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Isenberg’s Culture and Community Praised at Graduation Events
May 12, 2016
“No matter where we go, no matter what we do, we carry the Isenberg brand with us,” Senior Class Speaker Stephanie Berenson ’16 told an audience of over 4000—graduating seniors, their families, and Isenberg faculty and staff—at Isenberg’s Senior Celebration at the Mullins Center on May 7. “We are part of each other. We are each other’s network, and one day, as graduates, we will be a resource for Isenberg students just as alumni have been for us,” emphasized the dual marketing/journalism major.
Deftly emceed by Isenberg Undergraduate Dean Linda Shea, the 90-minute event showcased a processional by Isenberg’s deans and faculty, and around 1000 graduating seniors, who received University of Massachusetts commemorative medals. It also featured remarks by the school’s dean, Mark Fuller, who shared Isenberg’s recent Bloomberg Businessweek rankings: #1 public business school in the northeast; #11 public business school nationally; and #33 business school overall.
Being part of this community has been one of the best things to ever happen to us.
In her remarks, Stephanie, who joins Vistaprint as a marketing specialist after graduation, underscored Isenberg’s unique culture and community. “Even if you’ve never met an Isenberg [student or graduate] before and you find out they are or were in Isenberg, there is an immediate connection, a sense of pride and camaraderie,” she said. “The support, encouragement, positive energy, and tenacity that drives our hunger to succeed comes directly from each other. Being part of this community has been one of the best things to ever happen to us!”
Seconding that motion, Dean Fuller added: “We have to tell the story about what we are; what we’ve achieved. I need you to impart that narrative; to help us grow,” he emphasized while introducing a seamlessly crafted 90-second video that resonated with Isenberg and its culture. “That’s all of us. It’s in our DNA—All these things that we do as a school,” he remarked. “I urge you as graduates to serve as ambassadors for us and to open doors for our students and your fellow alumni!”
Graduate Students Honored
Two nights before, Isenberg honored its 472 graduating master’s degree students (MBA and M.S.) and its 14 graduating Ph.D. students with a reception in the University’s Integrated Learning Center. The school’s MBA graduates represented its Full-time, Online, and Part-time programs. Online students came from as far away as Australia, many of them meeting their professors in person for the first time.
An hour before the reception, graduating master’s degree students assembled for the MBA Oath Ceremony, pledging to "create value responsibly and ethically.” In a separate ceremony, Isenberg’s graduating Ph.D. candidates participated in the school’s first Ph.D. robing ceremony, accepting gifts of custom-tailored robes from the school. The next morning (May 6), the same students received complementary hoods at UMass campus’s Graduate Convocation, which also awarded degrees to Isenberg’s graduating master’s degree students.
UMass Undergraduate Commencement
Later in the day, the University’s Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony at McGuirk Stadium offered an expanded Isenberg presence. Wayne Chang, an entrepreneur and advocate for Isenberg’s Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, was the event’s keynote speaker. Wayne received an honorary doctorate in business. A second honorary doctorate went to Sheila C. Bair, a former professor of financial policy at Isenberg who became head of the FDIC in June of 2006. (Today, she is president of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.) And graduating operations and information management senior Bianca Tamaskar ’16 earned recognition as a Jack Welch Scholar.
In his remarks, Wayne Chang urged the gathering’s 5,500 seniors to “make your own rules; hack the system; and change the world. I didn't let other people define the rules," he continued. “Don’t let other people box you in." A former UMass Amherst student (2002-2005) whose coursework spanned computer science and business, Wayne moved from Taiwan to Haverhill at age six and wrote his first computer program at age seven.
At UMass, he founded his own social networking business, i2Hub, in his dorm room. He left UMass when the business became too demanding and subsequently founded a series of start-ups. In 2013, he sold Crashlytics, which he had founded in 2011, to Twitter for $100 million. Today, he divides his time as a product manager at Twitter and an angel investor. A fiercely independent millennial with an eye toward technological empowerment, Wayne left his student audience with a challenge to embrace responsibility: "Everything you do for someone else,” he said, “has the potential to transform someone's life."