The GW School of Business 2021 Master's and Doctoral Commencement Celebration
Her experience includes founding the Cake Shop Theater Company and producing the New York premiere of Martin Crimp's translation of Pains of Youth. Serving as General Manager for the internationally recognized Contemporary American Theater Festival, and managing a portfolio of youth education programs at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange. While earning her MBA, Casey served as president of the MBA Association and broadened her experience by participating in the Consulting Community of Practice program, also the Graduate Consulting Club, and an impact investment project with GWU's Institute for Corporate Responsibility. She is joining EdOps as a finance specialist serving as an outsourced CFO for DC-based charter schools and will co-teach an elective on arts entrepreneurship at GWU in the fall of 2021.
She is also a graduate of the City University of New York, an MA in Applied Theater, Columbia University, B.A. in Cultural Anthropology, and the Stella Adler Studio of Acting Professional Conservatory. - Dear colleagues, it is a great honor to address you today as a representative of such a dynamic group that has demonstrated perseverance and compassion during what I'm sure will be a defining moment in our collective and individual histories.
Despite, Business School going a bit differently than I had imagined, thank you COVID, I have gained so much from this experience. Today, I want to share with you three lessons that I hope I will remember from this day forward. First, know a bit of what you want. We all came to GW in pursuit of a bigger and brighter future, but in a world full of so many possibilities and so many unknowns, knowing all that you want can feel overwhelming. But we don't need to see the full puzzle picture, our task is to identify one or two small pieces, pursue them with specificity, and trust that the next piece will reveal itself in time.
Along the way, we must continue to be honest with ourselves about our wants and needs and never convince ourselves that we are undeserving before we ever even enter into a negotiation. Next, own our strengths and corresponding weaknesses. School and work are environments that typically reward discipline, routine and focus, but these qualities are not always conducive to innovation or social betterment.
Our creativity can flourish in moments of distraction when two seemingly unrelated concepts are allowed to collide in a jumbled brain and we can have a greater impact when we are unfocused enough to take in the world around us and comfortable enough with disorder to make a change. Often our most celebrated qualities can also be those that hold us back, but we can have greater control through self-awareness, self-forgiveness, and practice. Finally, live the life you want to live today. Drive and ambition can cause us to be so focused on the future that we lose sight of the fact that we are living our lives in the here and now. Yes, there are moments when it might be necessary to eat over our desks, work late into the night, and miss out on spending time with friends and family, but if this is not our vision of the future, we should not allow it to become our present.
Make time for things that make you feel that you are living your dream today instead of tomorrow. I hope I will have the wisdom to follow my own advice as I embark on my next adventure as a graduate of the George Washington University School of Business. My wish for myself and for each of you is that we build holistic careers that bring us satisfying challenges, that allow us to stretch and grow moments of joy, a sense of freedom and independence, and the opportunity to play a role in making something better than the way we found it. Congratulations class of 2021. Raise high. - Thank you for the great speech, Casey.
I now have the pleasure of introducing the Dean of the School of Business, Dr. Anuj Mehrotra. Dr. Mehrotra is the dean of the George Washington University's School of Business. Under Dean Mehrotra's leadership, GWSB has re-imagined graduate business education through its modular, stackable and flexible offerings. Which feature industry driven certificates that can be used to create customizable masters degrees and by themselves serve as important learning experiences for those seeking to upskill and reskill. This innovative design allows the school to proactively respond to the shifting demands of business education.
The school has also made changes to its undergraduate offerings by launching new Bachelor of Science degrees in business analytics and information systems, as well as created a business major for non-business school students. GWSB has also invested in making its programs more accessible through online education. Dean Mehrotra is credited with engaging the alumni in the business communities through innovative programs that focus on student success and lifelong learning. Dean Mehrotra received his doctoral degree in operations research from the Georgia Institute of Technology, his master's degree from Virginia Tech, and his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the BEARLY Institute of Technology and Science in India. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Dean Anuj Mehrotra. - Greetings and again, welcome to the George Washington University School of Business commencement celebration as we push through what is arguably the most challenging time we have faced as a society in living memory, the resilience demonstrated by our community has been impressive.
The class of 2021 deserves to be congratulated for your outstanding adaptability, perseverance and can do spirit in overcoming the disruptions and meeting the challenges brought about by the global crisis. We are so very proud of you. You will always be a special class in the school of business history and in our hearts. I am delighted to offer my sincere congratulations to the class of 2021, our bicentennial class.
