2021 Michigan Ross Commencement
Hello everyone. My name is Daniel Soper. I am a graduating BBA student and the proud president of BBA Council, Ross’ Undergraduate Student Government. On behalf of all of the 2021 graduates, it is my honor and privilege to welcome you to the 2021 Michigan Ross Virtual Commencement Ceremony Whether you’re watching this program right here in Ann Arbor, at home with friends and family, or somewhere else entirely - I’m grateful to be spending this moment with you and that we’ve all found ways to celebrate this occasion with those we care about. If this past year has taught me anything, it’s to cherish and celebrate the important moments in life. Today is one of those moments.
It comes as a product of not only the traditional countless hours spent studying and various group projects and exams that most graduating classes experience, but also a global pandemic, and a seemingly infinite number of zoom calls. Yeah, it’s been a bit of an interesting ride… Stephen M. Ross once described our school as feeling more like a large extended family than a public university, and I find no better way of describing the incredible community that I’ve had the honor of being a part of. I can not wait to see all of the incredible accomplishments you all are set to achieve. So to all of my fellow graduating students - congratulations.
We have an exciting program for you with lots of surprises … so please stay tuned throughout the celebration. On behalf of the graduating class thank you for joining us and as always, and forever, Go Blue! Graduates of the Michigan Ross Class of 2021. I want to share my heartfelt congratulations on this very special day and honor your incredible achievement. As a class of future leaders, you've shown a level of resilience in the face of adversity and disruption. With the shift to online learning and job searching, finding whole new ways of connecting and collaborating, and through it all you're showing up and showing yourselves to be innovators, to be entrepreneurs, to be incredibly adaptive future leaders in a time of great change.
How do I know this? Well, in this past year at Google, we've seen searches for online jobs hiring growing 700% globally. And as a result, searches for virtual interview tips have increased 13 times. Something I'm sure you're all very familiar with. And because looking sharp on camera is essential, average monthly searches for "zoom backgrounds for interviews" reached an all time high this month during graduation season, growing six times.
Graduates, you are definitely ready to take on anything. And as the world literally begins to open up upon your graduation season, I want to encourage you to tap into that ingenuity, that grit, that positivity, that helped you get through this past year and do this very moment of celebration. These are skills that will stand the test of time and will help you realize you can thrive in the face of anything that comes your way. Some of you might know exactly what you're doing for this coming year and for the rest of you, let me leave you with a final Google search trend queries for "how do I know what to do with my life" are up 250%. So don't worry.
You're definitely not alone. As you leave the Michigan Ross Business School know that you're leaving with a broad community of support behind you. The alumni community is invaluable and reach out when you need help figuring out what's next, and we'll be here for you.
Congratulations graduates here's to a very, very bright future ahead for you. Think of who you were before you ever came to Michigan Before you took your first class Before you worked on your first group project Think of what led you here Think of the expectations you had The goals you set for yourself Everyone’s journey towards this moment was different But you all have something in common You made it here You also faced challenges no one anticipated And despite that uncertainty, you rose to the occasion You adapted You stayed committed to your goals You stepped into leadership roles You embraced the culture of building a better world through business Today we celebrate your determination and journey to this point You are graduating from one of the best business schools in the country Think back to where you began All that you have accomplished and those who have supported you Now think about what comes next. I just wanted to take a minute to congratulate all of you on an incredible accomplishment graduating from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Incredible! Great job, everybody.
Great job. Now, listen, I understand that this wasn't probably the way you saw this whole thing unfolding, you know, having a graduation like this, but it's not about the destination. It's about the journey.
And you guys went through, some unprecedented times, you traveled through uncharted waters to get here. And that tells me, that tells me you're uniquely qualified to go out into the world and make a difference. So I don't want to take, take up too much of your time, but I want to say how happy I am, how proud I am of you guys, and that you're now part of the largest living alumni network in the world. So welcome to the club, as always go blue! Graduates, family, and friends -- from wherever you may be in the world today -- it is truly my privilege to welcome you to the 2021 Michigan Ross Commencement! I’m joining you live today from Robertson Auditorium at the Ross School of Business, where I am looking out at 500 empty seats. And wishing all of you were here with me today.
