News at Smith

Congratulations to the Smith School’s Class of 2017

May 22, 2017


There was the usual pomp and circumstance, and quite a lot of excitement, as 1,200 students graduated from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business on Monday at the Xfinity Center on the university’s College Park campus, May 22, 2017.

Undergraduate Ceremony

At the undergraduate ceremony, graduating senior Cecelia Cizek sang the National Anthem and Kelly Cosgriff delivered the student address.

The keynote address was delivered by Richard Dickson ’90, who serves as president and chief operating officer at Mattel with responsibility for all aspects of the toymaker’s portfolio of iconic brands, including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, Monster High, and Thomas & Friends, as well as Toy Box, Mattel’s hub of toy innovation and invention.

Dickson told graduates he had a big dream when he graduated from the University of Maryland – he wanted to run a large company with well-known brands in California, and he wanted to have a family “and be able to give them everything I possibly could to make their life experiences wonderful.”

Dickson recalled how he went from bussing tables at SeaWorld in San Diego to leading one of the world’s most-loved toy brands, creating his own personal brand along the way.

“We each are defined by our own values, mission, character and boundaries,” he said. “Authentically living up to your promises and potential make your personal brand effective, and will make you more successful.”

He told the graduating students they can now stop focusing on their GPAs and start focusing on their GPS,  “The internal compass that helps you navigate the world and your career.”

“A lot changes in your life with this milestone today,” he told them, “but the most dramatic and most important change may be the firehose of decisions large and small you’ll now be facing every day. And that’s where personal brand management helps so much.”

Finally, he imparted some practical advice to the graduating students.

  1. Look people in the eye. Give them a firm handshake, a sincere smile and speak clearly
  2. Check your spelling
  3. Write thank you notes (on paper)
  4. Respect experience
  5. Think before you post
  6. Fail forward. Failure is inevitable; learn from it

Watch the full undergraduate ceremony.

Graduate Ceremony

At the graduate ceremony, Joseph Levin-Manning sang the National Anthem. Student speakers included Kevin Hannigan (full-time MBA), Aisha Hasan (part-time MBA) and Luye Yang (MS in marketing analytics).

Nine students received a doctorate degree. They were: Donald Bowen (finance), Xiaoyan Hu (finance), Dongwon Lee (information systems), Yang Pan (information systems), John Patrick Paraskevas (supply chain management), Siddarth Sharma (strategic management and entrepreneurship), Elijah X.M. Wee (organizational behavior/human resource management), Sijing Wei (accounting and information assurance), and Yue Zheng (accounting and information assurance).

Watch the full graduate ceremony.

Join the conversation online at #SmithGrad – Twitter: @SmithSchool – Instagram: @UMDSmithSchool.

Photos are on Facebook.

For more details and highlights from previous Smith School commencement ceremonies, visit

- Alissa Arford, Office of Marketing Communications

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, specialty master's, 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.

Robert H. Smith School of Business