DePaul Kellstadt Graduate School of Business | Spring 2020 Online Commencement

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Congratulations,Class of 2020! -It’s graduation day.-You did it. You hunkered down,you studied hard. Today’s about you. Today is a celebration. Just look at allthat you’ve accomplished and succeeded in doingin your time at DePaul. You got yourself onthe Red Line or Brown Line, and got yourself down hereto Loop Campus classes. And just think: No more8:30 accounting classes. And now this past quarter, in the biggest pivot of all, you lifted each other up, you supported each other, you made it. I know this isnot the graduation you were anticipating, but the Class of 2020has been extremely resourceful, tough, and flexibleduring this time. I must say thatmy favorite memories with you were the everyday momentsthat we shared together. In all these moments,I saw you shine and demonstrate whatamazing students you are. As your professorsand mentors, we’re so proud of youand send you on your way with congratulations. Take a couple minutes. Think about that personfour years ago who started collegeas a freshman. And then takea really good look at who you are today.

I think, though,this is going to go down in history as the classthat has resilience, resourcefulness,and empathy. But I feel DePaul, unlike a lot of thosefluffy Ivy League colleges, will have you preparedfor the real world. Four long yearsare coming to an end. Enjoy the celebrationswith family and friends, ’cause you deserve it. You’re now a DePaul graduate. That’s who we havetaught you to become, and that’s why you choseto come to school here. And a special shoutout to all the graduatinginternational students. We’re so proud of youand wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Arrivederci! And bravi! Do stay in touchwith all of us, and keep on learning. Go out there,bet on yourself, and bet on DePaul. Fortune favors the bold. I hope you take allof these DePaul experiences with youon your crazy life journey. So, go on and doamazing things. We will miss youat DePaul, but you are readyto start making your imprintinto the world. You’ve done it!Celebrate. And now the funreally begins. ♪ We proudly present DePaul University’s121st Commencement Ceremonies. ♪ Members of the faculty, staff, administration, honored guests,and of course, our graduates, I’m Salma Ghanem,Interim Provost for DePaul University. Welcome to our121st commencement, DePaul’s very firstonline ceremony. We very much wish we couldall be together right now, and we plan to do soto celebrate together as soon as it’s safe. Until then, we celebrate todayin this online space because the DePaul communitywould never pass up an opportunity to applaud you,the Class of 2020, and your many accomplishments. Commencement is one ofthe most meaningful ceremonies of a student’s academic career, and a DePaul commencementis anything but ordinary. As a Catholic Vincentianuniversity, we share a commitmentto uphold the dignity of every single person, and we call thatVincentian personalism. Just like we do every year,each student will be recognized. We want to give every studenttheir moment because that’s the DePaul way. It’s also why we encourageall the students, family members,and friends watching to stay until the end, especially because our ceremonywill conclude with a special alumni guest, Joe Keery from the hit Netflixseries, “Stranger Things.” Now, we know thatthe Class of 2020 faced many challengesthis past quarter. In a matter of days, you had to pivotto all remote learning. Many of you had to dashback home.

Through it all, though, you demonstrated patienceand understanding as your facultytransitioned to teach more than 4,000 classesremotely. Your world was turnedupside-down, but you persevered. That’s not surprising to us because throughout your timeat DePaul, you navigated obstaclesand rose to the challenge. How? Well, throughout your timeat DePaul, your class dedicatedat least 300,000 hours to academic internships; 2,559 of you are membersof the Honor Society; 200 undergraduate studentsin the Class of 2020 completed double majors; more than a thousand of you, or roughly about 17 percentof your graduating class, participated instudy abroad programs; you danced more than 70 hoursfor DemonTHON, raising approximately $811,000 for Lurie Children’s Hospitalof Chicago; your Theatre School presentedmore than 300 productions, and the School of Music offerednearly 1,000 performances. Yeah, and yes,you also helped consume two million meals served on our Lincoln Parkand Loop Campuses, all during your time at DePaul. If you’re watchingtoday’s ceremony, though, with a loved one, a friend,or a family member, turn to them nowand say, “Thank you,” and if you’re physically apartfrom many of the ones you love, take a momentand send them a message to express your gratitude. Don’t ever forgetall the people who helped you getto this moment in your academic career, including, of course,the faculty and staff who shared their talentand wisdom with you. Now, it is your responsibility to carry their teachingsforward. On behalf of the entireDePaul community, congratulations! We can’t wait to seewhat you do next. Now it’s my privilegeto introduce Reverend Guillermo Campuzano,Congregation of the Mission, and Vice Presidentof Mission and Ministry, who will delivertoday’s invocation, followed by the National Anthemsung by John Concepcion. For those who wish to do so,please join me in prayer. Loving God,today is graduation day, a passage, a completion,a new beginning. Today, we pray in thanksgiving for DePaul University’sClass of 2020. Our students,with the help of faculty, staff, family, and friends,have met the challenges and kept the faith to the commitmentsof their studies, and they’re becomingthe kind of people they want to and can bein our society. God, the graduationof this year happens in the contextof the most challenging events of our generation.