I want to thank Daniel, Mary Ellen, and Desmond for their well wishes and for showing up to support our class of 2021! Daniel, you have been an amazing student leader, and Mary Ellen and Desmond are both dear friends and wonderful supporters of our community. Today, we celebrate the human spirit. We celebrate a defining moment in the lives of our students. We celebrate a milestone that our students will forever remember. We celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our students -- graduating from one of the top business schools in the world. And most importantly, we celebrate you -- our students -- our Class of 2021.
You are extraordinarily talented. You are motivated. You are collaborative. You are purpose-driven and inspired to make a positive difference in the world. And this past year, despite way too many hours on Zoom and the challenges of a global pandemic like none of us have ever lived through before, you showed up. You showed up with courage.
You showed up with determination. And you showed up with an unwavering commitment to achieving your goals. I want you to know how much inspiration you bring to all of us, our faculty, our staff, and to me personally. There are no words that can fully express how grateful I am for the opportunity to serve as your dean.
Class of 2021 (repeat) -- our world needs your creativity, your passion and energy, your business knowledge and skills, and most of all, your leadership. You have the power -- the knowledge, the skills, the commitment -- to build a better world through business, to make a positive difference, and to leave a legacy that all of us will be proud of. This is your calling, this is your opportunity, and dare I even say -- this is your responsibility. Our world needs you. We need people who know how to bring people together.
We need people who know how to bridge divides, and who know how to work across boundaries. Our world needs people who are team players, who know how to inspire and get the best out of people. And our world needs leaders who will advance society forward through innovation, impact, and creating opportunities for all members of our society to thrive and lead meaningful lives. This is your moment, and this is your opportunity to live a life of meaning, a life of purpose, and to make a positive difference in the world. For today’s commencement ceremony, I have invited a number of special guests, distinguished alumni, and friends of Ross to join us to offer their words of wisdom, their words of inspiration, their well wishes, their congratulations, and their hopes and dreams for all of you as you transition from students to graduates of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Before I invite our next guest to join us, I would like to take a moment to thank all the family members and friends who are with us this morning.
We are full of gratitude for the positive difference that you have made in the lives of each and every student, and you too are members of the Michigan Ross family. Graduates, if you are with your family and friends, and if it is safe to do so, please take a moment to thank and hug those who are sitting with you. Our next guest is a proud parent of a University of Michigan graduate and is joining us from her home to share a few words. Please join me in welcoming author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Maria Shriver… Maria, welcome to the 2021 Ross Commencement. Hey, you guys, congratulations.
You are graduates of the University of Michigan Business School. That means you're like super smart. That means I hope you'll send me your resume because you're going to go out in the world and do really big things. But I hope you don't go out in the world be motivated by just money.
I hope you go out into the world and see yourself as a light in the world. See yourself as someone who can help the world become a better place because God knows we need this world to be a better place. And there's no doubt in my mind that the graduates of the university of Michigan will do that, can do that.
We need them to do that. I came to the University of Michigan for four years as a mom of an undergraduate. And I've never met anybody who went to Michigan, whether it's in the business school or the undergraduate who I didn't like and who didn't love their school, loved their fellow Michiganers, and who didn't want to do good in the world. So you're in great company. I know you have a great alumni association and you have a great credit now on your resume.
So use it for good, use it to create meaning in another person's life and always see yourself. Always see yourself as a beacon of hope as a lighthouse, and as someone who can really change another person's life by how you talk to them, by how you deal with them, by what you see in them. That will be your greatest achievement, changing one other person's life. Congratulations. Thank you, Maria, for your generosity and spirit. The bright blue sky behind you is shining a positive light on all of us today.
And it’s so important that we all remember that, even our smallest acts, can be the difference that changes another person’s life, and we all have an opportunity to be a beacon of light in the world. Thank you. I am now proud to introduce the first of our graduating students who was chosen by her peers to represent their voices: Briana Alexis Jones who is graduating from the Full-Time MBA program. Briana, congratulations and welcome... Good morning graduating class of 2021. Wow, that feels really good to say, let me say it one more time.
