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Smith Commencement: Highlights

May 21, 2014
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An enthusiastic crowd gathered in Comcast Center on May 22 and May 23, 2014, to cheer on a brand-new crop of proud Smith School alumni. The Smith School celebrated the commencement of 850 undergraduate students, 230 MBA students, 220 MS and MFin students, and 10 doctoral students.

For the first time, the school held separate ceremonies for undergraduate and doctoral students, MBA students, and MS and MFin students. This allowed students and their families to participate in shorter and more intimate ceremonies.

Bruce Richards, CEO and managing partner of Marathon Asset Management, was the keynote speaker at the Friday morning undergraduate ceremony. Richards started his career with Paine Webber, worked at Shearson Lehman Hutton, later known as Lehman Brothers, and spent 10 years as managing director in the fixed income divisions of Smith Barney and Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette, where he was head of a trading desk responsible for principal investments and market-making. Today, his company manages over $10 billion of capital, focused on investing in credit fixed income markets globally.

Richards described his humble beginnings in Brooklyn, N.Y. and his youth in Greenbelt, Md. His working-class parents encouraged him to work hard, but after graduating from college he found himself jobless. It took him six months of determined job-hunting to get his first job as a trading analyst for the federal government. He worked during the days and studied to improve his skills every evening. Within a year he was able to take that experience and parlay it into his first job on Wall Street.

Richards urged graduates to likewise throw themselves into their jobs right from the beginning. “Make your credo ‘all in, all the time.’ Become the expert at what you do. People at your company will begin to notice that you’re an expert, and that will get you your next promotion and next job,” said Richards.

He reminded them to be resilient in the face of roadblocks: “Terps have hard shells. Use that when you run into difficulties.” Read Bruce Richards's speech (PDF).

Dean Alexander J. Triantis was the keynote speaker at both the MBA and MS commencement ceremonies. He also urged students to take advantage of difficult situations: “Don’t miss the opportunity that comes from disruption. Take all those critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills you acquired at Smith, and use them to make something good – for you, for your organization, and for the world,” he said.

Undergraduate student Austin Lee, MS in Accounting student Aden Abiye, part-time MBA student Andrew Cooney, full-time MBA student Semret Lemma, and MBA and MFin student Douglas Wink also delivered remarks.

For those unable to attend this year’s Smith Commencement ceremonies, you may view them at the following links:

Check back soon for photos!

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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.