As hundreds of University of North Texas graduates filed into Apogee Stadium for commencement Friday morning, it was an alumnus many of them knew well who was readying to give the keynote speech,; a man who many called a hero.
Steven Davidson just graduated UNT in the winter and said he’d planned to come back to walk with his classmates at the ceremony, but instead he accompanied the University president directly to the stage.
Davidson grew up in Justin and graduated from Northwest High School, but told the crowd Friday morning that his education came to a halt a short time later when he flunked out of junior college.
So, Davidson joined the U.S. Army where his life truly changed.
He was deployed to East Africa in 2011 to a human resources position, but during a training mission in the desert, one of his fellow soldiers collapsed under the heat.
“It was like 120 out,” said Davidson.
Using his background in sports medicine, Davidson lead his team in ripping the soldier’s clothes into strips, soaking them with what water they had, and wrapping them around him to keep him hydrated until a medical team could arrive.
For his quick thinking, the Army Times named Davidson their 2012 Soldier of the Year.
With a new outlook, he returned to North Texas and enrolled at UNT.
"This University took a chance and accepted my application,” he said.
It appears it paid off. Graduating officially in December, Davidson moved out to Washington D.C. after being accepted into an internship at the White House, and now he’s been appointed to President Obama’s administration at the U.S. Department of Energy.
As graduates listened on to Davidson’s story Friday, he left them with advice he’s tried to carry with him on his path.
"Everything that I went through, like, my entire life, all of these experiences are my foundation,” he said. “So whatever the world can throw at us, I say, just bring it on."