An enthusiastic crowd gathered in Comcast Center on December 21, 2006, to cheer on a brand-new crop of proud Smith School alumni. Richard Schaeffer 74, chairman of NYMEX Holdings, Inc., and the New York Mercantile Exchange, joined in the congratulations and urged his fellow business school alumni to persevere in the pursuits of their post-graduation goals.
Like most accounting majors I knew, it was practically pre-ordained that I become an accountant, Schaeffer told students, recalling when he graduated from the University of Maryland's business school. But it wasn't a career that suited him, and Schaeffer spent the next 11 years moving on to a number of different jobs, looking for the one that would click. He was 31 before his first taste of the commodities market. At that moment, said Schaeffer, he knew he had found the arena in which he wanted to work for the rest of his life.
Schaeffer went on to phenomenal success in his late-chosen field. He has served on the NYMEX Board for the past 16 years, and last fall he led its $383.5 million Initial Public Offering the most successful IPO in the history of the New York Stock Exchange. Today NYMEX is the worlds largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals.
So if you don't move right into your dream job, don't despair. Learn from it, and keep moving forward, counseled Schaeffer.
Schaeffer also urged graduates to be active in giving and mentoring within their spheres of influence. Schaeffer has expended significant time, treasure and effort to provide leadership for children's charitable causes. He has been recognized as the Chai Lifeline Man of the Year in 2005 and the United Cerebral Palsys Distinguished Leader Award in 2006 in honor of his commitment to those causes.
This past summer he had the opportunity to mentor Smith Undergraduate Student Association (SUSA) president Jesse Chen during Chens internship at NYMEX. Mentoring is the second best education you'll ever receive, after the one you got here at the Smith School, said Schaeffer. [Transcript of Schaeffer's speech]
Undergraduate speaker Anthony Meni credited the outstanding facilities, enthusiastic faculty and his diverse and talented fellow students for making his Smith School experience special. There was a level of respect for students from every faculty member, said Meni. [Transcript of Meni's speech]
Graduate speaker Brett Loubert said that after finishing his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, his intent was to never return to school again. But after a few years in the work world, he discovered that I had no idea what a balance sheet was or how to be global, he said. What I've learned has already accelerated my career. Sometimes his MBA education benefited him in ways Loubert didn't expect. Shortly after taking his first human capital course with Jeff Kudisch, Distinguished Tyser Teaching Fellow,
Loubert was in the position of having to interview candidates for his first direct report. A little stymied at the prospect, Loubert e-mailed Kudisch. Within minutes Kudsich called and spent an hour on the phone with Loubert, helping him to prepare for the interview. [Transcript of Loubert's speech]
During the commencement ceremony, business degrees were awarded to undergraduates, MBAs and PhDs. PhDs were awarded to Heather Adams, Meredith Burnett, Qing Cao, Jay Carson, Pamela Donovan, Kok-Hua Loh, Tashfeen Sohail, Yufeng Tu, and Zheng Wang. Undergraduate Barbara Sumrall performed the National Anthem.
Graduates, please visit the Smith eAlumni Network to keep in touch:http://www.alumninetwork.rhsmith.umd.edu.
Smith Commencement DVD
A DVD recording of the Smith School commencement ceremony -- including the processional, speeches and announcement of graduates -- can be obtained for$30.00 ($25 plus $3.75 shipping and handling and $1.25 sales tax for Maryland residents only). Make check payable to Kitay Productions,110 Painters Mill Road, Suite 21, Owings Mills, MD 21117. Mention "Smith School of Business 2006 Winter Commencement" and provide your shipping address. For more information, please visit www.kitayproductions.com.
▓ Rebecca Winner, Senior Writer & Editor, Office of Marketing Communications