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Elon MBA students receive diplomas

University leaders conferred 40 degrees to MBA students in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business on May 23, 2008, during a Commencement attended by faculty, staff, family and friends.

The event, held inside Whitley Auditorium, featured addresses by Louis DeJoy, CEO of New Breed Logistics and a member of the Elon University Board of Trustees, and by J. Karl Sherrill, Jr., who was selected by his peers to speak for the class.

Both speakers offered lists of advice to the audience.

Sherrill identified four ideas that will help make it easy to “do the right thing” in the corporate world: Prepare yourself, prepare your organization, be prepared to win while losing, and finish strong.

“Prepare yourself by reflecting on the things that matter most to you – family, religion, honor, respect, integrity, career. Be clear on the priority of these things,” Sherrill said. “Know that staying true to your priorities will build confidence and insight when faced with an ethical decision.”

He also said that how you compete is just as important as where you place in a proverbial race.

“Reach the finish line with your head held high and know that doing the right things is a valuable skill that will differentiate you and your organizations from many other competitors in the race,” Sherrill said.

DeJoy is chief executive officer of New Breed, Inc., a leading third-party logistics services provider with national headquarters in High Point, N.C. He joined the company in 1983 and has guided the company through a period of exponential growth.

The accomplished businessman also offered several tips, some of which included:

• Perfect the skills of your trade. All too often, he said, he meets other business managers who are not versed in the fundamentals of the industry for which they work or the products they sell.

• Capitalize on opportunities. DeJoy said many opportunities in life are not labeled as such and may very well be small, but that students should “search for them … and make them work for you.”

• Recover well from losses or mistakes.

• Don’t allow yourself to grow too content.

• Exceed expectations.

DeJoy closed his address with one final piece of advice, something he said is the most important thing for graduates to remember, and something he often tells his own children.

“Don’t do anything stupid,” he warned, noting how foolish acts can destroy relationships and reputations developed over a lifetime. “Every morning, as you wake up, look in the mirror and remind yourself, ‘Don’t do anything stupid today.’”

New Breed is consistently ranked as one of North Carolina's largest privately held businesses, serving clients that include Boeing, Siemens Medical Solutions, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Postal Service, United Technologies, Verizon Wireless and many others.

For more than 25 years, DeJoy has worked with both public accounting firms and private corporations in financial, program and corporate management. In 2004, he received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Carolina’s Award.

DeJoy was among the founding donors for the Elon University School of Law. He also serves on the board of trustees for Moses Cone Health System and on the board of trustees for The Fund for American Studies.

Eric Townsend,
5/23/2008 8:51 PM