College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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In the Classroom: Graduation Ceremonies for the Class of 2007


5/29/2007

Maintaining alumni connections, integrity and a stellar reputation were the underlying themes in the convocation and graduation ceremonies for the class of 2007. Three accomplished alumni addressed graduates, proud parents, friends, and families at the May 12th event.

“Success isn’t about luck, it’s about so much more,” said Karen J. May, Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources for Kraft Foods, in a commencement address entitled, “How to Be ‘So Lucky’.” (read transcript) She said that luck is what happens to people who share five characteristics.

“These lucky people have their own standards of right and wrong,” she said.  She advised graduates that their reputation is their most valuable asset and implored them to protect it “with a vengeance.” Treat people with respect, follow your heart in charting a career and make time for what you value, she stressed.  She emphasized the importance of striving to make a lasting difference, and added that “Lucky people don’t just do their jobs....they look for ways to have a meaningful impact. They strive to build a better outcome for the team versus as an individual. And for this, I have seen them rewarded and promoted time and time again.”

On behalf of the College of Business Alumni Association, Everett V. Westmeyer told graduates in his address that he is proud to be part of this time-honored ceremony and to reach out to fellow alumni (read transcript).

“You are probably asking yourselves, ‘What is an alumni association?’  ‘What does it mean to me?’ And, most importantly, ‘why should I join?’” he said.

He shared that the College of Business Alumni Association can help maintain relationships that graduates have already developed on campus, and can also help start new ones with alumni all over the country and world.

“The Alumni Association exists for you,” he said.  “I encourage you to take advantage of it.”

In a separate ceremony, Michael Tokarz, the chairman of MVC Capital and an MBA alumnus, congratulated MBA students on earning a degree from one of the most prestigious institutions in the world.  “You have built an incredible foundation upon which to build the edifice of your career!” he said (read transcript).

In his remarks he acknowledged the extreme demands and structure of the MBA program, but pointed out that graduates still have a lot of hard work ahead.  

“Now it is up to you to generate the syllabus, create and meet your own deadlines, and achieve the honor rolls in all semesters of your life,” he said.

He shared stories of how self-confidence has helped many professionals succeed, and emphasized that integrity and ethics are a must.

“Integrity is the cornerstone of your reputation,” he said. “There is no compromising on this one.  Although there will be many opportunities and temptations to cut a corner – Don’t do it!”

Commencement Transcripts:

Karen May - College of Business Commencement

Everett V. Westmeyer - College of Business Commencement

Michael Tokarz - MBA Commencement


UIUC College of Business