Mike Ilitch School of Business - December 2020 Virtual Commencement - Wayne State University
David Strauss: Hello and welcome to the Wayne State University fall semester commencement ceremony. My name is David Strauss and, as the Dean of Students, it is my privilege and honor to recognize and celebrate our graduating Class of 2020. David Strauss: This year has presented all of us with unprecedented challenges. But our students have shown their warrior strength through their perseverance and dedication. This is no small feat, and their achievements are made all the greater by the difficulties and uncertainties they have endured. I believe there's no limit to what our students can accomplish. And today, marks the first of many steps they will take
towards securing a brighter future for everyone. David Strauss: On behalf of the Dean of Students Office, the Student Senate, and all the student organizations let me be the first to congratulate each of our students on this momentous occasion, the confirmation and celebration of Wayne State University's Class of 2020. David Strauss: I would now like to introduce our Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Laurie Lauzon Clabo. Laurie Lauzon Clabo: Thank you, Dean Strauss. Congratulations to
all of you for reaching this day. In spite of these very unusual circumstances, this is a celebration for the entire university. For over 150 years, Wayne State University has anchored the city of Detroit as an engaged and motivated community of scholars. Wayne
State is one of the nation's 50 largest public universities with Michigan's most diverse student body. Laurie Lauzon Clabo: Today, nearly 27,000 students from almost every US state and many countries around the world are pursuing degrees at Wayne State. Each one is earning an education at a nationally ranked research university strengthened by the culture, industry, and the diversity of its urban setting. We believe in the definition of a university as a place where highly motivated
people of differing backgrounds and aspirations may pursue both knowledge and personal growth. Laurie Lauzon Clabo: I know all of you gathered here today have been able to experience all that this great university has to offer. You have grown in knowledge and developed your skills in the fields you have all chosen. You have made
us all very proud of you. I know that each of you went through a lot to get to this point, but this moment is not only for you, but also for your families and friends, who've made a lot of sacrifices so that you could succeed. There is no such thing as a self-made woman or man. We are all shaped by the influence and examples of everyone around us. Family, friends, faculty, all have helped you get to this day. They are all teachers and mentors in their own way. Laurie Lauzon Clabo: If a supportive member of your life is with you now, please give them a hug, an air hug, a socially distant elbow bump, or whatever is appropriate to let them know how much you appreciate them. If they're not with you right now, some time today, give them a call, let
them know how much their support has meant to you. Laurie Lauzon Clabo: On behalf of the more than 2600 faculty, academic staff, advisors, the deans of our 13 colleges and schools, and others who have taught you in virtual classrooms, worked with you in labs, guided you in real-world settings and met with you in their offices we extend our deepest congratulations. It is now my pleasure to introduce the Honorable Marilyn Kelly, chair of the university's Board of Governors, who will bring greetings on behalf of the board. Governor Kelly? Marilyn Kelly: Greetings to each of you on this very special day. On behalf of the members of the Board of Governors, it's my pleasure to welcome the graduates of the Class of 2020, and give you our deepest and most heartfelt congratulations. Marilyn Kelly: This has been a remarkable and challenging year for all of you. And your graduation comes at a time when the world around us is undergoing
significant change. But we want your graduation and the tremendous accomplishments you've achieved to get the appropriate recognition they deserve. Marilyn Kelly: Commencement is the combination of big dreams and hopes for the future. You've all worked incredibly hard to reach this moment and you should be proud, as we are, of your accomplishments. Wayne State is an outstanding institution and, today, you join more than one quarter of a million alumni who call our university, their alma mater. Your dedication and commitment have brought you to this moment, and have set the path for your future success. We know the warrior spirit runs strong in each of
you. And, as this past year has proven, it will guide you well in future endeavors. Congratulations from the Board of Governors, and our best wishes to you and to your families on this wonderful milestone. David Strauss: Now, please welcome Linda Beale, president of the Academic Senate and professor of law, who will bring greetings on behalf of the faculty. Linda Beale: Thank you and greetings to you, our graduates and your families and friends who have supported you throughout your time here at Wayne. On behalf of the university’s entire faculty and academic staff, some of whom are participating in this virtual commencement and some who could not be here. We all heartily congratulate you on your graduation today, an especially significant milestone in this year of difficulties caused by the global pandemic. You have succeeded through your studies and your research with
excellent faculty in your field and with the support of our academic staff, all of whom have invested in your success both here at the university and in your future life. We hope that you will continue your pursuit of learning. And we look forward to hearing about your next endeavors, your adventures and discovery and in engaging with the world around you. Please keep in touch with us. You can Tweet us, Facebook us, email us, call us. We’re
eager to know what you are doing in your life. Those messages from our former students gladden our hearts and they make even the toughest days brighter. So, once again, congratulations. I and all the faculty who have worked with you in your studies here applaud you. And we wish you success in all that you do. Thank you.
