Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban To Give Commencement Address
Fans familiar with billionaire investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s famous saying, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it,” will want to tune in to DCCCD’s virtual commencement to be streamed live on Saturday, June 13. More than 8,000 graduates and their friends and families will be attending, and the timing couldn’t be better.
In a message of hope and inspiration to the Class of 2020 – and in his first academic commencement address ever – the Dallas businessman and “Shark Tank” reality TV star is expected to offer a strong dose of optimism about future career opportunities as he addresses graduates who are closing a chapter of DCCCD history: This special group of students and their families will be the last to celebrate graduating from DCCCD’s seven individual colleges before the district unifies as one institution under a new name, Dallas College, planned for July.
The DCCCD graduating class of 2020 is a group of many firsts, too: They overcame an abrupt move away from in-person classes to online learning. And they are the first class to graduate amid a global pandemic, straight into an economy with double-digit unemployment and civil strife unlike previous graduates have ever faced. But in the words of Cuban, the community college graduates of Dallas County are in better shape to take on these challenges compared to some of their peers nationwide.
“With community college, you get the best of all worlds: You get to learn, you get to learn how to learn, and you get to make new friendships that will last a lifetime,” Cuban said. “And while everybody else is freaking out about student loans and wondering whether or not they’ll get their money’s worth, and how old they’ll be when they pay off those loans, you’ll know you’ve made a smarter decision about your future than they ever will.”
As part of the ceremony in which Cuban will deliver his speech, the DCCCD Board of Trustees and the president of each college will also join in wishing the graduates well in prepared remarks that will air during the ceremony, along with an address by DCCCD Chancellor Dr. Joe May, who will preside over the graduation as it is streamed live to the public via the district’s social media channels.
“Although we all would have preferred the traditional in-person ceremony that we hold each year, the current pandemic prevents us from doing so,” Chancellor May said. “But we’re excited because the events set into motion an opportunity to bring in Mark Cuban, who is as closely associated with the city of Dallas and Dallas County as we are. It is also the perfect segue from our rich history as Dallas County Community College District to our bright future as we move toward becoming Dallas College. Mark’s presence underscores our bold and exciting transition.”
The event is also intended to trumpet the achievements of the last graduating classes of the seven colleges: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland. The theme of the event is “Making History 2020,” reflecting the circumstances of the current academic year within the reality of a pandemic that closed campuses in March. “Our graduates, as well as our faculty, staff and administrators, are truly making history during these unprecedented times,” Dr. May added.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Cuban, who has promised to make each graduate rise up and dance during the ceremony.
“You [community college graduates] always have the ability to adapt and thrive no matter what comes your way,” Cuban said. “We’re entering a brave new world. We’re going through a complete reset of the world and society … but where there is change, there is opportunity, and in 20 years we’ll look back to the pandemic of 2020 and realize that there were 20, 30, 50 or more world-changing companies, charities, and movements that were created that just changed everything.”
To carry the event, DCCCD will use its Facebook and YouTube for streaming, with each college having its own ceremony led by its president. Exact times of each virtual presentation and additional information have been posted, with Brookhaven College kicking off the ceremonies at 11 a.m. Everyone watching will be encouraged to interact, while each graduate has had the opportunity to receive a cap and gown free of charge ahead of the ceremonies. Graduates will also be receiving a box of keepsake items.
What they will also take with them is Cuban’s unique breed of perseverance while facing a tough economic road ahead — the perfect moment for a highly successful entrepreneur and caring community citizen to charge up this batch of graduates, whether they are pursuing careers in artificial intelligence, health care or welding.
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Mark Cuban is the founder of MicroSolutions, a computer consulting service that he sold to CompuServe in 1990. In 1995, Mark and longtime friend Todd Wagner came up with an internet-based solution to not being able to listen to Indiana University (his alma mater) basketball games in Texas. That solution was Broadcast.com — streaming audio over the internet. In four short years, Broadcast.com (then Audionet) would be sold to Yahoo for $5.6 billion dollars. Since his acquisition of the Dallas Mavericks in 2000, he has overseen the Mavs competing in the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history in 2006 — and becoming NBA World Champions in 2011. They are currently listed as one of Forbes’ most valuable franchises in sports. In addition to the Mavs, Mark first appeared as a “shark” on the ABC show “Shark Tank” in 2011, becoming the first ever to live Tweet a TV show. He has been a star on the hit show ever since and is an investor in an ever-growing portfolio of small businesses. He is also the executive producer of movies nominated for seven Academy Awards: “Good Night and Good Luck” and “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.”
Contact: Alex Lyda