remember to put down the screen and live real life because even though things will move fast it’s important to enjoy the ride and get off occasionally to reflect.
Finally, all the graduating students in attendance were honored: 18 Informatics students, 127 MSIS students, 18 MSISP students, and three doctoral students. Congratulations to all our information graduates. Go forth and change the world!