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20 for '20 - Messages for the Class of 2020

Jindal School 20 for 20 program header image

The Class of 2020 has experienced a final semester unlike any other. The Naveen Jindal School’s Office of External Affairs and Alumni Relations offers these best wishes — sent by students, alumni, faculty and staff — in support of the newest Jindal School graduates.

Want to share some words of encouragement? Complete the JSOM 20 for ’20 form.

“‘It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’ – Invictus by William Ernest Henley”

Chee Liew

Quinn Love

“Even after graduation you will always have a family of UTD graduates cheering you on and wishing you much success!”

Quinn Love, BS’19

Vedehi Poddar

“Congratulations comets! We did it! I am so proud of our accomplishments. I hope everyone makes UTD proud :)”

Vedehi Poddar, BS’20

Harsh Gosar

“Embrace the uncomfortable feeling that comes with this time. Don’t be afraid to make new decision and try things out. If there was anything you didn’t like about your past few years, this is the perfect time to change it!

I love this quote by John C Maxwell. ‘Though you cannot go back and make a brand new start, my friend. Anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.’”

Harsh Gosar, BS’19

“Grow. Patience. Wonder. Fail. Ambition. This is your world but don’t forget to explore it. Try new things. Congrats.”

Armando Garza, BS’18

“Congratulations to UTD’s Class of 2020! You all have accomplished so many wonderful things!!! This next chapter of your life will only bring more amazing adventures, milestones and memories!”

Banu Shamsuddoja, UTD Student

Joe Warren

“Stay focused and hopeful because things will get better. Be safe, stay connected and never stop learning! Best wishes.”

Joe Warren, BS’11

Sachin Chindak

“Congratulations to all COMETS who are graduating this year. I know this is a tough time, as everyone will be thinking what will be our next steps, as there is a lot of volatility in the job market. But per my experience so far, it’s all about believing in yourself and being patient, and you will get there.


CLICK lot of PICS, ENJOY THIS MOMENT, as this time will never come back. Have Fun and ALL THE BEST with your Future Adventures!!!”

Sachin Chindak, MS’18

“You will never forget this memorable year. You will also get to participate in and lead the next decade through challenging and innovative times. Be bold, be creative and be hopeful for the future!”

Jason Pumpelly, MBA’97

Greg Taylor

“First of all, congratulations on this milestone in your life. You are graduating from a highly respected school, and this will give you a leg up on other graduates in the marketplace. Remember to always work hard, apply yourself, persevere in all you do and be kind to others. Represent UT Dallas well and you will go far in your career and most importantly in life!”

Greg Taylor, MBA’14

Ashrumala das

“I congratulate each one of you as what you have achieved is a big feat in itself regardless of the situation that has befallen not only you but the entire world. Keep the spirits up and lots of good wishes for the terrific adventurous journey ahead, which will have lots of bumps but even lots of great moments. :-)”

Ashrumala Das, MS’19

“In these uncharted times, we are at a new crossroads. The world has now changed forever. … This is a time to either succumb to fear of change and uncertainty, or to seize these days to rigorously persevere in your studies, in work and in life. The future is here, and you and we all are part of it. Look around and see where the opportunity lies. … It may not be where you thought it would be, and your path may deviate and change from where you wanted it to go. There may not be a normal to return to, as much as we would like. But one thing is certain: Those who continue to have hope, apply themselves, never give up and persevere through challenging times will come out on the other side stronger than before and well off for it! The future is here; keep your eyes open, and be part of it.”

Bil Disario, MBA’19

Vikrant Bachhav

“Many, many congratulations to the Class of 2020. Celebrate and cherish the moment. As you all are stepping into a world which is bit different as of now, keep up the good work. All Comets are rooting for you.

All the best!!”

Vikrant Bachhav, MS’17

“It is different this year due COVID, but it is not changing your talent and dedication. Every UTD graduate is UNIQUE in their own way, and nothing can stop them. … And no adverse situation will change this reality.

Way to go! Congrats, COMETS!”

Varsha Suman, MBA’12

Rashmi Varma

“Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2020!!

Even though you may find these special circumstances as you venture out on your own, into this world, please remember this: You have acquired a skill, namely, adaptability to change. And not just that — a rapid adaptability to change. This is the skill employers of today are looking for.

Transitioning online, juggling work and moving, that shift was not easy or comfortable at several levels. We were challenged, mentally, physically, emotionally and existentially. You came out with flying colors. So, toss those hats in the air and rejoice that you are the few who have experienced this important skill of ’adapting to change’ in a real way and that your brain and neural circuits will never be the same again after going through this. You have made a real break in your regular structure and habits and forced your neuro-balance to un-learn, re-learn and re-balance.


