The graduates heard words of advice from speakers stressing the importance of planning for the future and allowing others to inspire their own success.
1. A new chapter
Mark Shenkman, president and founder of Shenkman Capital and a member of GW’s Board of Trustees, said it was his duty as keynote speaker to provide graduates with real life advice and encourage them to have a plan for the next phase in their life story.
An alumnus, Shenkman said he saw the GW School of Business as “the launching pad” for success in his career.
“My story begins sitting in Monroe Hall in 1967 taking a course called ‘Case Studies in Strategic Planning’ where I was required to write a paper on my career goals and aspirations,” Shenkman said. “It was the best assignment I had ever completed in any undergraduate or graduate course. It made me really think about my future.”
He encouraged each graduate to develop a strategic life plan and identify realistic goals for the future.
“Today begins a new chapter in your life plan. May all your future chapters be filled with remarkable achievements,” he said.
2. “Time equals service, family equals inspiration”
Student speaker Luxi Liu asked graduates to listen as she addressed “two equations — time equals service and family equals inspiration.”
Liu said she saw how fellow classmates were able to make a difference and how it drove her to do the same.
“From the countless hours going to volunteer in low-income communities, to the very long weekends spent in the library developing an idea, from the hours spent talking with a friend in need, to reaching out to a classmate who hasn’t been in class for a while,” Liu said. “I realized the time spent serving others, the more meaningful my time was.”
3. Upholding the Legacy of George Washington
Linda Livingstone, dean of the business school, called the Class of 2015 “a very special class” because it is her first year working at GW.
She told graduates that when she was decorating her office, she wanted a special image reminding her how special GW is. She decided on a picture of George Washington at Valley Forge.
“I chose that image because it’s a touchstone for me, daily, of the legacy that we have the responsibility to build on here as faculty, as staff, as students, and now, as you leave here and become alumni, a legacy of leadership, of courage and a legacy of service,” she said.
4. ‘Make as much noise as you possibly can’
Vanessa Perry, interim associate dean for graduate programs at the school, concluded the ceremony by asking the graduates to “rise up and make as much noise as you possibly can.”
She then called each category of degree recipients and waited as they jumped into the air and cheered at the top of their lungs.
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