GOOD MORNING GRADUATING CLASS OF 2021! It’s that time of year, when we’re ready to head into a new chapter. But right now, this chapter, right here, I like to call this chapter, “Lessons from a Zoom Call”. I know, I know if you never heard the word “Zoom” again it would be all too soon, but work with me for a moment. After 13 months of Zoom calls I’d like to think it has taught us a thing or two, so let me recap for you. Lesson one, “Turn Your Video On”.
The beautiful thing about turning your video off is that you can hide pretty much anything. A quick meal here, a quick nap there (I know you’ve been there) but when you do this, what also happens is the rest of the room loses the opportunity to see you, all of you. I made myself a promise before coming to Ross that I would bring my full self to every table.
Straight shot no chaser. No more hiding layers of me, producing some watered-down version of myself deemed palatable for the moment but 1000% authentic me. And I implore you to do the same. From the interview to the board room, show up as your full self from Day 1.
Forget who you think they want, what the world will always need is the truest version of you. So, shoulders up, Turn Your Video On and show up 1000% who YOU are, because trying to be anyone else is simply exhausting. Lesson two, “Schedule Another Meeting”. Even when career fatigue hits (or life fatigue for that matter), don't you stop.
Don’t give up. When failure joins the call, I beg you to keep going. Schedule another meeting and try again and again.
Actually, do me a favor, keep failure around. Keep her, (him or they close). Because failure is the proof that you are headed in the right direction. Rarely do we fail inside of our comfort zones, but failure joins the party when we take a leap of faith into unchartered territories. More lessons are learned from failure than could ever be learned from success; it is not to be feared but to be welcomed to join the call.
So, every time you think you’re all “zoomed out’ schedule another meeting and try it again. My third, and final lesson for you all is to “Share Your Screen”. Every time I'm asked “Why Ross?”, without a second thought I say, "It's the community for me". It always has been, and it always will be.
From Up Close, to the ALE Conference, to GBR, from the moment I stepped foot on this campus and every time after, I was embraced by people who would impact my life forever. What struck me, and honestly still does, is the deep desire to pay it forward. It’s almost like it was a requirement to be accepted to Ross! You all have felt it. People who didn’t even know me, Shared their Screen with me - setting aside their time to share their learnings, from both failures and successes I might add. I would always say I can’t wait to be on “the other side” so I can give back in the same way.
And I did, And I will continue to because that is the spirit of Ross. So, I encourage you to keep that same energy and Share Your Screen, with the goal of leaving the people and the spaces you encounter better off than you found them. Zoom really has taught us some amazing life lessons, so class I ask you, I encourage you, Turn Your Video On, Schedule Another Meeting, and Share Your Screens. And when the time comes and we can hopefully close Zoom forever, just don’t forget what you learned. Thank you and congratulations graduating Class of 2021! Forever and always GO BLUE! Thank you, Briana. And to think, a year ago, who among us would have imagined learning life lessons through Zoom.
Briana, you are an amazing talent, and I wish you all the best in your next chapter of life. Class of 2021, today, you join the ranks of one of the world’s most powerful and prestigious alumni networks in the world, recently ranked #1 among business school alumni globally. Over the last few weeks on social media, we have shared many messages from our alumni offering their words of wisdom, encouragement and inspiration. I now want to share with you a few more special messages from our alumni. Here's a big congratulations to the Michigan Ross Class of 2021. I am so proud of you.
You guys made it through a historic year. Your class will go down in the history books. Okay. This last year of school was ripped away from you. But the thing about crises is that it gets everyone together and unites us.
You are on your way to continued success and you have gained all the tools necessary during your time at Michigan Ross to accomplish any goal you set your mind to. Go out and actively seek out those challenges that are facing our generation today. If you're anything like me, you might be a little bit scared, but trust me, you're all going to do great. As you leave school and go out on your career, just remember this incredible bond that you share with some of the smartest, most driven people in the world. Don't forget all the knowledge you gained, all of the friends that you made, all of the relationships and networks you built.
