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2005 Convocation Ceremonies

The College of Business held its twenty-sixth convocation on May 14, celebrating the more than 600 bachelors and 400 graduate degrees to be awarded at the campus ceremony the following day. The College hosted three ceremonies: for all graduates, for MBA graduates, and for degree recipients in the MS in Finance and MS in Business Administration programs.

A Shared Corporate Experience

At the Assembly Hall ceremony, Dean Avijit Ghosh welcomed the graduates and their families to the convocation. Noting that the degrees would be officially conferred the next day, he said that the College ceremony "allows more opportunity for an individual expression and recognition. It allows a degree of personal recognition of a very important achievement and milestone."

Matthew Paull, senior vice president and CFO of McDonald's Corporation, delivered the convocation address that focused on his colleague, friend, and boss, Jim Cantalupo, a 1966 graduate of the College of Business. Cantalupo had a long and successful career at McDonald's, retiring in the late 1990s. When McDonald's began to struggle in 2002, the company turned to the retired Cantalupo, who accepted the challenge and was named CEO. Said Paull:

"Jim installed a strategy centered on being better, not bigger. He put in place a three-year plan to restore the operations excellence and leadership marketing that had once been the company's hallmark. And he sent a tough message about the need for strict financial discipline. He told short-term investors looking for a quick fix to invest elsewhere and set about instilling a back-to-basics philosophy in the company. … Jim's approach was to make no promises but to deliver much-improved store-level execution and a much more relevant brand.

Imagine a 60-year-old retiree returning to the company he loved and teaching that company how to stay 'forever young.' He did it, and it worked. Sales skyrocketed, the stock soared and the accolades began rolling in."

Sadly Cantalupo died in 2003 of a sudden and massive heart attack just before the company's worldwide conference for franchisees, employers, and suppliers that was expected to highlight the corporation's turn-around.

From his observations of his colleague's career as well as his own, Paull shared some life lessons with the class of 2005: define your own happiness, take the road less traveled, and look beyond the job. A 1975 alumnus of Illinois, Paull urged graduates to do three things: "know what makes you happy and don't let others define happiness for you, believe in something and bring passion to that belief, and work for an organization that stands for more than making money." He also thanked the College for "life-long friends, life-long values, and a solid foundation for decision making."

In closing he remarked that "I can't help but envy the feeling I know you all must have-- hope, excitement and that wonderful feeling of unknown anticipation."

"We Wish You Well"

David Gilmartin, president of the College of Business Alumni Association, also addressed the graduates, offering his best wishes and expressing his hope that the graduates would remain connected to the College. "Our reputation as a top tier business school derives directly from your successes," he said. "Your participation will make us better."

Dean Ghosh closed the ceremony by advising the graduates "to go out into the world and grow, learn, and excel. We wish you well and keep in touch."

MBA Programs: The Three "P"s

Alan Feldman '74, MBA '76, was the guest speaker at the MBA and Executive MBA convocation held in the Great Hall of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Feldman, president and CEO of Midas International Corp, offered graduates his thoughts on what will provide them with success and happiness in the years to come: passion, pride, and people.

For passion, Feldman noted that you have to love what you do and believes from personal experience that it is possible to make a job exciting. "Passion does not always come automatically. Sometimes, you need to find a way to get excited about your work."

Speaking of pride, his message was simple: "Never, ever, do something you're not proud to put your name on." He also advocated being "proud out loud. ... Because, ultimately, leadership isn't only about making the right decisions, it's about making sure people feel great about who they are and what they're doing."

Feldman offered many dimensions to the people part of his success and happiness equation -- from remembering that any business, ultimately, is about people, to working and collaborating with colleagues, to balancing work and family. "What will mean the most to you along the way," he said "are the people who share that journey with you."

Sean Heather EMBA '05 was the student speaker for the Executive MBA program and Katie Jolley MBA '05 was the student speaker for the MBA program. CBAA's David Gilmartin spoke to the graduates about their new role as an alumnus of the College of Business.

MSF and MSBA Programs

The MS in Finance and Business Administration convocation was held in Smith Hall on May 13. Jon Anda '79, head of the corporate finance group at Morgan Stanley, was the guest speaker.

Karen D. Kalal and Ginny Hudak-David
--May 2005