Rashmi Varma, JSOM Staff/Faculty

“Way to go, 2020! You’ve made it. Now use your knowledge to innovate, lead and better our world.”

Ryan McLaughlin, MBA’12

Shely Whiteside

“Class of 2020, you got this! You are smart, capable and resilient; and we’re all rooting for you to succeed!”

Shelby Whiteside, MS’16

“Congratulations. JSOM grads!

You are graduating in interesting times that require us all to dig in deep to identify our strengths and gifts, and apply those to benefit the greater good. You now have the tools to improve the lives of your community. Time to celebrate your achievement. Society needs your positive influence!”

Brian Hull, MBA’03

Corteney Wooten

“This is your story, write it for you!!! Always remember to allow your faith to be bigger than your fears.”

Corteney Wooten, BS’04, MBA’15

“Congratulations! Your degree does not automatically get you in some doors. You may have to network hard and smart to get in!”

Hai Schaeffer, BS’92

“The sakura blossomed so beautifully this season, and I believe it was for you. One big WHOOSH from Tokyo.”

Andrew Joseph Limas, BS’19

“Congratulation. Work hard and put your enthusiasm in your career.”

Tian-Hau Chung, MS’06

Nishi Shah

“Dear Comets, congratulations on your graduation! Although the pandemic has demanded lockdown, you’ll have unlocked the door to wonderful future endeavors. Keep chasing your dream with passion and there will never be a dull day. Best wishes!”

Nishi Shah, MS’19

“This is a unique opportunity to learn from this disruptive 2020. Things have changed, are changing and will change for the better. {For the] upcoming challenges in our lives, learn, involve, excel and have a story to tell! Good luck and congratulations, Class of 2020!”

Rahul Balmuri, MS’17

“It is very unfortunate that the graduates of 2020 need to go through so much difficulty with the hiring freeze by a lot of companies and minimal job opportunities. But I am pretty sure they got this! For all those who already landed a job, congratulations! For the rest, I shall pray for y’all!”

Prasanth Ramanathan, JSOM Student

“Congratulations on graduating!

Your future is very promising!

The course might be ending,

But never stop your learning!”

Shibashis Guha, MBA’19

Tanvi Gupta

“The world awaits your excellence more than ever before. Get going, apply the retrospect and make a better world. Whoosh!!”

Tanvi Gupta, MS’19

“Change is always an opportunity for someone. The key is to make it your opportunity.”

Samuel Perry, BS’82

“Don’t worry and don’t panic; you will get that job you have been looking for even during these very difficult times. Surround yourself with kind and smart people, and encourage each other. Learn to live with the bare minimum and have a minimalist approach toward life.

If it means you have to go halfway around the world to grab “success” and bring it to your life, be the first to go there.

”May all your good wishes come true.

Jalaledin Naderi, BS’89

“Wow! You made it. Thanks to COVID-19, it was a challenge. But you persevered. Congratulations! May all the marks you leave on the world be helpful, generous and kind.”

Jean Hoffeld, BS’81

Naveen Krishna Neelam

“Life has presented a unique and a difficult challenge, ahead of time in your careers. Your time at UT Dallas has equipped each of you to face it. It’s time to utilize your skill and knowledge to succeed and win this challenge that stands in front of you.

Congratulations and the very best for a bright future ahead of you.”

Naveen Krishna Neelam, MS’15

“Heya, guys!

Congratulations on earning your graduate/postgraduate degrees! I am incredibly proud of every single one of you for pushing through the toughest of times. Good luck for all your future endeavors! Lots of love!”

Aiswarya Rajnarain, MS’19

Melody Maleitzke

“You’ve worked diligently, carving your way in the world through perseverance and commanding respect for your accomplishments. Congratulations, UTD graduate!”

Melody Maleitzke, BS’97

“I view adaptability as key trait to a successful career. Whether it’s with changes in business models, customer segments, channels or value propositions, your ability to proactively adapt will determine your success. In that sense, the Class of 2020 starts off on the best footing ever. Tthe current pandemic requires gobs of adaptability, and I’m confident your time at JSOM and UTD have prepared you for this challenge. Wish you all the very best as you embark on a new phase in your lives, be it a career in business, nonprofit or academia!”

Samir Koppikar, MBA’02

“In life’s greatest difficulties, lies the greatest opportunities for change to occur. Embrace and lean into this difficult time, Humanity, innovation and leadership need you now!”