Now I would like to introduce our 2021 commencement keynote speaker and GW alumnus Nate Morris. Nate Morris is the founder of Lexington, Kentucky, based Morris Industries and its signature asset, Rubicon, a widely acclaimed software company focused on waste and recycling. Nate's passion to solve the environmental threats was pivotal in his founding of Rubicon.
Nate, a ninth generation Kentuckian born in Lexington and raised by a single mother in a union household, attended public schools and was the first Kentuckian to be named to "Fortune" magazine 40 under 40 list and to be recognized as a young global leader by the World Economic Forum. He is also the youngest inductee ever to the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Nate graduated from the George Washington University as a Scottish rights scholar and attended Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs. Nate is a senior advisor to the Atlantic Council's School craft Center for Security, a member of Business Executives for National Security and a member of the Trilateral Commission. In 2020, Nate was named a Fulbright specialist scholar. Nate is the founder of the Morris Foundation, whose mission is to promote access to the American Dream for All Kentuckians.
A generous benefactor to the University of Kentucky, Morris serves on the Dean's Advisory Council and as the entrepreneur in residence at the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky. Nate and his wife Jane reside in Lexington Kentucky, with their rescue cat, Hinkie. It is my immense pleasure to welcome Nate Morris to make his commencement address. - Good evening, George Washington's School of Business. Thank you, Dean, for that very kind introduction.
The president LeBlanc, Provost Blake and the board of trustees and faculty and all the staff here at the school of business. Thank you for inviting me. It is a tremendous honor.
Congratulations to the graduates of the George Washington School of Business Class of 2021. This is an incredible milestone, and you should be very proud of this accomplishment. I'm confident your family, friends, and the broader community take tremendous pride in your achievements today. It must be particularly rewarding to know that you are graduating during the bicentennial anniversary of George Washington's charter in 1821. George Washington himself envisioned and dreamed of a university in the heart of our nation's capital.
As our first president and one of the greatest leaders in the history of the world, he set leadership standards that have stood the test of time. Our institution is the only university in America established by an act of Congress. In the capital of America, the most powerful city in the world. First and foremost, our institution stands for leadership like its namesake.
As business leaders in the 21st century, we can bind the best of a global community reflected in our location, the ability to synthesize policy and the training to converse with the mechanics of business and merge these three concepts. This is what makes your education here at the business school unique and has given you the tools and expertise to lead in the 21st century. But make no mistake, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot about the way we live and come together. The effects of the pandemic will be felt for some time, but the beauty of the market is that challenge breeds opportunity. I speak from experience, having started my own company, Rubicon, in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008.
After I left George Washington, I came up with an idea, I believed the free market could re-imagine the garbage business using technology. Garbage had been an industry largely unchanged since the time of the Romans, and I'll never forget telling my mom about my plans. She had recently watched an episode of "The Sopranos," and she wondered what kind of business I'd possibly gotten myself into and how much longer I had to live. There is a joke often here in our industry, how rich are those in the garbage business? Filthy rich. Today, she understands that only in America, can you get rich picking up trash. I'm a ninth-generation Kentuckian, raised by a single mother in a union household.
I went to public school all my life and growing up, one of my role models in Kentucky was Colonel Sanders. That is the Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken. He was a great inspiration. Something as simple as chicken or waste can go all the way around the world.
Nobody knows market solutions better than Colonel Harland Sanders. He built his chicken empire from nothing. He failed multiple times before becoming a success.
He was born into poverty, tried so many different things before becoming a success. At the age of 65, when most people were retiring, he was so depressed at his previous failures that he was on the verge of taking his own life, and it was at that moment that he conceived the idea to franchise his famous recipe of 11 herbs and spices, and the rest is history. Colonel Sanders took his recipe for fried chicken to restaurants around Kentucky and began a business that is now globally recognized. Think about it. There is no place in the world today that you can travel without seeing a KFC.
If I introduce myself on a business meeting as I travel the world, folks always ask me what I think about his famous recipe. Colonel Sanders taught me a very powerful lesson, it's not always about what's trendy, but sometimes it's about the fundamentals, and it's about rolling up those sleeves and frying that chicken. For me, it's about picking up the garbage and doing things that no one else was willing to do to meet a market need. In high school, I worked hard and tried to do everything I could to prepare myself for my future, but I faced a major crisis.
My sophomore year, I had a very dangerous football accident and it caused me to quit a sport I love and a sport that I thought was going to be my ticket to pay for college, I had to quickly refocus my efforts and I doubled down on my academic studies. I've discovered a deep passion for public policy, leadership, and a love of politics. That led me to become president of my senior class, captain of the debate team, and a member of the National Honor Society. All of that earned me a scholarship from the Scottish Right and acceptance into George Washington. That was the opportunity of a lifetime.
