2017 Senior Banquet Speech — Daniel Chao

Daniel Chao is seated third from the left.

On Wednesday, April 26, 2017 we gathered to celebrate the BIC graduating students of 2017. As part of the banquet, Daniel Chao was chosen by his peers as the male BIC student to represent his graduating class and was invited to offer a few words to his fellow graduating seniors. We hope you enjoy reading his remarks from that evening’s festivities. 


To say that BIC has been just a valuable learning experience would be an understatement so great I would need to complete 13 labors to atone for it.

To be honest, I can’t believe it’s already been four years. Where has the time gone? I can tell you I definitely feel 4 years older… but wiser?… well…

In all seriousness, the BIC has truly been an experience. Even if I never took one of your classes, all the professors here have made a difference, in fact, many of the quirks and habits I have picked up over these years have been from large group lectures. To the students, We have shared many memories together, and as we move onto the next steps of our lives I want to encourage everyone to put their best paws forward and give life everything you got because after all, you do only get one shot.

Dr Rust introduced me to Gregorian chant which I regularly listen to when trying to go to sleep. (not that I fell asleep during that lecture. It was all just very relaxing and enchanting) Dr. Zori’s introductory lecture on viking history and culture which thinking back might have been an interview of sorts as well. Congratulations by the way, I’m really glad you’re here. And of course Dr. Jug dressing up in some amazing costumes for his lectures. And of course, who could forget Tatums belly-dancing after the Mosque trip. All of these memories are ones that I will cherish for years to come.

There was one particular memory I wanted to share about tonight about this book. Thank you Dr. Long for allowing me to borrow it. We were studying Confucius and the lecture was about Ban Zhao who was the first female Chinese historian and also wrote the “Lessons for Women” an influential Confucian text. At the end of a lecture I decided to be a bit of a smart alec and ask a question in Chinese that went something like this. Qing Wen Ni Ke Yi Gao Su Wo Ban Zhao De Fu Xi, Xi Guan Ma? The hilarity that ensued involved references to inter-dimensional time travel and what originally began as an off the wall comment turned into a realization for me that the BIC with it’s remarkable professors who not only think quickly on their feet but also have amazing senses of humor was where I was meant to be. Its really quite an unusual memory but it all started from a large group lecture and has grown into a friendship that I hope will continue for many more years.

When I sat down to write this speech I really didn’t have any idea how to start much less end it. After asking for advice from many of my colleagues I still couldn’t give it the feel and expression I really wanted. Then I remembered my recent paper on courage that I wrote for Dr. Tatum and I realized that I needed to take a page out of that paper and be courageous enough to make this personal.

Before the BIC I was in the cave staring at the wall believing that the shadows were all that the world had to offer. Many of us students were probably in the same boat. We had aspirations and hopes and dreams that were all probably at some point shattered by the BIC.

The thing is, that the BIC took our hopes and aspirations and rebuilt them into beautiful walls of stained glass.

The books we read shaped us and gave us insight into many different philosophies. We realized that we needed to combine the critical thinking of Plato and calculations of Machiavelli with the emotion from Wordsworth to truly understand and be able to evaluate situations from different angles.

The field trips we took as a part of World Cultures allowed us to experience culture hands on and develop new perspectives from those experiences. The trips to the Japanese Gardens, Dallas Museum of Art and the many different places of worship we visited kindled a fire in our hearts and inspired us to move beyond the boundaries of the cave and learn more about the world.

I believe that each and every one of us students has something to take away from the BIC experience. The BIC has taught us to differentiate shadows from reality by thinking critically and asking good questions, and the lessons we have learned here will prepare all of us to step out into the real world. I know the cave reference is getting old but please, bear with me for one last statement.

Not all of us will be as fortunate as the professors around us to re-enter this particular cave and enlighten its inhabitants. However, eventually we will be called to enter other caves and when we are, we must take action and be prepared to do whatever is required of us. Each and every one of you has the potential to do great things and I cannot wait to see where the next chapter of our lives takes us.  BIC’EM Bears.

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