But most importantly, use all of that to go out and change the world for the better. Take up the mantle to contribute positively and to pave new ways of thought and new ways of doing things. The sky's the limit. And I'm confident that each and every one of you can make a difference and be the change you want to see in the world. You might not have a grand stage to walk across and celebrate, but you will be walking through history. Welcome to the alumni family.
I can't wait to meet some of you once outside is open and congratulations. You did it with class and did it with grace and you pushed through and accomplished your goals. I, for one am so proud of you and I can't wait to meet you at a future alumni event, but for now clap for yourself.
All right. The best is yet to come. You've experienced the worst and have come out on top. And now you have a chance to lead by example. You've earned this! Now turn those tassels. Congratulations.
Again, everyone. Congratulations Class of 2021. Best of luck, and Go Blue. You did it. Our alumni are amazing, and their entrepreneurial spirit is infectious.From Brenda to Nicaila, who created a widely popular podcast called Side Hustle Pro.
Alex Lieberman and his other Ross co-founder, Austin Rief, started the Morning Brew company, which last year was acquired by Insider Inc., parent of Business Insider. Marjorie is a Senior Business Affairs Executive at Amazon Studios. I could go on and on, but each and every one of these alumni is inspiring and role models for all of us. And they are just a few of the 52,000 Ross alumni worldwide. Our alumni are leaders, change agents, mentors and role models. And they show up for Michigan and the Ross School of Business without fail.
It is the support of our alumni that enables Michigan Ross to continue our tradition of excellence, to live up to our ideals, and to consistently define the next frontiers of business education And now, we honor the faculty who are leading the way on these new frontiers of business education. Specifically, we are celebrating the faculty who received our 2021 Teaching Excellence Awards. These awards are voted on by the graduating class, and we are grateful for the support of Bob Neary, a BBA graduate, and his wife Janet, who make these awards possible. The first award winner is... Ryan Ball, the Full-Time MBA award Marcus Collins, the BBA award Felipe Csaszar, the Global MBA award James DeSimpelare, the Master of Accounting award Fred Feinberg, the PhD award Roman Kapuscinski, the Master of Supply Chain Management award Roby Lehavy, the Executive MBA award Chantel Lenard, the Weekend MBA award and Jerry Mathis, the Master of Management Award Congratulations to all of our faculty award winners! Let’s give them a big round of applause. And in the spirit of celebrating our award winners, we also want to acknowledge our students who were chosen by their peers and earned our 2021 student leadership awards.
These students will also receive special recognition in their individual program celebrations later today. Kelsey Casey, the Graduate Frank S. Moran Distinguished Leadership Award Daniel Soper, the Undergraduate Frank S. Moran Distinguished Leadership Award Sasha Kapur, the Graduate Global Citizenship award Ben Schuster, the Undergraduate Global Citizenship award … and last, but certainly not least, the recipients of the Michigan Ross Outstanding Leadership Awards: Nicole Allen Sabrina Archer Mike Dobmeier Alexandra Lorenz Jun Takasuka and Katherine Ward Congratulations to all of our award winners! You make us very proud. Next, I want to welcome two business leaders to join us and share their congratulations with our Class of 2021. Both Mary Barra and Jacqueline Novogratz are on the leading frontiers of business.
Mary Barra, as CEO of General Motors, is leading a transformation in next-generation mobility and technology. She is always found on the 'most powerful women' lists that come out each year. She is on the latest cover of Time magazine that just came out this week. And under her leadership, GM was recently named for the second year in a row to the list of most ethical companies in the world.
Likewise, Jacqueline Novogratz, as founder and CEO of Acumen, continues to be a leader in impact investing and reimagining the purpose of business in society, and even more, how investors can leverage capital and expertise to build a better world through business. Both Mary and Jacqueline have been advocates and champions of the Ross School for years. They have found ways to participate in our students’ experiences at Ross. And both believe deeply in all of you -- our students -- to be the next generation of leaders in business. Mary will speak first, followed by Jacqueline.