David Strauss: It is now with distinct pleasure that I introduce Wayne State's 12th president Dr. M. Roy Wilson. M. Roy Wilson: Thank you, Dean Strauss. Greetings graduates. And congratulations. If we were all in the Fox Theater right now, as we would have preferred, you would have seen the room crowded with all the people so happy to celebrate your success. Parents, siblings, spouses, children,
professors, and advisors. So, until we can offer you that in-person experience, you have to imagine those crowds smiling and cheering for you now. We are so very proud of you, and it is my honor and privilege to share this moment with you. M. Roy Wilson: The Class of 2020 will forever hold a special place in Wayne State's history. You've weathered unprecedented challenges over the past nine
months because of this pandemic that has altered life as we know it. More than, perhaps, any other graduating class in our 152 year history, you have proven yourselves as warriors: strong, persistent, creative, adaptable, courageous, and kind. You understand better than, perhaps, any generation in a very long time, how the unpredictable can suddenly rear up and change our lives. M. Roy Wilson: Many of you grew up in a post 9/11 world. When you might've turned on the morning news to see planes crashing into skyscrapers. You survived multiple recessions. You have reckoned with a deadly virus that swept the globe and took hundreds of thousands of lives. You have
borne witness to a national awakening to the systemic racism that still plagues this country. The Class of 2020 has endured all this trauma. But you didn't just endure. Many of you have thrived finding an inner calling to become social justice activists, or healthcare heroes, or simply more thoughtful, better informed neighbors and citizens in your communities. M. Roy Wilson: The world is unpredictable. Life is unpredictable. This will never change. You, however, have changed. I wonder if you realize just how much you've changed since you first arrived on this campus? You are better equipped to face that world and thrive, and make it a better place because of your time here at Wayne State University. You've learned from the finest faculty who have stretched your
intellects, and challenged you to push yourself further than you ever have before. You've worked incredibly hard to the point of exhaustion. And by living and learning in the heart of Detroit, you have learned what it means to be a compassionate, and engaged member of your community. M. Roy Wilson: Industry, intelligence, integrity these are the words engraved in the Wayne State University seal. And those are the gifts you carry with you as you enter the next chapter of your lives. It may be hard to see in such dark times but, even now, incredible opportunities will present themselves. And because of your time at Wayne State, you are ready to take
advantage of them. Louis Pasteur once observed, "Chance favors the prepared mind." Each of you is prepared for whatever life may bring. And, for this reason, I am confident for our shared future in America. Congratulations, once again, Class of 2020, you are warriors
in name and spirit. And I wish you nothing but the very best of life. David Strauss: Thank you President Wilson. Now, we begin the traditional part of the ceremony, the formal acknowledgement of the candidates for degrees, and the conferring of those degrees. I would like to ask Provost Clabo to join us to present the candidates. Laurie Lauzon Clabo: Mr. President, over 3100 students were eligible and applied to graduate during the 2020 spring,
summer and fall semesters from our 13 schools and colleges. These candidates will now be acknowledged for their degrees by the Dean. From the Mike Ilitch School of Business, the master and bachelor degree candidates will be presented by Dean Robert Forsythe. Dean Forsythe? Robert Forsythe: Mr. President, upon the recommendation of the faculty of the Mike Ilitch School of Business, I have the honor to acknowledge these candidates for degrees assisted in the commencement program [inaudible 00:11:11]. Laurie Lauzon Clabo:
Ladies and gentlemen, now, the most solemn moment of commencement as the president confers the degrees. Mr. President? M. Roy Wilson: The authority to confer each of these degrees is vested in the Board of Governors of Wayne State University by the people or the State of Michigan under the Constitution of the State. This authority is delegated to the president by the board. Each of these degrees is granted on the recommendation of the faculty of the university. By the authority vested in me, by the Board of Governors, and upon the recommendation of the respective faculties I do here by confer upon you the degree for which the faculties have recommended you. And I admit you to all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of that degree. Congratulations.
