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Isenberg Graduation Celebrations Launch Students on Exciting Career Paths
May 18, 2018
At the 2018 Senior Celebration, Dean Mark Fuller shared a memorable conversation he had with a Fortune 500 CEO who expressed tremendous admiration for Isenberg students. The CEO told him “We sprinkle Isenberg graduates around our organization to show others how to work,” Fuller said at the May 12th celebration at the Mullins Center which held an audience of 1,200 graduating seniors and their 6,500 family members and friends. “That work ethic,” the dean said, “is our DNA, our brand.” At the celebration, each graduate received a commemorative medal and congratulations on stage from their department chair and the dean.
Dean Fuller conveyed his conversation with the CEO to illustrate grit—one of four characteristics that, he insisted, characterizes Isenberg students. The other three, he continued, are intelligence, interpersonal skills, and generosity. “You’re smart enough to get in here,” he told the students, citing this year’s GPA for entering freshmen at 4.06 and SAT at 1370. “You also have great interpersonal skills to excel as change agents and leaders. And I’m counting on you as alumni for mentoring, hiring, and scholarships. It’s your responsibility to pay it forward. All the great, iconic business schools have alums that advocate for the next generation of graduates,” he said.
Sadly, the 2018 Senior Celebration was Fuller’s last. In July, he will bring his strategic gifts across Haigis Mall as UMass Amherst’s new Vice Chancellor of Development and Alumni Affairs. The good news, he told the students at the end of his remarks, is that as vice chancellor, he will stay connected with them as alumni. That was when, on cue, Class Speaker Erin Messier ’18 appeared on stage with a poster-size farewell card signed by many of her classmates.
In her own remarks to the gathering, Erin, an Isenberg management major, recalled words of wisdom from the school’s namesake, Eugene Isenberg. He advised, Erin recalled, that you need to find what you love to do. Then success will come. “You may or may not find what you love right away. The ingredients for success may come in parts,” she observed. “We have the drive to be successful; the skills to move forward,” added Erin, who as president of the student group, Women of Isenberg, presided over its first sold-out annual conference. Following graduation, Erin will work as an allocation analyst at TJX, where she excelled as an intern. “How many of you have jobs after graduation? Please raise your hands,” she asked her fellow students. In response, most hands in the student seating area went up. No surprise: 76% of Isenberg’s graduating class had already secured employment.
The celebration’s M.C. was William Brown, who succeeded Linda Shea as Isenberg’s undergraduate dean in January. “Although you are leaving the university, you are members for life in the Isenberg family as you join the Isenberg network’s nearly 43,000 members,” he told the graduating seniors. “We’ll be looking for you at next year’s alumni events and look forward to staying connected with you as your careers unfold.” Reflecting on Dean Fuller’s exceptional ten years at Isenberg, Brown added, “The Dean was right there in the trenches with us—leading but getting his hands dirty too. And while he was leading the school to new heights in the rankings, he made sure he was deeply involved with Isenberg’s lifeblood—its students.”
Graduate Degree Celebrations
On Friday morning, 630 Isenberg graduate candidates received degrees in a campus-wide commencement ceremony for graduate students. Isenberg awarded 521 masters degrees—418 MBAs (full-time and part-time/online), 109 MS degrees in accounting, and 94 MS degrees in business analytics. In the fiftieth year of Isenberg’s doctoral program, the school also awarded nine PhD degrees.
The previous evening, a lavish on-campus reception for master’s and PhD graduates attracted 600 guests, including students, their families, Isenberg faculty, and staff. Before the event, Isenberg PhD graduates participated in a robing ceremony and MBA students shared in an MBA oath ritual. For many of the online MBA students, the festivities offered another milestone—their first visit to Isenberg and the UMass Amherst campus.