Former Dean Bill Mayer Speaks at Commencement
In a lively ceremony on May 22, 2009 at the Comcast Center, four PhDs, 100
executive MBAs, 300 MBA/MS, and 825 undergraduates graduated with business
degrees from the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Former Smith School Dean
William E. Mayer ’66, MBA ’67, delivered the keynote address as thousands of
friends and family members gathered to cheer on the newest Smith Terp alumni.
Bill Mayer, senior partner of Park Avenue Equity Partners and chairman
emeritus of the Aspen Institute, came to the University of Maryland for his
undergraduate business degree and then his MBA after serving as a first
lieutenant in the United States Air Force. After graduating, he began his career
at the First Boston Corporation, now Credit Suisse, and during his 23 years with
the company progressed from associate to president and chief executive officer.
He served as dean and a faculty member of the Smith School from 1992-97.
Mayer is widely influential and deeply respected in the world of finance, and
also at the University of Maryland. He serves as co-chair of
the Campaign for Maryland, which is raising $1 billion dollars to ensure the
university’s future. He has served as chairman of the university’s Board of
Trustees and is currently on its executive committee.
“I’ve been fascinated with the concept of leadership for a really long time,”
said Mayer in his commencement address.
He presented two homework lessons to graduates: (1) find your unique gift,
and (2) think back to when you really needed to “figure it out” all by yourself.
Understanding who you are and what makes you unique and different is vital to
becoming a sustainable leader, said Mayer: “All of us have a special distinctive
gift and it is important to identify it because it should be used in everything