Commencement speakers urge grads to use business to change the world

Undergraduates getting ready for the big moment.

Undergraduates backstage get ready for the big moment. Photo: Noah Berger

Hundreds of UC Berkeley Haas School of Business graduates walked the stage at the Greek Theatre last week, celebrating May commencement as speakers shared a common theme: now more than ever, business has the power—and responsibility—to change the world.

Last Monday, in the morning chill, 350 Berkeley Haas undergraduates received diplomas. On Friday afternoon, as the sun broke through the clouds, both the Full-time MBA students and evening & weekend students came together for commencement. Graduates included a total of 249 full-time MBA students and 309 evening & weekend MBA students.

Dean Rich Lyons, who delivered welcoming remarks during both commencements for the final time before wrapping up 11 years as dean to return to the faculty, spoke of the impact of the school’s culture and Defining Leadership Principles (DLPs): Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself.

“Taken in whole, these Defining Leadership Principles reflect who you have been as students,” he told the MBA graduates. “And I know they will serve as guideposts for you going forward. Use them to create purpose for yourselves and those around you.”

Undergraduate Commencement Highlights

Undergrad commencement speakers Nikhil Arora and Alejandro (Alex) Velez, BS 09, founders of Back to the Roots, urged students to change how business is done. "We've learned and experienced how the rules of capitalism are being rewritten. A new form of capitalism is emerging. The status quo is no longer enough in business."

Undergrad commencement speakers Nikhil Arora and Alejandro (Alex) Velez, BS 09, founders of Back to the Roots, tell grads: “We’ve learned and experienced how the rules of capitalism are being rewritten. A new form of capitalism is emerging. The status quo is no longer enough in business.”

Asha Culhane-Husain

Undergraduate student speaker and varsity track & field athlete Asha Culhane-Husain, who is moving to Paris after commencement to pursue her master’s degree, gave part of her speech in spoken word format. “Haas class of 2018, to stand here is to stand in front of an audience full of leaders, truth seekers, and dreamers.”

Dean Lyons receives Culture of Haas award at undergraduate commencement.

Dean Lyons receives a standing ovation while accepting the Culture of Haas award at undergraduate commencement. Photo: Noah Berger

See you at reunion!

See you at reunion! (That’s Angela Escobedo, BS 18)

Watch the full ceremony:

Undergraduate Awards

  • Departmental Citation (to the student with the most outstanding academic achievement in the field of business): Nitisha Baronia
  • Question the Status Quo: Daniel Shepard
  • Confidence Without Attitude: Austin Drake
  • Students Always: Stephanie Pin-Shin Huang
  • Beyond Yourself: Michael Wong
  • Culture of Haas Award: Dean Rich Lyons
  • Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching: Lecturer Cort Worthington

Full-time and Evening & Weekend MBA Commencement Highlights

Behind the scenes at the Greek.

Ready to roll.

The scene on the floor of the Greek.

Paul Rice, MBA 96 and president & CEO of Fair Trade USA, spoke about conscious consumerism and the power every person has to make change. "The world desperately needs you. The world of your children desperately needs you. Never has there been more opportunity for a generation of purposeful business leaders to go out and make a difference."

Dean Lyons, left, with commencement speaker Paul Rice, MBA 96 and president & CEO of Fair Trade USA. Rice spoke about conscious consumerism and the power every person has to make change. “The world desperately needs you. The world of your children desperately needs you. Never has there been more opportunity for a generation of purposeful business leaders to go out and make a difference.” Photo: Tenny Frost

Watch the full ceremony:

"The biggest lesson I have learned here at Haas is that leadership is the act of service." EWMBA class 2018 commencement speaker Amelia Rose Kusar

“The biggest lesson I have learned here at Haas is that leadership is an act of service.” —Evening & weekend MBA student speaker Amelia Rose Kusar

"The opposite of confidence isn't uncertainty—it's arrogance." Haas MBA 2018 commencement speaker Jeffrey Thomas Webb .

“The opposite of confidence isn’t uncertainty—it’s arrogance.” —Full-time MBA student speaker Jeffrey Thomas Webb

Evening & Weekend MBA Awards

Academic Award: Dmitry Kovalev

Question the Status Quo:

Pedro Moura & Miles Scotcher 

Confidence Without Attitude:

Anthony Barrs

Students Always: Bill Collins

Beyond Yourself: Myles Young Lam

The Berkeley Leader Award: Candice Madruga Knoll

Full-time MBA Awards

Academic Award: John Richard Morgan

Question the Status Quo: Erin Nikole Gums

Confidence Without Attitude:

Gabriela Belo

Students Always: Liz Koenig

Beyond Yourself: Tal Eidelman

The Berkeley Leader Award:

Om Dattatraya Chitale

Cheit Awards for Excellence in Teaching

  • Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program: Prof. Xiao-Jun Zhang for weekend and Senior Lecturer Holly Schroth for evening
  • Full-time Berkeley MBA Program: Asst. Prof. Juliana Schroeder
  • PhD Program: Asst. Prof. Omri Even-Tov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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