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Parra, Dell Executive and Smith Alumnus, was Commencement Speaker

May 22, 2002
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collageParra's Speech

More than 900 Smith School students joined their families and friends in celebration at the school's spring commencement ceremony, Wednesday, May 22, 2002. Approximately 635 students applied for bachelor's degrees, 300 for master's degrees, and two for doctoral degrees. The Smith School ceremony was held in Cole Student Activities Building.

Deanparrafrank Howard Frank presided, and the guest speaker was Rosendo (Ro) Parra, '82 (marketing), senior vice president for Dell's Americas business. (Parra, right, with Dean Frank)

"While it is your day, I can't help but feel it is a fitting time for me to be here. Twenty years ago, I was standing right where you are today wearing a cap and gown waiting anxiously to get my diploma," said Parra. "I was ready ready to enter the eighties and a world of big hair, bad music and, to me, endless opportunity."

Parra shared three lessons with the graduates: (1) Never lose sight of the power of the great idea; (2) While there is a time and place for bold ideas and vision, there is also time and place for relentless execution; and (3) With good fortune comes both obligation and opportunity.

"Dean Frank told me that you have been one of the most engaged classes he has ever seen and I'd ask you not to stop now," said Parra. "Mentor those who are less fortunate. Give your time to your community. Support friends in need. Be an activist on those issues that you care about."

Parra is responsible for the Dell Americas units serving corporate, government, education, healthcare, consumer, and small and medium business customers in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. He also is responsible for Dell's services business and for Dell's manufacturing operations in Austin and Nashville.

Creatingberman balance in life is essential, said student speaker and general business graduate Brian Berman (pictured right, with Assistant Dean Pat Cleveland).

"This past year, in particular, has taught us that family, country, and faith are vital to our internal happiness," said Berman. "It has also taught us of the fleeting passage of time; how we often don't realize what we have until it is gone."

Graduating Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA, Berman, of Potomac, Md., is a College Park Scholar and received the Smith School's Top Senior General Business Award at this month's Undergraduate Awards Banquet. Berman plans to join his family's real estate management company after taking off the summer to move into a new home with his wife, and to prepare for the birth of their first child.

The general University of Maryland Convocation was held on Thursday, May 23, 2002, in Cole Student Activities Building. William K. Marimow, editor and senior vice president of The (Baltimore) Sun and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, delivered the commencement address.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.