North Texas Daily

Former Army Sgt. Steven Davidson to keynote commencement

Former Army Sgt. Steven Davidson to keynote commencement

February 17
14:56 2016

Evan McAlister | Staff Writer


UNT announced Wednesday that former Army Sgt. Steven Davidson will be the keynote speaker at this year’s mass commencement ceremony.

As a UNT alumnus and the 2012 “Army Times” Soldier of the Year, Davidson will deliver his speech at the end of the three-day university-wide commencement celebration.

“It is absolutely incredible to come back and thank the faculty who believed in,” Davidson said in a press release. “I hope that in coming back I can honor those who took a chance on me and that I can inspire others to trust their gut.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott spoke at last year’s ceremony and was met with a less than enthusiastic response from students. With more than 4,000 students graduating last spring only 300 to 400 students showed up to Abbott’s speech.

Former Army Sgt. Steven Davidson, UNT alumnus and 2012 "Army Times" Soldier of the Year will deliver the keynote address at UNT's 2016 University-wide Commencement.

Former Army Sgt. Steven Davidson, UNT alumnus and 2012 “Army Times” Soldier of the Year will deliver the keynote address at UNT’s 2016 University-wide Commencement.

While at UNT, Davidson mentored students, spoke to young people about bullying and used his connections to advocate for veterans and young adults to get involved with their communities, according to a university press release.  After his White House internship in the executive office of the president, Davidson was appointed to his current position as the special assistant to the assistant secretary for Fossil Energy.

“There is nothing more powerful than hearing from one of our own about his path to success and how a college education from UNT helped him achieve his dreams,” UNT president Neal Smatresk said.

Davidson joined the army in 2009 and was deployed to East Africa in 2011 for Operation Enduring Freedom. During a 10-day French-run desert warfare course in 120-degree heat, Davidson saved a fellow service man’s life. Remembering his sports medicine training from high school, Davidson ripped the soldier’s clothing into strips which he then soaked in the small amount of water that remained in attempt to cool the soldier’s body.

“I am honored that Sgt. Davidson is returning to his alma mater to inspire fellow graduates with insight he’s gained from his transformation as a struggling student to a college graduate and distinguished soldier with an incredibly bright future,” Smatresk said.

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