Spring 2022 Commencement
Pamplin College of Business Commencement 2022 Highlights
On May 12, 2022, under sunny blue skies, the Pamplin College of Business conferred over 1,000 bachelor's degrees during its two undergraduate commencement ceremonies. Dean Robert Sumichrast presided over the program, marking his final commencement ceremony before his retirement in summer 2022.
Starlette Johnson, 8:30 a.m. Commencement keynote
Starlette Johnson '85, chair of the board for the Virginia Tech Foundation, addressed the morning commencement ceremony. In her remarks, Johnson discussed how the formative experiences she gained as a Virginia Tech undergraduate student would go on to shape her personal and professional journeys in the corporate hospitality industry.
She offered three poignant learnings that she gleaned over the years that can serve as a compass for graduates navigating all stages of their careers. These insights include always ask for feedback; always keep learning and don’t be afraid to try out many different roles to discover your passion; and always remember the importance of serving others.
Starlette Johnson bio:
Starlette Johnson, who earned a degree in finance from Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, is founder and president of SBJ Advisory Group LLC, where she serves as a hospitality industry consultant to a host of public and private equity companies, industry service providers, and emerging brands.
Previously, she served in executive leadership roles at Twin Restaurant Holdings, Lucky Strike Entertainment, and Dave & Buster’s Inc. Johnson serves on the Pamplin Advisory Council cabinet and chairs its student engagement committee. She is also a member of the advisory board for the Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Chris Shean, noon Commencement keynote
Chris Shean '87, former Liberty Media executive, addressed attendees at Pamplin’s noon commencement ceremony.
In his remarks, Shean spoke to the guiding tenets critical to his personal and professional successes. Among these are don’t be afraid to take a chance and do something different - even if it disrupts life as you know it; the importance of seeking out mentors throughout your career, noting “Great things happen when you hitch your wagon to smart people;” and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone, after all, to quote a song from Hamilton, you want to be in the “room where it happens.”
Chris Shean bio:
During his time as a senior executive with Liberty Media and Liberty Interactive, Chris Shean oversaw accounting and treasury functions for numerous media and entertainment holdings, including Sirius XM Radio, QVC, and the Atlanta Braves Baseball Club. Prior to joining Liberty, Shean was a partner in KPMG’s assurance practice.
Shean, who earned a degree in accounting and information systems, is active on the Pamplin Advisory Council cabinet and was recently appointed to the Virginia Tech Foundation Board of Directors.
Haseb Alim, 2022 Pamplin Outstanding Senior Award recipient and student speaker
Haseb Alim, marketing major and recipient of Pamplin’s 2022 Outstanding Senior Award, addressed both commencement ceremonies. Alim spoke to the transformative experiences he had growing up in war-torn Afghanistan and how they continue to fuel his drive to serve others and pursue his academic and professional ambitions. He urged his fellow graduates to take risks, especially when they involve something you are passionate about, and to always keep a commitment to Ut Prosim at the heart of everything you do.