It is in the challenging momentsthat You refine us. The joy that our studentsare experiencing today cannot be stolen. We will do well to remember that nothing can stealour joy and our peace when they are a giftthat comes from our inner self. Please, do not allowour many trials of today, as difficult as they may seem, to distract usfrom rejoicing and celebrating this meaningful momentin the lives of so many in our DePaul family. In this context,it can be tempting for us to forget to be joyful, yet it is in the challengingmoments of life that you prove yourself close,friendly, faithful. You are always with us. Our joy today is not derivedfrom our comfort, but it is a joythat is happening despite our uncomfort in this,our distance, our inability to gather,to hug, and to say goodbye. Our joy comes from our belief that no matterwhat is happening, none of us is alone. We will continue to reach outand to support each other. Please, dear God,continue to educate us all, especiallyour graduating students, and shape us more completely into the human beingswe need to be to go throughthe fire together and to prevailas one human family. Good and loving God,please bless and guide our graduatesas they reach this end and as they chartnew beginnings. May what they have learnedby being here, with usin our Vincentian classrooms, allow them to truly bewomen and men for others. May what we have learnedfrom them enable us to be the same. Please help our graduatesuse all that they have learned to serve othersin true solidarity and kindness, to seek ways to help the poor,the marginalized, and those who are suffering, and to always seekthe greater good and make our worlda better place. Finally, God, we thank You for giving us the opportunityto build our DePaul community with these, our students,while they were here. Though they are leaving, now,our campuses, we know that they willalways be with us as part of the DePaul family, and we ask that the bondsthat have been created here remain strongdespite any distance. Bless and protect themand all those they love. Amen. ♪ O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light ♪ ♪ What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’slast gleaming ♪ ♪ Whose broad stripesand bright stars through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? ♪ ♪ And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there ♪ ♪ O say does thatstar-spangled banner yet wave ♪ ♪ O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? ♪ On behalfof the faculty and staff of the KellstadtGraduate School of Business, it is my great honorto congratulate you, the Class of 2020,on your graduation day. We join your family,friends, and colleagues in feeling immensely proudof your achievement. For many of you, the joyof earning your degree today is mixedwith apprehension. You didn’tanticipate graduating in the middleof a pandemic that has disrupted livesand livelihoods worldwide. Facing uncertainty,you may wonder, “Am I readyfor the future?”

Let me assure you,as a Kellstadt graduate, you are. Many of you havealready overcome obstacles to earn your degrees. You’ve juggled careersand family responsibilities while pursuingyour education. Some of youhave earned your degrees to start overin new careers. You know how to work hardto get ahead. Your Kellstadt educationhas empowered you with the real world skillsand knowledge you need to succeedin these uncertain times. You know how to applytheory to practice, through your workon case studies in class and group projectsin the business community. You’ve expandedyour world view and network by engagingwith business leaders and expertsacross industries. And along the way,you’ve forged bonds with peers,faculty members, and mentors who supportand believe in you. Together, these experiencesand connections have prepared you to succeed inand contribute to the world. I’m not sayingit will be easy. Nothing worth achievingever is. But you are resilient. You are problem solvers. You are doers. The business worldneeds people like you. Today, you are graduating, but you are notleaving DePaul. You are joiningan amazing network of DePaul Business alumni that is 65,000 strong.