Mary, please take it away... Thank you, Scott, for that kind introduction and for the opportunity to address the graduating Class of 2021. To the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, 2021 graduates and your families, Congratulations.
I'm honored to speak to you today because this institution is so important to me, and to General Motors. It is a huge asset to have one of the best business schools in the world, in our own backyard. And we have reaped the benefits of that over the years. And I know many of you are disappointed that this is a virtual event. You might have expected that by now, spring commencement, you'd all be together.
The end of the pandemic is insight, but we're not there yet. And my heart goes out to those of you who have lost loved ones. We must continue to be vigilant to mitigate this virus as much it is possible. And we know we can, because if nothing else this pandemic has shown us that we are flexible, resilient, and determined in the face of disruption.
You've certainly showed all of this as your B-School experience suddenly became virtual. I have confidence that these qualities will prove useful as you transition to wherever life takes you next. I know that they have in my own career and I only have to go back as far as last year for an example. When the pandemic hit the disruption of all disruptions.
When the world shut down, when we suddenly became a global automaker unable to build any vehicles. And as my leadership team and I connected remotely and try to determine the best way to navigate the situation. We were presented with an opportunity to help America address the critical shortage of ventilators.
Our task was to help Ventec Life Systems, which was building about 200 to 300 ventilators a month scale up to 10,000 a month to be produced at a GM plant in Kokomo, Indiana. The GM team acted quickly, connecting with our supply base to source more than 400 parts while retooling the plant. And in a couple of weeks, the line was moving, and I went to Kokomo to visit the team. It was one of the most inspiring moments of my career. Seeing the dedicated teams send the first boxes covered with handwritten messages to hospitals in Chicago.
Even now a year later, it fills me with great pride to think of how our team rallied to build 30,000 ventilators in just 154 days. They were determined, they were resilient, and they worked together to accomplish more tasks, more quickly than anyone thought possible. Projects that used to take weeks were completed in days. Today at GM, we call this ventilator speed, and it's now ingrained in our company.
I think many of us across the country learned a lot of what we could do, what we could accomplish in the face of adversity. Just like all of you. I hope you remember that as you move forward in your careers.
Think of the talent, the resilience, and the resolve you've demonstrated to get here today. And know that those same qualities will get you through tomorrow. Beyond that, the best advice I can give you is to find your passion in life and follow it. There will be ups and there will be downs. But if you love what you do, you will persevere and you will be successful.
I know that because this commencement includes undergraduates, MBAs, PhDs., you're not all in the same place in your lives and careers, but pursuing your passion applies to all of you, no matter what age. It's the road to success and to happiness. And it's a road you are clearly ready to take.
Given what you've already accomplished and endured. You are uniquely prepared for whatever life can throw at you. You're walking out of these virtual doors already a success, and that's exactly what you'll carry with you through the next door you open whatever, and wherever it is. I wish you the best. And again, I want to congratulate everyone in the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Class of 2021. Thank you very much and have a great and safe celebration today.
Congratulations to the U Michigan Ross class of 2021. You did it. You graduated in truly, perhaps the toughest year. Certainly in my lifetime. You gained incredible skills and did it in extraordinary circumstances just as the world was revealing its broken systems. And I think on the positive side, breaking open.
And what that did in so many ways was teach you not only the work that lies in front of us, but I believe it gave you a resiliency, a sense of grit, an understanding of what it actually takes to get through the tough times, so that then you can choose over and over again to do what's needed to help us move into better times. And so as you go forward into this brave new world, that none of us fully can envision, it is truly to you to be the new architects, to help us see what this new economy needs to become and to go build it. And I know that's a tall order, and yet I can't imagine anything more exciting to work on. And indeed it is the work of this generation of our generation. If the year in which you graduated has taught us anything, it’s that we are each other's destiny, that we don't get dignity as a world till all of us have dignity, and that each of us is needed.
