Comcast Center was full of good cheer as the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business celebrated the commencement of 770 undergraduate students; 254 MBA students; 109 MS in Business and Management students; 12 Joint MS in Business and Management/MBA students; 10 Joint MS in Public Policy/MBA students; 13 doctoral students; and 21 custom Executive MBA students from SAIC on May 20, 2013.
Eric S. Francis ’71, president and CEO of CBMC Capital Business Maintenance Corporation, urged students in his commencement address to consider “what’s next” in their lives by actively pursuing what they want. “I dare you to find the truest answer to that question in the deepest part of your heart,” said Francis. “If you don’t allow yourself to dream of great, exciting and wonderful goals, they are not likely to happen.”
Francis also encouraged students to take meaningful, prudent risks. “It often is better to make a wrong decision – one that you can learn from and move on – than to make no decision at all,” said Francis.
Francis’ company, CBMC Capital Building Maintenance Corporation, is a full-service janitorial, custodial, concierge, patrol and allied services corporation that has been in operation for over 100 years. CBMC is a direct successor of the window cleaning company founded by Francis’ grandfather in downtown Newark, NJ, in 1898.
Francis graduated from the University of Maryland in 1971. After obtaining his law degree from Villanova University School of Law, he served as an attorney with the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. Later he returned to his family's business, Atlantic Building Maintenance Corporation, and as its president, was instrumental in its growth until the company’s sale in 1984. In 1982, Francis established what would become CBMC Capital Building Maintenance Corporation and later added WHC White House Concierge. He is a member of the bars of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, The Supreme Court of the United States and other Federal Courts.
Smith School undergraduate Manas Kulkarni and full-time MBA student Shantanu Chandra also delivered commencement remarks.
Kulkarni reminded his fellow graduates that success and failure are both points on the same learning curve. “Failure isn't the opposite of success; it is the prerequisite,” said Kulkarni.
“The Smith School is all about overcoming challenges,” said Chandra, as he reflected on the challenges involved in being an international student and how important the support of the Smith community was to him.
Video of the commencement ceremony is online at: www.rhsmith.umd.edu/WatchMeGraduate.
Rebecca Winner, Office of Marketing Communications