Welcome toyour Blue Demon network. So today,should you have a moment of doubtabout the future, just rememberwho you are. You are ready. You are a Kellstadt grad. You are DePaul strong. Now it is my pleasureto introduce your classmate and StudentCommencement Speaker, Richard Dingraudo. Today, Richard is earninga master’s degree in finance. His dream is to start a businessanalytics consulting firm and to assistminority-owned startups. He also aspiresto teach, part time, college-level financeand economics. Please join mein welcoming Richard. To the honored guests,esteemed faculty, and supportive parents,partners, and family members watching fromaround the world, and, of course,the graduating class of 2020, good afternoon. This is surely nothow any of us envisioned today’s events unfolding. And while we’re notall under the same roof, that does not lessenthe overwhelming joy you should feel as you, along withseveral thousand others, are recognized for your hardwork and accomplishments, finally receiveyour degree from the KellstadtGraduate School of Business. This degree representsthe start of a new chapter that’s differentfor each of us. For some, it’s new jobsor new industries. For others,it’s an exciting move across the countryor around the globe. And as exciting as that is, I can’t helpbut be saddened by what this degreerepresents the conclusion of. And, no,it is not the conclusion of group projects, but instead the conclusionof reading case studies. Call me crazy,but I am going to miss them, and it’s not becauseI necessarily love the weekly routine of combingthrough 40-page reports and straining my eyesto interpret seemingly endless chartsof financial data. No, instead it’s because, as intimidatingas they always seemed, I loved knowingthat if I just flip to the backof that case study, right thereI would find the questions that I was goingto be asked. So I knewbefore I even began what was going to beexpected of me. I like knowing what’s expectedof me, we all do. We love receiving a syllabusat the start of class so that we knowwhat to expect for the quarter, and at work what milestonesare we expected to achieve in order to be promoted. And while havinga clear expectation is a great placeto start, it is usually nothing comparedto what we’re capable of. Once when I was a kid,my dad said, “Rick, I want youto push your hands together as hard as you can.” And when I did that,he said, “Okay, now push harder. Keep pushing harder.” And I did,and I continued to do so until he stopped meand said, “See? You’re always capableof pushing harder.” Either within ourselvesor through others, we have all seenthat whether the gain is incrementalor exponential, we have never quitefound the limit of what we’re capable of. Because our capacityis this ever-moving bar that jumpsjust a little further and is seeminglyjust out of reach every time we crossthe finish line of what is expected of us, at which pointthat finish line becomes a baseline, one that we useto reset our goals and consider whatwe might accomplish next. And so today I havetwo requests of you. The firstis take some time and inspect what you expectof yourself. Not what othersexpect of you, but what you expectof yourself. The bar has beenraised tremendously because of this degree, not only through the courseworkyou have just completed, but also throughthe continued access to the resourcesof this university. So be brave and be boldin raising that bar, revisit it often, and refuse the comfortof complacency. Not because this degreemakes us better than anyone, but because it makes usbetter equipped to go outand continue to push what it isthat we’re capable of. And second, I askthat you pay it forward by figuring out a way to beon someone else’s team, to be a supporting memberof their story. I must admitthat in the past, I’m guilty of havingbeen a firm believer that everything I accomplishedI did on my own. It was my work ethicdriving me forward, I was the onecompleting my homework, and it was me studyingfor finals all by myself. But the truth is, my work ethicdoesn’t come from me, but from two working parentswho consistently led by example, silently demonstratinghow to find passion in the workthat I’m doing. I would have collapsedinto my homework if my wife didn’t perfectly timea coffee break whenever it became obviousI was beginning to overstress. And I would have hated finals if it didn’t meanstudy groups with my peers and going outwith friends to celebrate the endof the quarter. All of this,of course, by the grace of professorswho concerned themselves not only with my education, but also my well-being, who held social hourson Zoom in the hopes of providinga sense of normalcy.

