Master’s and doctoral graduates gathered in the Smith Center Friday to receive their degrees at the School of Business Master’s and Doctoral Programs Celebration.
As the Class of 2018 entered the Smith Center, graduates’ caps were decorated with sayings like “y’all hiring?” and “stay real.”
Throughout the ceremony, speakers encouraged the graduates to carefully consider their choices and apply their new skills to their future careers.
Here’s some advice from the speakers:
1. Life lessons from Dr. Seuss
Lindsay Schappell, the student speaker who graduated with a master’s degree in business administration, spoke to her classmates about their futures, using Dr. Seuss’ book, “Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo,” as her inspiration.
Schappell opened her speech by asking, “Who can measure the potential of a sneeze?” From there, she continued to rhyme in the rhythm of her favorite Dr. Seuss book and discussed the power of consequences and how they create a chain of events.
She said business school has been her biggest challenge to date and thanked her classmates for learning and growing alongside her.
“I never would’ve thought when I started this business program that the sum of our cumulative experiences would change my life,” Schappell said.
2. The move from ‘academia to execution’
Keynote speaker David Burt, premier of Bermuda, began his speech with a joke that giving a politician more than 15 minutes to speak is “asking for trouble.”
Burt, a two-time GW alumnus, encouraged students to stay true to their paths as they make the move from “academia to execution” and apply their new knowledge in their careers.
“It will take more than your academic achievements to win the hearts and minds of people,” Burt said.
Burt concluded by asking the Class of 2018 to be courageous, innovative and challenge the status quo even in tough times.
“When the glow of today is dimmed, consider your path,” he said. “What will you do with what you have learned? How will you make your choices and skills meet your passion and impact your communities?”
3. Choices matter
Vivek Choudhury, the associate dean for graduate programs in GWSB who will soon serve as the interim dean, left the Class of 2018 with some inspirational words, including two specific lessons.
Choudhury first quoted Mahatma Gandhi and said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” He said that each and every graduate, with his or her unique set of skills, has the ability to make a difference.
“You are now the custodians of this planet,” Choudhury said, “You need to help shape it.”
Choudhury then posed a question to the graduates about how they will measure their successes in life.
“Every day, you’re given 86,400 seconds of time,” he said. “Your choices matter. Be purposeful in your life.”
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