So I wish you all the best, every success and Godspeed, the world has never needed you more. Mary and Jacqueline, thank you both for your powerful messages. I am so grateful for your friendship and your commitment to our mission at the Ross School. It is certainly true that the world will be a better place if we all take Jacqueline’s words of inspiration and responsibility to heart. I now want to invite Jared Steinhart, who is graduating from the BBA program and chosen by his peers, to offer his remarks. I don’t see myself as a business student and I bet many of y’all feel the same way.
We’ve all been there. Walking into the cavernous Winter Garden at 8:29am wondering, “What am I doing here?” Sometimes, that feeling stuck with us way past the end of class, and it’s scary. It’s scary to feel like the admissions office mixed up the papers, and you got put in the wrong pile. It’s scary to hear people talking about all the business clubs they are in, wondering why you just aren’t interested.
It’s scary to feel like you’ve suddenly fallen behind, when you’ve been going steady at your own pace the entire time. As we made our way through the BBA framework, we each started to veer off on our own paths. Some said finance and others said marketing. Some said accounting and others said law school. We became comfortable with the independence of our choices.
Over time we all dug our feet in and found a way to take control of our experience. Classmates became group members that became friends. We went from those awkward glances as we pretended to be on our phones in the hallway, to stopping by someone’s table to hear about what they did over the weekend. As we enter the unknown, we are more than prepared to conquer whatever comes our way.
We are supposed to be business students after all. And as the saying goes “You can do anything with a business degree.” However, the world doesn’t need more businesspeople. The world needs more empathy. More leaders. Yes, we’ve amassed 4 years of technical skills and business vernacular.
Through those years, we have also experienced immense change that uprooted our lives and required us to adapt, reevaluate, and most of all persevere. We may joke about being graduates of Zoom University, but on the inside we all feel a deep, deep pain. There is such dissonance between our expectations of how these four years were supposed to go and the reality we are facing. And we feel it more than ever right now. As we sit in separate rooms watching the conclusion of our academic career through a monitor.
Through this hardship, we all found ways to rise up. Some clubs used their skills and membership base to help causes like COVID relief and Black Lives Matter. We found new ways to form relationships. Opportunities that we considered concrete were transformed and we had to find new ways to gain the same experience.
We used the technical skills from our classes and applied the Michigan difference- qualities such as empathy, integrity, and collaboration. Through these opportunities, we are uniquely positioned to change the world. You might not see yourself as a business student because usually the term is myopic. In Ross, we have thrown away the preconceptions of what it means to be a business student and made a new entity.
We may study business, but that does not mean that’s where we are going to stop. We know just how powerful business can be. My favorite quote is by Maya Angelou. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
So go ahead, make that spreadsheet. Crunch those numbers. Run that campaign.
Many people can do that, and they will do that. However, we as Ross graduates can do so much more. We can turn those spreadsheets into maps to help our communities. We can use those numbers to tell a story.
We can send out campaigns that demand the betterment of society. That is how we are different. We have been given the same tools as others, but we know how to use them to make an impact.
We are not business students. We are all problem solvers. We are all change makers.
We are all leaders. Most importantly, together we are all wolverines. And as we all know– It’s great to be a Michigan wolverine.
So Thank you for these amazing past four years, and always go blue! Thank you Jared, your school spirit is infectious! And like Briana and Daniel before you, I am filled with optimism knowing that you will be the leaders who define the future of business, and the role that business can play in making a positive impact and build a better, more equitable, and more just world for all. Before we move to the conferring of degrees, I want to take a few minutes to share with you what an extraordinary group of young men and women make up this Class of 2021. Of course, like all of you, I wish we were all together in person celebrating this moment, but our virtual format makes this moment no less important, no less special, and on behalf of everyone at Michigan Ross, I am so proud of each every one of the more than 1,500 students from more than 20 countries who are graduating today: 14 Ph.D. graduates who have each spent 5 to 7 years with us at Ross, and now they leave us to educate the next generation of business leaders and to conduct ground-breaking research at universities and government agencies all around the world.
