On the afternoon of Friday May 11th, Blacksburg welcomed families with a beautiful sunny afternoon, and Dean Robert Sumichrast greeted nearly 1,100 students who completed Pamplin degrees to their final festivity as undergraduate students.
Ceremonies to celebrate those who received their MBA, specialized masters and Ph.D. degrees were held on Thursday, and ceremonies for those who earned degrees in the NCR were held on Sunday.
Sumichrast unveiled the vision for Pamplin as a college focused on becoming a global leader in business analytics and innovation.
“The business community knows that Pamplin graduates bring a relevant education, and the right attitude. Skills and attitude are two reasons why Pamplin has one of the best placement records in the country. The proportion of students seeking employment, who have permanent job offers by or shortly after graduation continues to increase as does starting salary,” he explained.
The ceremony continued with a moving speech by Erin Kocis, Pamplin’s Outstanding Senior, who spoke of her rewarding journey the past few years. Dr. Lara Khansa, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, then announced top honors students and gave sound advice from Charles Schwab, one of the most successful business leaders of all time, who once said: “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement…I never criticize anyone… If I like anything, I am hearty in my appreciation and lavish in my praise.”
As the afternoon continued, Pamplin welcomed Commencement Speaker, Lynne Doughtie, who is the U.S. Chairman and CEO of KPMG, one of the world’s leading professional services firms. Earlier that day, she also received the 2018 University Distinguished Achievement Award during Commencement. In her speech, she highlighted that there
has never been a more exciting time to be a graduate and echoed the famous words of Mark Twain: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
Students shook hands with faculty, and listened to thoughtful speeches that inspired and motivated all. Brett Hugel, a Business Information Technology student who graduated Summa Cum Laude, was thankful for Pamplin and all of the lessons he has learned in his time as a student.
“One thing I learned from my time at Pamplin is that sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to learn new things. That is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life,” Hugel said.
The ceremony closed with final words of wisdom and details to stay connected with Pamplin post-graduation. As they say, it’s never goodbye; it’s Hello Hokie Alumni.