Laurie Lauzon Clabo: Thank you, President Wilson. For all those who are with us today, please join me in congratulating all of the graduates for their efforts and accomplishments. Back to you, Dean Strauss. David Strauss: Thank you, Provost Clabo. I would now like to welcome Dean Forsythe back to address the graduates from the Mike Ilitch School of Business, and to introduce their speakers.
Robert Forsythe: Welcome and congrats both personally, and on behalf of the faculty and staff of the Mike Ilitch School of Business. It is my distinct pleasure and privilege to congratulate our December 2020 graduates for the tremendous accomplishment you are celebrating today. Whether you are earning your bachelor's master's, or doctorate, none of you would be here today without a great deal of personal commitment, determination and sacrifice. Robert Forsythe:
Your class, the Class of 2020, will be remembered and celebrated for your perseverance. You overcame hurdles no one should ever have to face to accomplish this goal. For a complete list of December 2020 Ilitch School graduates, please visit ilitchbusiness.wayne.edu. Robert Forsythe: At this time, it is my distinct honor to introduce the first of our two student speakers. Vyshnavi Chivukula graduated with honors from the Mike Ilitch School of Business this past May with a bachelor of science in finance and information systems management. Last winter, Vyshnavi was selected to represent her fellow Ilitch School graduates as our May 2020 student commencement speaker. Unfortunately, due to the rapid onset
of the COVID pandemic, at that time, she wasn't able to give her graduation speech until now. Take it away, Vyshnavi. Vyshnavi Chivukula: Family and friends, faculty, and administration, and the Mike Ilitch School of Business Class of 2020, it is a great honor to be speaking on behalf of the graduating class today. As
I sat down to write the speech I experienced the multitude of emotions, the biggest one being bittersweet. I know I speak for all of us when I say that this is not at all how we imagine our graduation to be. Miles apart, possibly in our pajamas, sitting in front of the TV, and attending virtual graduation. Vyshnavi Chivukula: When we first entered this university, we were all met with feelings of uncertainty.
How would we be able to manage the increased responsibilities and adapt to our new environment, all while figuring out what it is we want to do for the rest of our lives? However, the fact that you are all here with me, virtually anyway, proves that you have the one skill necessary to excel in anything that you set your mind to. And that skill is the ability to adapt. Vyshnavi Chivukula: Keeping that in mind, I want to share with you something that I've learned just in a few months of graduating. If you think back to when you were younger and were asked what it is that you wanted to be when you grew up, you may have said an astronaut, a rockstar, or even a chef. When I was asked this question, I vividly remember answering that I wanted
to start my own company. I never imagined that, 15 years later, I would be graduating with a degree in finance. So, that means that it's too late to pursue my childhood dreams, right? No. Since graduating from Wayne State in May, with a diploma in my hand and three whole months of work experience under my belt, it has dawned on me that the future of my career is not defined strictly by the eight hours that I spend in the office. But rather,
it is through my passion. Passions that have driven me towards achieving my goals no matter how big, or small, or how out-of-the-box they may seem. Vyshnavi Chivukula: Again, we all grow up having dreams about the things that we want to become. And if we let our diploma define the rest of our careers, the dreams that we have would be exactly that, just dreams. If you only follow opportunities within the bounds for your degree, you will be doing yourself a disservice by not pursuing what it is you actually envision yourself doing. You see, the piece of paper
you hold in front of you doesn't just symbolize the major that you've completed. It symbolizes the entire education you received during your time at Wayne State. Vyshnavi Chivukula: Now, I don't want you to confuse education with academics. Academics are the classes that we took and the tests that we spent hours
on end studying for. Education, on the other hand, is everything that we learned that helped us get to this very moment. It is the networking that we learned to do. It is the schedules that we had to make for ourselves. It is the failures that allowed us to get back up and
face our fears. And it is the successes that showed us our strengths. Vyshnavi Chivukula: Your time at Wayne State is beyond the time spent in the classrooms. It is the culmination of the experiences that we had in the past four years. As you leave Wayne State with a diploma in your hand, and the indispensable education that you have gained over the years, remember that the learning does not stop there. You've been a student for a long time, and you will continue to be a lifelong student.