Even though at timestheir efforts were seemingly invisibleand I took them for granted, I knew thatif I ever felt stuck, I always had a teamI can lean on to propel me forward, whether or notI was asking for their help. Reflect on whothat team was for you, acknowledge their impact, and, if you can,say thank you. And always rememberthe Vincentian values instilled in ushere at DePaul. How they call us to acton every opportunity to pay it forward. How they humble usto recognize that the opportunitiesafforded to us today are a gift from thosewho fought for them years beforewe were born. And how they remind usthat no matter what our neighborshave been told at work, we have the ability to show themthat they are essential. Take what you thinkyou’re capable of doing today, make that what is expectedof you tomorrow, and you will be astoundedto find what you’re capable of the day after that. Thank you, and congratulations,Class of 2020. The Dean will nowpresent the candidates for the Conferral of Degrees. ♪ President Esteban, on behalf of the facultyand staff of the KellstadtGraduate School of Business, I respectfully presentthe candidates and recommend thatthe announced degrees be conferred upon them. ♪ By the authorityvested in me by the Board of Trusteesand the state of Illinois, I confer upon youthe degree for which you havebeen recommended, with all the rights,privileges, and responsibilitiesappertaining thereunto. ♪ The following candidateshave successfully completed the requirementsand have been awarded their respective degrees. ♪ Members ofthe Vincentian Community and the clergy, Trustees,Life Trustees, faculty,administration, staff,and honored guests, I’m Gabriel Esteban, presidentof DePaul University. Thank you for joining ustoday to celebrate the DePaul UniversityClass of 2020. Your presence,even in this online space, means everything to us. This was not the yearor the commencement ceremony anyone expected, and I am inspiredby the tenacity and drive the Class of 2020has demonstrated throughout this time. I am also extremely gratefulto all the faculty and staff who made the swift transitionto remote learning, as well asthe many people who made today’s onlinecommencement ceremony possible. I especially would likethe recognize the membersof the DePaul community who continuedto report to campus throughoutthe Spring Quarter. DePaul UniversityClass of 2020, the worldis a scary place right now. Graduating from collegealways comes with a degreeof uncertainty. Is this the right jobfor me? Am I choosingthe right path? Will I achievemy dreams? I know all your questionsare magnified right now, and it’s okayto feel scared. Now, more than ever, the world needsDePaul graduates. There are morethan 6,000 students in the Class of 2020, and the world needsevery single one of you. We need entrepreneurs,economists, and hospitality leaders. Journalists,filmmakers, computer scientists,and game designers. Teachers, counselors,writers, artists, diplomats,and historians. Nurses,psychologists, scientists,and mathematicians. Musicians and actors. The world needsDePaul graduates because you knowwhat it takes to succeed. You know howto roll up your sleeves and do whatever it takesto get the job done. You understand the importanceof giving back. And you have the courageto ask, “What must be done?” At DePaul,our Catholic Vincentian mission to servethe public good is at the heartof everything we do. We have taught youto fight for social justice, help thosemost in need, listen,and be kind. Please keepour Vincentian values close to your heart. Be mindfulof the responsibility that comeswith a DePaul diploma. The diplomathat bears the name of St. Vincent de Paul. DePaul UniversityClass of 2020, you are ready to servea changing world, transformed byyour DePaul education, grounded in mission. Make us proud. The last stepin your journey at DePaul is to be inductedinto the alumni community. It is my distinct honorto introduce our special alumni guest,Joe Keery, who graduated fromThe Theatre School in 2014, and now playsSteve Harrington on the hit Netflix seriesStranger Things.

DePaul has always been proudto call Joe one of our own, and my wife and Iare big fans of his work. We’re very gratefulhe could join us today to celebratethe Class of 2020. Please welcome Joe Keery. Hi, everybody,my name is Joe Keery. I’m an alumniof DePaul University, Class of 2014,from The Theatre School, and I’m honored to bethis year’s Alumni Inductor and to welcomethe Class of 2020 into the Alumni Association. So, congratulations,Class of 2020. When I thinkabout my time at DePaul, I think aboutall the hard work. I mean, DePaul really conditionstheir students to work. If you ask any of the studentsat The Theatre School, they’re definitelyworking very hard. It really conditioned meto fill my days doing the thingthat I love to do, and then work towards goalsthat I really set for myself. So, now, more than ever,as graduates, and kind of giventhe current state of the world, I think it’s really importantto keep your foot on the gas and to really go afterevery single opportunity, to makeyour own opportunities. If you work hard at somethingthat you love to do, and you can makea living doing it, then you won’t have to worka day in your life. That’s always beenmy mentality, and I feel so luckyto be able to do the workthat I’m able to do. And it wouldn’t havebeen possible, truly, without DePaul. I look backon my time there so fondly. All the friendsthat I’ve made, all the experiencesthat I had. But, truly,now the real fun begins, because you get to takeeverything that you’ve learned and everything thatyou’ve worked towards at DePauland put it to use. And now you can startthis new chapter in your life and always look back fondlyat your time at DePaul. So, congratulations again, and now to inductthe Class of 2020. Inscribed upon this scrollare the names of the members of DePaul University’s121st graduating class, the Class of 2020. We acceptthese graduates into the DePaul UniversityAlumni Association. Members ofthe 121st graduating class, we welcome youto the next step in your lifelong connectionwith DePaul. As students of yesterday,graduates today, and alumni forever, you are now part of aneven larger DePaul community of over 190,000 alumniliving around the world. The continued vitalityof DePaul University depends uponeach of us as alumni, and our pledge of commitmentand service to the university. We invite youto accept membership by moving your tasselfrom the right to the left as a symbolic gestureof your transformation from a studentof DePaul University to a lifelong learnerand citizen of the world. Graduates,please move your tassels, you should really do it, and congratulationsto the Class of 2020. (applauds) ♪

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