Today's graduates have a world of opportunities before them and should not be afraid to take risks, said KRGV-TV anchorman Rick Diaz during commencement ceremonies May 13 at The University of Texas-Pan American.
Diaz was the keynote speaker during the 6 p.m. commencement for master's and doctoral degree recipients, which featured the first students to graduate with Master of Science degrees in social work and criminal justice and Master of Business Administration degrees for physicians. He also spoke at the 9 a.m. commencement for the College of Arts and Humanities, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and College of Health Sciences and Human Services.
"You are now a role model," Diaz told graduates. "You have set the standard. They say there are two things you should always fear – success … and failure. But really, when you think about it, you shouldn't fear either one.
"Once you go out in life and become a success, what a wonderful thing that will be. You can grow and grow. I say, why should you be afraid of that? And failure! Why should you fear failure? If you don't fail, it only tells me one thing: You are not trying!"
Citing the long and dedicated efforts of many pioneers – including the Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King and César Chavez – he urged the graduates to pursue challenges others might think are unreasonable.
"It is appropriate for those of you just getting out into the 'real world,' " said Diaz, who began his journalism career as a night photographer for KRGV-TV in 1967 while attending Pan American University. "And you want to make a difference. And you know what? You may be crazy enough to do it."
The former KRGV-TV news director recalled found memories of UT Pan American.
"I remember when I attended Pan American University. I probably sat in some of the same classrooms you did," Diaz reminisced. "My wife graduated from here. Both of my daughters graduated from here. It's a wonderful institution. It has helped so many people before us."
He also reminded graduates to credit parents and grandparents for their academic success.
"Don't ever forget your parents," he said. "Literally, because of them, you are here. Don't ever forget your grandparents, because your grandparents faced a tougher deal that what you have. They helped pave that part of the road for you."