So, chase your dreams. Don't be afraid to venture into something new. And don't forget that your classroom is now the real world. And it is up to you to go seek the education that the world offers. Robert Forsythe: Thank you for Vyshnavi. Now, I would like to introduce our December 2020 student speaker, Megan Baran. Megan earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Wayne State in 2017. Today, she earns her MBA from the Mike Ilitch School of Business. Earlier this year, Megan won
the prestigious Brenda M. Derby Memorial Award, which is presented nationally to an outstanding student who demonstrates excellence as an emerging policy researcher. Over to you, Megan. Megan Baran: Thank you, Dean Forsythe for that warm introduction. Megan Baran: I'm extremely honored to be here today to speak on behalf of the most diverse and brilliant people I have ever met. First, I would like to thank the esteemed members of the university, faculty and administration. I would also like to thank the family and friends of the Class of 2020 for showing support. And to the distinguished
Mike Ilitch School of Business Class of 2020, congratulations. I would like all the graduates to take a brief moment to think about the person, or people that supported you during your journey as a Wayne State student. If possible, I encourage you to thank them. Megan Baran: I have a few people that I would like to thank. I would like to thank my husband, my grandmother, and my mother for understanding that being an MBA student and my commitment to academics takes up the majority of my time. I would also like to thank some of the faculty and administration, Steve Townsend, Kiantee Rupert-Jones, Dr. Jackson, Dr. Summers and, my mentor, Dr. Tangari. Thank you for believing in me, even
when I didn't always believe in myself. Megan Baran: In a short period of time, I will do my best to embody our journey as the Class of 2020. None of us decided to be business students at Wayne State University because it's easy.
So, why are we here? For me, I decided to earn my MBA to be better. I believe all of us are here today because we want to be better. To be a better version of ourselves. I remember walking in the doors of the Mike Ilitch School of Business, the new graduate student orientation. I was excited and I was also a little bit terrified. Those of you that met me during my first semester and even part of my second semester know that I am an extreme introvert.
So, the thought of going to orientation and meeting people made me anxious, especially because I knew, at some point, I would have to talk to people during the networking portion. Megan Baran: When I enrolled in business school, I had no clue that networking was so important, and networking events happened so frequently. If I would have realized this my first semester, before the last day to drop with full tuition reimbursement, I probably would have run back to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where I received my bachelor of science. I learned immediately what my definition of being better is, getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to do things even if I have a chance of failing. Megan Baran:
In my second semester, I decided to start a new student organization. After long thought and careful consideration, I concluded the absolute best time to start a new student organization would be two and a half weeks before finals. You know, when things are slow and you have minimal pressure from classes. I can't take the credit for going that far out of my comfort zone. At that time, I heard about Dr. Tangari, a professor that wanted
to start a Net Impact chapter at our school. I have never been so sure and confident that I wanted to take on this type of responsibility, starting and leading a student organization. I went from being anxious at the thought of talking to new people, to being confident that I could lead and initiate conversations, while still being terrified on the inside. I was becoming a better version of myself. Megan Baran: At Wayne State, we are very fortunate to be the most diverse university in the State of Michigan. This enhances our education outside of the classroom. We learn about different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and beliefs, giving us a better understanding of others and, most important, the acceptance of others. Today, our world is different than it was
a year ago. We are now living in global turbulence. We are dealing with constant change. Outside of Wayne State University, we have a competitive advantage over others because the diversity on campus makes us better. I can say with complete confidence that each one of us is a better version of ourselves today than when we stepped foot in the Mike Ilitch School of Business for the first time. Megan Baran:
A takeaway from one of my classes that I would like to share with everyone is to listen and be present. By now, I'm sure you're tired of listening to me. It may not be present in this moment, at this time, but for those of you who are still on your couch, or have left the room, but can still hear, I challenge you to be better. Always try to be a better version of yourself. I encourage you to build others up around you, and celebrate the success of others. Megan Baran: Today marks the end of our journey as business students. We are now part of a tight knit
network of over 274,000 alumni. Today, I celebrate everyone's hard work, dedication and achievements, even during a global pandemic. We are warriors and we do not give up. As the Mike Ilitch School of Business Class of 2020, we will be the next leaders, and we will continue to be better, to do better, to be better versions of ourselves. And, most importantly, make
the world better. Today, it is with great honor I celebrate the Class of 2020. We are, and we always will be warrior strong. Robert Forsythe: Thank you Megan. To all of our 2020 graduates congratulations, once again, on this tremendous accomplishment. Wherever your next chapter may take you, I hope it gives you pride and comfort to know that you always have a home at the Mike Ilitch School of Business. Until
we can celebrate with you in-person, please know that we are proud to welcome you to our powerful network of more than 37,000 Ilitch Business alumni here in Metro Detroit and across the globe. Robert Forsythe: With that, I would like to ask Ilitch Business alumni council chair, Jason Brown, to leave you with some parting words on behalf of the council. Jason Brown: Hey there, Jason Brown here, founder of thebrownreport.com and chair of the Mike Ilitch School of Business Alumni Council.
