Graduation 2019

With excitement buzzing throughout Blacksburg, Virginia Tech’s class of 2019 gathered in Lane Stadium on the morning of May 17th to commemorate the end of their undergraduate careers. After a rainy commencement ceremony, the Hokie graduates were sent off to attend the ceremonies of their respective colleges. At 3:30 pm, students and faculty from the Pamplin College of Business gathered in Cassell Coliseum to begin their traditional graduation ceremony.

Throughout the afternoon, Dean Robert T. Sumichrast lead commencement by presenting over 1,000 students with their esteemed business degrees. Finance, Business Information Technology and Marketing were a few of the most popular majors among Pamplin graduates – and two of them were also within the five most-popular majors offered at the university.

Before bestowing each student with their hard-earned diploma, Dean Sumichrast introduced the distinguished Pamplin faculty and congratulated the new graduates on their accomplishments. “Your success is very important to us, and an important part of our mission is to help you achieve your goals in life,” he stated. “As of Monday, over ninety percent of you, our graduates, reported having received job offers and accepted job offers,” he announced.

Following the Dean’s remarks, Caroline Rector, the college’s 2019 Outstanding Senior, was introduced to address the class. Rector advised her fellow students to take pride in their accomplishments, say ‘yes’ to challenges and to cherish every moment. “I learned that it isn’t necessarily about creating a definitive path but being smart and strategic about the steps you take,” she said. “This is the time for passion, growth, and knowledge. Not the time for continuous compromise.”

As the ceremony processed, the college’s award recipients and honor graduates were recognized before the afternoon’s keynote speaker, Mr. Brad Casper, took to the podium. As a 1982 magna cum laude graduate from Pamplin, Casper went on to build a dynamic business career for himself and currently serves as CEO of OH Partners advertisement agency – one of the fastest growing companies in The United States for six consecutive years.

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As a business executive, Casper has run big companies and smaller ones in a range of industries. He has led such major brands as Tide, Dial, Olay, Pampers, Pantene, and Arm & Hammer — serving as president and CEO of The Dial Corporation in Scottsdale, Arizona; as president of Church & Dwight in Princeton, New Jersey; and in various leadership positions at home and abroad at Procter & Gamble for more than 16 years. While delivering his remarks, Casper emphasized the importance of establishing your personal brand.

“Your personal brand should be the most important one in your lives,” he stated. “Too often, young professionals don’t think of themselves as brands, but you are...and whether you’re in accounting, management, finance, or BIT, each of you needs to be great at positioning and marketing yourselves,” he said. Casper further explained that a strong personal brand is one that is rooted in a person’s core values, and that is continuously reinvented to overcome adversity and meet the needs of a changing world.

With Mr. Casper’s words in mind, the class of 2019 proceeded to the stage to receive their degrees. Upon conclusion of the ceremony, Dean Sumichrast introduced the Pamplin 2019 Graduation Video, created by the student organization, VT Prism and thanked everyone.

As these newly-named alumni leave the university to impact the world of business, no matter where they go, they will always be part of the Pamplin College of Business Family.