Nationals owner said passion is key

Baseball team owner Mark Lerner told graduates at the School of Business’ graduate and doctoral ceremony May 13 that he still gets the chills every time he walks onto the Washington Nationals’ field.

“After five years of ownership, my greatest passion is still my day job,” Lerner said.

Lerner, who graduated from GW with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1975, also serves as a principal of Lerner Enterprises, the largest private real estate developer in the D.C. area.

“Looking back and seeing that you built something from the ground up is true satisfaction,” Lerner said. “The real measure of success is how much joy and passion you felt through the whole process.”

This year’s graduation was the first for Doug Guthrie, who became dean of the business school last summer after Dean Susan Phillips retired in June.

“I came to GW to be a part of something special, and after ten months, I am now looking out at it,” Guthrie said, prompting a round of applause from the audience.

In his charge to the graduating class, Guthrie emphasized the importance of making a difference and changing the world – not just making a paycheck.

Despite a difficult economy, student speaker Bernard Height told graduates not to let tough times prevent them from following their dreams.

“We started at GW in 2009 during one of the biggest recessions in United States history, and people were questioning, ‘Who could afford to dream?’ ” Height said. “Who could afford not to dream?”

Stacey Davidson, who graduated with an MBA, expressed relief about receiving her diploma after two years of graduate school.

“It’s wonderful to be done,” Davidson said.

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