Two thirds of the graduating class of the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program made a donation to the Haas Fund this year, helping to raise $34,000 for the school.
Forty-five of the 68 students who graduated Feb. 4 in Wheeler Hall contributed to the Haas Fund. The total raised includes company and new alumni challenge matches.
Thirteen Berkeley-Columbia students each donated more than $1,000, earning a celebratory graduation lunch with Dean Rich Lyons a day before their commencement ceremony.
Alumna Maura O'Neill, who graduated from the Berkeley-Columbia program in 2004, gave the commencement speech. O'Neill, the chief innovation officer and senior counselor to the administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), spoke to the graduates about being innovative business leaders. Before joining USAID, O'Neill served as a chief of staff and senior adviser in the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell. O'Neill has started four companies in the energy, education, and high-technology areas.
The student speaker at commencement, selected by his classmates, was James Fitzgibbon. The class recognized Robin Kwok with the Student Service Award for her outstanding service to the class and program. Students gave the Cheit Award to Professor Andrew Rose, who taught Global Economic Environment.
After the commencement ceremony, about 300 graduates, family, and friends celebrated their graduation from the 19-month program at a dinner at the Claremont Hotel.
The class included students who commuted from China and Colombia to attend classes. Ten students saw the birth of a child and several started companies or changed careers or jobs during the program. The graduates work in a wide range of industries, from high-tech to retail to nonprofit. Thirty eight percent of the class holds other advanced degrees.