Jason Brown: Listen, right now is a special time. It's special for a few different reasons. But number one, is because you accomplished something that most people want to accomplish in their lifetime. That's right, you're graduating from college. And I don't want you to take that lightly. Hey, listen, I know there's a ton of things going on in the world right now with the economy and with the pandemic. But I don't want that to overshadow the fact that you've accomplished something so huge.
Jason Brown: I know it may not feel like it because you can't get together and do some of the normal things, but I want you to know that you've done something in a unique time, which makes it even more special that you were able to put your head down, and go to work, and finish it strong, and close out the semester to get that piece of paper, that no matter what happens from here on out, that nobody will ever be able to take from you. Jason Brown: So, on behalf of the Mike Ilitch School of Business and the Alumni Council, we just want to say, thank you. Speaker 9: Thank you. Speaker 10: Thank you. Jason Brown: Thank you. Speaker 11:
Thank you. Speaker 12: Thank you very much. Speaker 13: Thank you so much. Speaker 14:
Thank you. Speaker 15: Thank you. Speaker 16: Thank you. Speaker 17:
Thank you. Speaker 18: Thank you. Jason Brown: Thank you for not quitting. Thank you for choosing Detroit. Thank you for choosing Wayne
State. Thank you for not giving up on your dreams. Thank you for not giving up on your family. And thank you for being warrior strong. And I want you to remember again, you're part of the family now, so make sure you visit alumni.wayne.edu to make sure we have your information, so that we can stay connected. And no matter how you choose to celebrate, I want you to celebrate because you did it. You just graduated, so take a bow. David Strauss: Thank you. Congratulations graduates. Go ahead
and cheer. Good job. And, now, I would like to introduce Peter Caborn Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations & Advancement Services and Executive Director of the Wayne State University Alumni Association to welcome the university's newest alumni. Please welcome Mr. Caborn. Peter Caborn:
Congratulations graduates. You arrived at Wayne State as students, but you leave as so much more. You're powerful examples of success. You've demonstrated that with grit, opportunity and ambition anything is possible. Peter Caborn:
When the world drastically changed this year, you were nimble, flexible, and you stayed focused to the finish. It was no easy feat, and that makes reaching this point of graduation even more significant. As you move your tassel from student to a graduate of the Class of 2020, you also move into the Wayne State alumni community, and we are honored to have you. You now join more than 283,000 people who've also succeeded and continue to succeed. There
are Wayne State alumni in every corner of Detroit, in every part of Michigan, all across the country, and all around the world. No matter where your journey takes you, you will find a Wayne State connection. Peter Caborn: We also hope that you will stay connected with us. We offer many programs and opportunities for our alumni, including ways to give back. Perhaps you're interested in mentoring students
who are following in your footsteps, or connecting with alumni in your career field. The Alumni Association offers this and much more. And we want to know what you're doing too, so please share your accomplishments and your updates with us as you achieve milestones throughout your journey. Keep in touch with us, and view everything that we have to offer
you via our website at alumni.wayne.edu. On behalf of the Alumni Association, congratulations again on your accomplishments. We can't wait to see what you do next. David Strauss: Thank you, Mr. Caborn. Thank you parents, families, friends and, most of all, graduates for joining us in this wonderful celebration. And, once again, congratulations Class of 2020.