717 MBA students from several different programs, 416 Full-time MBAs 116 Weekend MBAs 108 Executive MBAs 52 Evening MBAs 22 Global MBAs Our very first graduates from the Online MBA program And many of these MBAs are not only graduating from the Ross School today; many of our students are also graduating with dual degrees from: Education, Engineering, Information, Law School, the Medical School, Public Health, Public Policy, and the School for Environment and Sustainability. 203 graduates from 3 different One-Year Masters Programs: 56 Master of Accounting students 121 Master of Management students 26 Master of Supply Chain Management students 609 Bachelor of Business Administration students, with many graduating with dual degrees from Engineering, Information, Kinesiology, LSA, the School of Music, Theatre, Dance, and the Stamps School of Art & Design. Across all of these programs undergraduate and graduate, we also have students who are graduating with honors today. Graduating with honors is an amazing achievement, and I want to give all of these students a well-earned congratulations! We are so proud of you.
To confer the degrees is one of the greatest honors I have in serving as your dean. Normally, we would now move into the formal ceremony where each graduate would cross the stage. We would share a moment, a handshake, a fistbump, even an embrace. It is truly one of my favorite moments of each year.
This year, like last year, we do not have this option. But here again, the moment is still one of the most important and special things we do each year, and I am deeply honored to be celebrating this moment with you and your families from all around the world. To help me confer the degrees, joining us today from her home is Regent Denise Ilitch, Chair of the University of Michigan Board of Regents. Regent Ilitch will assist me in formally recognizing our graduates. Regent Ilitch, I have the honor on behalf of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan to present the Candidates for Master of Business Administration, Master of Accounting, Master of Management, Master of Supply Chain Management and Bachelor of Business Administration.
I present these candidates to you and recommend them for the degree named. Thank you, Dean DeRue. It has been over a year since the world has been struck by a devastating pandemic. One that has altered the experiences of college students across the globe. Your college journey may not have ended the way you expected it to, but we are here today to celebrate you.
We celebrate your determination, your dedication, and your resiliency. We have watched you accomplish great feats during your time here. Your work brings hope to students and families across our nation, striving to improve their own lives and the lives of others in their communities. Regardless of the path you choose, your world-class Michigan education has prepared you to make a real meaningful change in the world.
The kind that creates a positive difference. As a business woman, myself, I see the influence a Ross education has on people of all backgrounds, as they learn to think, speak and work across boundaries and grow to appreciate difference. Your Ross education will empower you to navigate challenges, leverage opportunities, and succeed on both personal and professional levels. Today you join the ranks of a robust alumni network of 52,000 businessmen and business women across 102 countries, including some of the world's most influential accountants, consultants, entrepreneurs, real estate agents, and many others. As you go out into the world, I encourage you to continually search for the potential in every opportunity and work to overcome roadblocks that may arise along the way. Always remember to stay connected to Ann Arbor, and be a part of the success of future generations of Wolverines.
We are extremely proud of you and wish you the very best. Now on behalf of the University of Michigan Board of Regents, I am pleased to recognize the candidates. Upon the recommendation of the faculty, the candidates degrees will be conferred by the Board of Regents.
Congratulations, Class of 2021. Good luck and forever Go Blue. Regent Ilitch, thank you for your support and for joining us today. To all of our students, congratulations, you are now graduates of the University of Michigan and the Ross School of Business! We are deeply proud of you, and it is our privilege to officially call you Michigan Ross alumni. And of course, no graduation, no celebration, would be complete without confetti, so here goes... Everyone needs confetti in their life.
It is these moments of joy that we will forever remember. And now, a very special guest wants to congratulate you on your accomplishment. - Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas. Gabby, welcome... Hi guys, what's up? It's Gabby Douglas here.
And I just wanted to say hi to the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, Class of 2021. And I just want to say hats off to you guys, you know. Huge shout out and congratulations to everyone who graduated. I think that's amazing.
Something that definitely should not be taken lightly, especially during this trying and challenging season and time that we live in right now. So that's honestly, that's amazing and that's just really inspiring and motivating. And it really empowers me to keep persevering in my life. And I've had so many challenges thrown at me and my whole entire journey and career. And the one thing that I've learned is to persevere, not only through the good, but through the bad, and you all have done that. You are true champions, and you embody what a true champion looks like and what it takes to becoming a champion.
