On Dec. 20, 2017, 778 students graduated from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The commencement ceremony was held at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Md. The entire ceremony is available online. Watch now.
“The occasion of your commencement is a time to celebrate journeys, to celebrate beginnings and endings, and all the amazing things that happened in between,” said Alex Triantis, dean of the Smith School, in his opening remarks. “Today, we will look back on your journey and look forward to your future.”
Graduating senior Jessica Ting and Master of Science candidate You (Rex) Wu made remarks. Afterward, University of Maryland alumna Connie Weaver ’75, co-founder and CEO of Tracker Group, delivered the keynote address.
Weaver recently retired from TIAA, where she was the executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer, and founded Tracker Group, a strategic management consulting firm. She has her bachelor’s degree with honors in textile science and marketing from the University of Maryland. She also completed the executive financial management program at Stanford University and the global strategic management program at IMEDE (Switzerland).
Weaver offered three ideas to help graduates unlock their potential.
First, aspiring leaders should take risks and embrace failure. “Failure stings less when you appreciate how it can grow you,” she said. “I learned early on to appreciate growth through failure. If you fail forward, fail quickly and learn, you will come out of it with more to give."
Second, aspiring leaders should build lifelong friendships with career sponsors. “It's not about mentors. it's about sponsors,” she said. "Sponsors are people who will be with you for life. … You get as much as you give.”
Third, aspiring leaders should anticipate detours. “Career growth is hardly ever linear,” she said.
She compared the journey to climbing a rock wall. “You can’t go straight up when you climb that rock wall,” she said. “You’re going to go up, sideways, down, and then back up to get to the top.”
Join the commencement conversation on social media at #SmithGrad.
- Alissa Arford, Office of Marketing Communications