More than 300 students graduated from the Robert H. Smith School of Business on December 19, 2004. William Longbrake, PhD '76, vice chair at Washington Mutual, addressed graduates during the commencement ceremony, held at the Cole Student Activities Building. The school awarded approximately 250 bachelor's degrees, 80 master's degrees, and five doctoral degrees.
"For most of you, your lives will take twists and turns that you can hardly imagine today," said Longbrake in his keynote address. "Seek out a wide variety of experiences and learn from each of them. They will prepare you to deal with the unexpected. They will prepare you to take on enormous challenges. And, they will give you the ability to become successful and remarkable leaders."
Longbrake began his career at Washington Mutual in 1982 as chief financial officer, and then became chief financial officer at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1995. He returned to Washington Mutual in 1996 as vice chair and chief financial officer. In 2001, Longbrake was named chief financial officer of the year in the Driving Revenue Growth category by CFO magazine. He served as chief enterprise risk officer from 2002 to February 2004 and launched Washington Mutual's formal risk management function. He currently is senior advisor to the chief executive officer and the executive committee and is responsible for economic analysis and external relations industry associations, regulatory, governmental and housing government sponsored enterprises. Longbrake is currently a member of the Governor's Council of Economic Advisors for Washington State and the UW Business School Advisory Board. He also serves on the boards of the Washington Financial League, Americas Community Bankers and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle. He chairs the Housing Policy Council of the Financial Services Roundtable. Longbrake holds two masters degrees, in monetary economics and business administration, from the University of Wisconsin, and a PhD in finance from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.
The student speaker was Petar Raketic and the National Anthem was performed by Erica Saxton, both graduating seniors. Doctoral degrees were awarded to: Meghana Ayyagari, Sharyn Gardner, Steven Kramer, Jennifer Marrone, and Lei Zhou.
The Campus Convocation was held on December 18 in the Comcast Center.
William Longbrake's Speech Transcript [ PDF File ]