by Matt Charles
More than 3,000 people from around
the globe gathered at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business on Sunday, 18 May,
for the School's 58th Commencement Exercises.
Darden Dean Robert F. Bruner presided over
the ceremony. In his remarks to the graduates, he said that
"listening seems to be a failing art," referring to the number of
colleges and universities that over the past weeks rescinded
invitations to commencement speakers. "You might disagree with a
speaker, but it won't hurt you to listen," said Bruner.
Bruner urged the graduating Class of
2014 to look outside of what is familiar, absorb others' points of
view and "find what deeply resonates."
Among the more than 400 graduates
was Stephanie Scuderi, who delivered remarks on behalf of the Global MBA for Executives class.
Scuderi remembered back to Darden
orientation 22 months ago: "August 2012 was the last time we were
all together as one group — the full-time MBAs, the Executive MBAs
and the Global Executive MBAs," said Scuderi. "Countless hours of
distance classes, hundreds of hours of classes in windowless
conference rooms around the world. And yet, we never let it slow us
down. Darden has given us the tools to go the distance. The
distance run is now up to us."
MBA for Executives graduate
and student speaker Alfred "Gus" Nicoll then proposed a new
tradition — the Darden coin, based on the military practice of
minting challenge coins that embody service and teamwork. "It
begins here today, with us, on this stage. I hold in my hand a
magical coin, a golden ticket, a passport to the future. It
contains no intrinsic value, yet it is priceless," said Nicoll.
"Where will your Darden coin take you? What will your eyes see?
What will your hands touch? What will your heart feel? What will
your mind imagine? Whom will you serve? How will you honor the past
while creating the future?"
Brandon Guichard, elected speaker of
the full-time MBA program issued three
challenges to his classmates, framed by Darden values: find your
passion, always be grateful and live your life in the service of
"Whether we become business
executives or community leaders, the 400 of us have the capacity to
affect millions of lives and we can build a better world for our
children and for every future generation as long as we continue to
challenge each other to live as servant leaders," said
The Class of 2014 honored two Darden
professors by electing them faculty marshals, who granted degrees
and awards and led the procession down the Lawn. They were Gregory B. Fairchild, E. Thayer Bigelow Associate Professor of
Business Administration, and Bidhan L. Parmar, assistant professor in business
The students also elected James G. Clawson, Johnson
& Higgins Professor of Business Administration, and Robert E. Spekman, Tayloe Murphy Professor of Business
Administration, to serve as honorary faculty
Finals weekend for Darden graduates
was a three-day event. On Friday night, they gathered with families
and friends at a reception in Darden's Wilkinson Courtyard.
On Saturday, they listened to Super
Bowl champion Peyton Manning, who delivered the 2014 Valedictory Address. Manning, whose wife, Ashley, is 1997 graduate of the
U.Va. McIntire School of Commerce, urged the Class of 2014 to take
bold actions in making the world a better place. "Shake it up,"
said Manning. "You have the power to influence change in so many
ways that have never existed before. Make kindness a priority, not
a blurred line. You are the generation that can put ethics and
values back en vogue."
On Sunday morning, the graduates
participated in the University of Virginia's 185th Final
Exercises on the Lawn, presided over by President Teresa A.
Ray Mabus delivered the keynote address. Mabus is U.S. Secretary of the Navy, former
governor of Mississippi and ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Speaking of
U.S. Armed Forces members, Mabus said, "They are doing for others.
They are doing something beyond themselves. Some of them are
sitting with you today, students who have come back to school
through the GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program. Will you join them?
Will you serve — one of the hallmarks of this great university.
There are many ways to serve your country other than risking your
life. It's the service that matters. It's the service to others and
to those in need around the world. Do something outside of
President Sullivan conferred degrees
on Darden's doctoral and MBA candidates. "You have committed
yourselves to the University values of honor, service, diversity,
leadership and accountability to self and peers," said Sullivan.
"Today, you have lived what you have learned, and tomorrow, you
take the knowledge and tools that will enable you to lead in the
During Final Exercises, President
Sullivan recognized Darden Professor Fairchild and the six other
new alumni members of the Raven Society — the oldest and one of
U.Va.'s most prestigious honorary societies that sponsors
scholarships and fellowships in recognition of academic and
Towards the conclusion of the
ceremony, President Sullivan announced the class gift and
noted that the Darden School of Business Class of 2014 achieved 99
percent participation — the highest of all colleges at
To watch U.Va.'s Final Exercises,
visit the University of Virginia's major events archive.
About the Darden School of
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of the
world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive
Education programs. The unique Darden experience combines the case
study method, top-ranked faculty whose research advances global
managerial practice and business education, and a tight-knit
learning environment to develop responsible and complete leaders
who are ready to make an impact.
For questions or information,
contact Matt Charles or a member of the Communication team.
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