Again, congratulations to every single person. I love you so much. I hope everyone is staying healthy, strong, and motivated. I know that, it sometimes looks like the mountain is too high, but it's never too high, and you can climb it. Anything that you want in life, go out and go get it because the world is yours. You were given this beautiful talent to go shine, shine bright, and add your unique piece, unique gift and light and life to the world.
Don't let anyone stop. You don't let anything stop you. I love you all so much, much love. Thank you Gabby for offering your well wishes to our Class of 2021. You are correct -- no mountain is ever too high for graduates of Michigan Ross.
To our students -- you are among the most talented, most motivated people in the world, and you have proven time and time again that you can do anything. As Gabby said, throughout life, there will always be new mountains to climb. And as we often say in mountaineering, no matter how hard things get, you just have to keep climbing, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other… and if you keep climbing, you eventually achieve your goals. Following our ceremony today, each program will have its own celebration for its graduates and your families and friends. Our team has some amazing moments planned for all of you in these program celebrations, so I encourage everyone to attend.
You already received information on how to log into these program celebrations. But before we end this celebration, I have invited two more people to share their well wishes with you. Jeff Blau, CEO of Related Companies and someone who has been a true champion of the Ross School, and in particular our efforts to foster a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community in business, as well as our very own basketball coach of the year, Juwan Howard, Thank you, Dean DeRue. It's good to be here today, to congratulate all the University of Michigan grads on the graduation this time of year.
I was thinking back it was actually 10 years ago almost to the week that I spoke at the commencement. I was the commencement speaker at the graduation for the business school. And if you think back to 10 years ago, times weren't that different.
We were just coming out of a great recession and people had concerns and worries about their future. And what I said back then is this is the best time to be graduating. It's the best time, because it's the greatest opportunity when there's uncertainty that you can take advantage of. And so what I urge everyone to do today is chase their dreams, take some risks and get out there into the market and make it as great as you possibly can. This is an incredible time in your life.
You don't have responsibilities. You should take the risks, make things happen and go for it. I wish you the best of luck and congratulations to all the grads. Thanks. Class of 2021, Congratulations. This is a special day to celebrate all that you have accomplished during your time in Ann Arbor.
Cherish the memories you have made. Appreciate the relationships you have developed. Be proud of your accomplishments. Always remember you are the leaders and the best and forever Go Blue.
Thank you Jeff and Juwan. You are both dear friends and wonderful advocates for the University, and for the Ross School. I am so grateful for both of you.
Class of 2021, you are our present. And you are our future. And I am filled with hope today -- knowing your values – your integrity – your creativity – your commitment to the highest standards of excellence – all matched with exceptional talents and amazing compassion and concern for others. These qualities of yours give me extraordinary hope and optimism for our shared future, and I am proud to call you alumni of the U of Michigan. You will be missed, but you will always be part of the Michigan Ross family, a family that will always be here for you.
So, I want to share my sincerest congratulations to each and every one of you. We are so proud of you. And for me, this is my final commencement as your dean. It is not goodbye. It is until next time. And it is forever, Go Blue! And now to close us out, here is our U of Michigan band playing Hail to the Victors… with some special cameos from our faculty and staff.
Hail! To the Victors Valiant Hail! To the conqu’ring heroes. Hail! Hail! To Michigan The Leaders and Best! Hail! To the Victors Valiant Hail! To the conqu’ring heroes. Hail! Hail! To Michigan The champions of the West! Go Blue! Hail! To the Victors Valiant Hail! To the conqu’ring heroes. Hail! Hail! To Michigan The Leaders and Best! Hail! To the Victors Valiant Hail! To the conqu’ring heroes. Hail! Hail! To Michigan The champions of the West! Go Blue! Hail! To the Victors Valiant Hail! To the conqu’ring heroes.
Hail! Hail! To Michigan The champions of the West! Go Blue!