Susan Buchanan, MS’09, MS’13

David Robinson

“Dreams never die; they just fade in and out of focus!

Congratulations on fulfilling this dream!”

David Robinson, BS’14, MS’17

“The world is your oyster,

keep a firm grip and hang tight,

for times like these will always test your might,

but keep in mind many people are cheering for you,

so go on conquer the world with your crazy dreams and hard work for the world you see for the future you.”

Dhruv Sharma, MS’19

“Let us rewrite business for our changed world! Welcome to 2020 and beyond!!”

Pramod Nair, MBA’11

Ron Nash

“Ceremonies make you feel good for a few hours. Learning makes you more powerful for the rest of your life.”

Ron Nash, MS’79

“Time to bloom.”

Sidi Cheng, MS’15

Pamela Foster Brady

“Congratulations to all of the UT Dallas graduates! You have worked hard for this accomplishment — celebrate and cherish the moment! Don’t let COVID-19 diminish your efforts.

So very proud of all of you!”

Pamela Foster Brady, EMBA’11, MS’16, JSOM Staff/Faculty

“Be passionate about what you do, and determined. Also be humble, because humility gives water its power. Aspiration do not make a living, but make differences — Denzel Washington and Lao Tzu”

Jungchan Hsieh, MS’13, MBA’14, MS’14

“[This] situation makes clear that all business and supply chains must be agile and adaptable in their supply chains! Quite possibly best opportunity to join, start business that competes based on value and agility then in past 50 years! Make it happen — no excuses!”

John Kirkegaard, MS’89

“Congratulations and live life to the fullest and try to give it your best. (That matters!). Aim for the betterment, and stay humble and ethical with your achievements! Good Luck!”

Krishna Venda, MBA’16, MS’16

Saketh Sharma

“Congrats, grad! You’ve laid a foundation for a journey to the C-suite with this degree from JSOM.”

Saketh Sharma Gangavaram, MS’15

“Class of 2020!

You have noticed that we are not in control of everything. Life throws situations like this from time to time.

It is cyclic, it happens all the time, and this one has happened before.

Life is an infinite sum of cycles; some short, some very long. This one of the pandemic is long, one measured in centuries.

So this class got the winning ticket; something you did not ask for. Something you do not … control.

But what you do … control is the actions you can and will take to overcome this, to become a better person because of this, and that is under your control and your will power.

You are to complete this cycle that ends with commencement day. Start the new one with the confidence that no matter the situation, you will overcome and you will deliver.

Anytime, anywhere. Even in these times.

Congratulations, Class of 2020.”

Igor DellaPolla, MBA’15

Mark Chang

“Congratulations, Class of 2020, for acquiring a Lamborghini value of intellectual property and grit from your UTD education and experiences. Continue to be a brilliant Comet as you brighten up the Universe in your future endeavors!”

Mark Chang, MBA’19

Xiaotian Tang

“You made it — even though there was a big obstacle, and you will be more successful than ever.”

Xiaotian Tang, MS’19

Apek Mulay

“In 2018, When I graduated, all my friends were looking for stable jobs. However, I chose to become an entrepreneur. Back in 2018, I started earning little but in the long run, I made it big. Today, I have a booming business and do not worry if the economy goes down or goes up. If you are worried about the economy and jobs, my sincere advice to you is to venture into entrepreneurship.


I will be there always to mentor you into entrepreneurship if you are really committed to make it happen for you.

Good luck if you cannot make that transition, and I wish you find a job.”

Apek Mulay, MS’18

“I pursued an EMBA after 20 years as an entrepreneur. The BEST investment of my time and resources in more than 50 years of life. CONGRATULATIONS.”

Lew Richey, MBA’94

Kristine Imherr

“Head up. Shoulders back. BIG smile. Hug tightly — virtually or for real — those you love. You graduated — despite COVID-19. Congratulations, Class of 2020!”

Kristine Imherr, JSOM Staff/Faculty Member

Diane McNulty

“My best wishes are with you this spring. You are all experiencing a time like no other, and we (as professors and deans) wish your celebrations of success could be more uplifting and rewarding. However, take what you have learned with the hardship of enduring self-isolation and go forward with the attitude, ‘I can do anything now because of how I endured my last spring in class at JSOM.’

Because you were unable to say goodbye to classmates, join in alumni activities and network with many new peers who will become your friends. There is a common bond, UT Dallas and JSOM!”

Diane McNulty, MS’78, PhD’84, JSOM Staff/ Faculty