George Washington gave me an opportunity for Washington DC to also become my classroom. I found the professors were incredibly accommodating to allow for my classes to be flexible while carrying a full load of courses, that also allowed me to work in the White House and on Capitol Hill. Through this, I was able to condense years of work and life experience and come out of this institution as a sophisticated operator in DC and in the world. Today I feel at ease, because of those experiences in the real world and in business. Years after graduating, these experiences coalesced after I graduated and I saw an opportunity where few saw it in garbage. The business model in the waste industry has historically been straightforward but inefficient, antiquated, and environmental liability.
Waste companies charge you to pick up your trash and then charge you rent for storing it in their landfill. My vision was this, understand that waste is a design flaw, only software, and technology to make that space more efficient and make meaningful and measurable advancements in recycling. That was the start of the company I founded, Rubicon.
No one starts a company like Rubicon alone, that is the other piece of the puzzle I received at George Washington. Lifelong friendships. The relationships I cultivated and the friends I made at George Washington proved indispensable. A good number of the people who made the Rubicon journey with me are George Washington and alums.
The first investment checks I ever received were from my then professor, Jack Oliver, and my dear friend Matt Jesse, who is also a business school graduate who received his MBA here in 2010. Our second employee, Elizabeth Montoya, a member of our board of directors, is also a graduate of this business school. My fraternity brother and great friend David Richardson is Rubicon's chief sustainability officer.
At the core of the origins of Rubicon is this university. Even today, when I encounter a fellow George Washington alum in the wild, there's always a special bond. You will find as you pursue your lives and careers that you have those special relationships to, that bond is real. George Washington is a special place and it makes for special graduates. Cherish that. Do not take for granted what you have achieved by graduating from George Washington. Do not take for granted the gifts you have earned as a George Washington graduate.
Do not take for granted what that says to the world. Yes, you were entering the workforce in a challenging time, because of the effects of COVID-19. Starting Rubicon after the crash of 2008 wasn't easy. I started the company by maxing out credit cards to the tune of $10,000. It was a difficult time with a long road ahead.
Today that company that started with nothing but an idea during one of the worst economic downturns in our history is now valued, though, at more than a billion dollars. We re-imagined an entire category and are creating better outcomes for society and the environment. We proved that market-based solutions can make great change where governments are slow to lead. And we proved that the market remains the most consistent way to address these challenges, to unite cooperation among policy and business.
Great things can happen when you double down on big ideas and get government out of the way and let businesses solve problems. That was my journey, a public school kid from Kentucky to an entrepreneur by way of this university right here. This university where you soon will accept your diplomas and start your next chapter. I submit to you that your opportunities today are even greater than mine because technology has made it cheaper and easier than ever before to make great change in the world. Now is the time, I believe the American dream is alive and well and available to everyone, no matter where you come from or who you are, or how high you set your sights.
My mother used to tell me every day, "Dreams are free, so you might as well dream big." Dream no little dreams, George Washington graduates. Congratulations, George Washington School of Business Class of 2021. Thank you and good luck. - Thank you, Nate. We appreciate your enthusiasm to speak to our outstanding class of 2021 today, and providing such inspirational and valuable advice to our graduates as they go out into the world to be leaders and global problem solvers.
I also want to thank Casey Hays Dietz for a terrific speech. Whether you have earned a masters or doctorate, you can all be proud of what you have achieved. You have successfully completed a rigorous course of study at one of the world's finest institutions, getting the knowledge, skills, and aptitude necessary to compete and excel in today's business environment. You have also earned something equally valuable, membership in our GW School of Business Alumni Community. A 57,000 strong worldwide network of dynamic individuals who have compiled a remarkable record of success in countless fields of endeavor.
One thing we have all learned through the recent global crisis is how very important connection is. As part of our GWSB community, I urge you to stay engaged and stay in touch with your classmates. I guarantee in the years to come you will find our alumni community to be an enormous professional asset. While commencement is an important life milestone signifying a new beginning, the start of a professional career, or the pursuit of additional advanced academic challenges, I would also urge you to stay connected with the school of business.
Your education was enhanced significantly by our former students, who generously gave their time and talents in sharing their real-world business experience with current students. I hope the students who follow you can count on you to pay it forward. I ask each of you to do your part and then some to be a supportive member of our great community. Come back to mentor our students, and share your expertise and experience so that the next generation can benefit and the GW community can continue to thrive. Another great way to stay connected is by joining us online from anywhere in the world for our George Talks Business series, which features interviews with industry leaders on timely, relevant topics in the world of business.
