Elon MBA students receive degrees
Elon University leaders conferred degrees on May 21, 2010, to the largest class in MBA program history during a Commencement ceremony in Whitley Auditorium attended by faculty, staff, family and friends of the graduate students.
Fifty-one degrees were presented to students by Elon Provost Steven House and by professor Bill Burpitt, chair of the MBA program. Two additional MBA students had completed their requirements last year and were present to receive their diplomas, while two others will finish their coursework this summer, bringing the total number of students in robes to 55.
Elon University President Leo M. Lambert conferred the degrees.
The event featured addresses by David H.W. Turner, CFO of Thomson Reuters Markets Division and the parent of an Elon student, and by Michael J. McCarter, who was selected by his peers to speak for the class.
Turner shared what he has learned about being an effective business leader and offered advice to help graduates on their own leadership journey. He focused his comments on three qualities that he says he finds in business leaders: Passion, optimism and vulnerability.
“In my view, great leaders are authentic,” he said, “and the most prominent characteristic they always share is passion. You will all get jobs. You will all do well. The secret is to make sure you are passionate about what you do.
“If you want to do great work, you have to love what you do. If you know what that is, great. If you don’t, keep looking.”
Turner is responsible for finance and strategy for the Markets Division of Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Prior to joining Thomson Financial in 2001, he worked for Reuters as the CFO of the UK operations, CFO of Reuters America, and for Reuterspace.
A graduate of St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, Turner has also worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in London.
“When face with a problem, I view it as a challenge,” he said. “When I face a setback, I view it as an opportunity for a new direction. American leaders are born optimists. Leaders view failure as a learning experience.”
In remarks preceding Turner, McCarter thanked professors, classmates and family members on behalf of his classmates for the love and support they have shown in recent years. He then lauded his peers for their effort and accomplishments.
“I see visionaries. I see executives. I see vice presidents,” McCarter said. “And I see the potential for CEOs. Make no mistake. We will make history.
“My challenge to my colleagues is to not let anything distract you from your goals … we will become titans in our industries.”
Lambert concluded the evening ceremony with a charge to the graduating class in which he referenced Elon’s historic motton, “Numen Lumen,” Latin for “spiritual light” and “intellectual light.”
“Ultimately, your character will define your destiny,” he said. “As alumni of Elon University, you are charged to carry one light in the world with you. ‘Numen’ and ‘lumen,’ fused and inseparable. Knowledge and character, fused. Shining intelligence, and strong guiding ethical and moral codes, seamlessly combined.
“Intellectual light, and spiritual light, for the good of the world.”