I am confident that your GWSB education has equipped you to succeed in today's business environment and in adapting to its shifting demands. At the School of Business, we are committed to the concept of lifelong learning. You can count on us to be here for you, to offer the resources you need to continue learning. The pace of change in the global business environment will require acquiring new knowledge and new skills on an increasingly frequent basis.
We have reimagined business education to keep pace with and anticipate the continually evolving business world. We hope you will continue to think of your alma mater as your learning needs evolve over the course of your career. Whether you are looking to upscale, rescale, or change career paths, we invite you to return and learn with the School of Business. Now it is time to celebrate our graduates.
First, we will have a video montage message to our graduates from our alumni, faculty, and staff. Following that video, we will have a slideshow of each of our graduates by degree program and then in alphabetical order. Please note on some of our graduate slides, you will see below their name if they were a 2021 graduate awardee and/or if they were a Beta Gamma Sigma inductee. Each year, we honor both graduates who are at the top of their program and graduates that were leaders in their respective programs. Beta Gamma Sigma is an honor society for AACSB accredited business programs.
Inductees are an elite group of top 10 percent of their class. - Congratulations GWSB class of 2021 from the whole operations, global, and experiential education team. - Congratulations, class of 2021.
- Congratulations to the class of 2021. - From the entire Fowler Career Center team, congratulations, class of 2021. - Congratulations School of Business, class of 2021. - Congratulations, class of 2021. - Class of 2021, congratulations.
- Congratulations, graduates. - Raise high. - Congratulations to the George Washington University class of 2021. - Congratulations to the GWSB class of 2021. - Congratulations, School of Business 2021 graduates.
- Congratulations, Business School grads. - Congratulations, class of 2021. - Congratulations, GW School of Business class of 2021 graduates. - Congratulations, GW School of Business class of 2021. - Congratulations, class of 2021.
- Congratulations, class of 2021. - Hey, congratulations everyone. - Congratulations, School of Business class of 2021. - Congratulations, job well done.
- Congratulations, GWSP class of 2021. - Congratulations, graduates. - Congratulations, GW School of Business class of 2021. - Now get out there and make us proud. - Best wishes for all of your future endeavors.
We are so excited to hear about all of the great ways in which you are going to change the world. - We are so very proud of you and all of your accomplishments. Remember that you will always be part of the GWSB community. - As you graduate, you are going out into a challenging world. Remember, whatever you decide to do, do it well. - Well done. We are so proud of you.
Now lead us to a better world. - I want to wish you all tremendous success in all your endeavors going forward. - What a wonderful achievement. We look forward to many more of your achievements in the years to come. - Go forth proudly, be bold, and don't forget to come back and say hello.
- We are so proud of you. You have shown a level of persistence, resilience, courage. - You've done a great job getting through a really difficult year.
I know you all have incredible things ahead of you. We're all super proud of everything you've accomplished. - We are so proud of your accomplishment and we wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors.
- Director of Master in Tourism Administration program. Congratulations, School of Business. - You are all truly one of a kind. I want to wish you success as you create a path of positive impact in business around the world. - You've succeeded at GW overcoming enormous odds, a global pandemic couldn't stop you.
- You've shown great resilience. Best of luck in the future. - Well done. - I can't wait for you to come back and tell us how things have gone.
Remember that this last year has taught you that you guys are unstoppable. - COVID made this a difficult year, but I hope it has made you stronger. As you go forward, I wish you the very best of luck. - Good work. You made it through this incredible year.
- My warmest congratulations. It's been an absolute pleasure teaching you in my global finance class. - Congratulations, School of Business class of 2021. - Congratulations, class of 2021. - I know you'll make us proud. Congratulations, class of 2021.
- Congratulations, School of Business graduates. You've just made the biggest investment of your life. - Congratulations to the graduating class of 2021. - We're so proud of you. Congratulations.
- Raise high. - Way to go. - Raise high. - Raise high. - Raise high. - Raise high. - Raise high.
- Family, friends, faculty, and staff, please join me where you are in celebrating our graduates of Doctor of Philosophy. Master of accountancy. Master of Business Administration. Master of Human Resource Management. Master of Interdisciplinary Business Studies. Master of Science in Applied Finance, Master of Science in Business Analytics.
Master of Science in Finance. Master of Science in Government Contracts. Master of Science in Information Systems Technology. Master of Science in International Business. Master of science in Project Management. Master of science in Sports Management.
Master of Tourism Administration. Thank you for spending this time with us as we celebrate the GW SB class of 2021. Raise high.