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Elon confers degrees on MBA candidates

In his keynote address, the chair of the Love School of Business Board of Advisors tells graduates to "share some of your success with others."

William S. Creekmuir P'09 P'10, president of Clarity Advisors, LLC: “Work smart, be analytical, but also be sure you work hard.”


When it comes to taking chances and seizing opportunities, hip-hop artist Marshall Mathers – better known as “Eminem” – asks: “Look, if you have one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?”

The fact that Mathers' 2002 hit “Lose Yourself” was quoted by the chair of the Board of Advisors for the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business made the rhetorical question that much more attention-grabbing for graduates of Elon University’s MBA program celebrating Commencement.

William “Bill” Creekmuir delivered the keynote address to graduate students in Whitley Auditorium on Friday evening in a Commencement ceremony attended by families and friends who witnessed the end of an academic journey that took up to three years to complete.

With the address book-ended by Mathers’ lyrics, Creekmuir spent much of his time offering sage advice for career excellence. He quoted the poem “Pretty Good" by Charles Osgood, host of CBS’s Sunday Morning Show, and how settling for “pretty good” in any component of life can be “pretty bad.”

Jennifer Tucci '09, G'12: "We leave (here) with a community of people that have truly changed our lives.”

Look no further than the manufacturing and textile industries in North Carolina, he said. Both industries did a “pretty good job” over many years but eventually succumbed to overseas competition. For those who don’t want to settle for a “pretty good job,” Creekmuir offered nine pieces of wisdom:

1.) Be a role model when it comes to your work ethic. “Work smart, be analytical, but also be sure you work hard.”

2.) Be a leader, not a follower. “Don’t be afraid to speak-up in meetings with ideas or to challenge your boss.”

3.) Become an excellent communicator – both in written and oral communication.

4.) Be responsive. “In this day of hand held technology and laptops, there are not many good excuses on why you cannot respond fairly quickly on matters that come your way.”

5.) Be creative. “If you are working in the accounting department I don’t mean creative bookkeeping. … But do share your ideas.”

6.) Not only understand your own job but also learn other aspects of your business and the dynamics of your industry.

7.) Learn to deal with adversity. “You will have bumps in the road in your career journey. Deal with them and do the best you can.”

8.) Take the time to mentor others.

Elon President Leo M. Lambert, in his charge to graduates: "By earning an MBA, you have plainly demonstrated many fine qualities."

9.) Share some of your success with others. Whether that is getting involved in an industry trade association, a not-for-profit organization in your community, or even with Elon University … “You will be very surprised where your networking in this area of your career will lead.”

Creekmuir is president of Clarity Advisors, LLC, and the father of two Elon alumni. Before his work with Clarity Advisors, Creekmuir served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Simmons Bedding Company. Prior to his role with Simmons, Creekmuir was executive vice president and chief financial officer of LADD Furniture, Inc., and was previously a partner with the international accounting firm KPMG.

Creekmuir’s remarks were preceded with observations from an MBA candidate selected by her peers to offer the student address.

Jennifer Tucci '09 spoke with humor of opening her first business at the age of 8, an “interior design” endeavor that would be used by the likes of Brad Pitt. Though her idea of being rich was “having the most Monopoly money in my wallet,” the desire to be in business was genuine.

That’s why the education MBA candidates receive at Elon meant “learning from the best.” More than just professors, faculty members are mentors and friends, she said.

“Elon is an extraordinary place, full of life and relationships and community. It is a place that never stands still and always pushes us to do better, to be better,” Tucci said. “And so that is what we did. We became better businessmen and women by continuing to learn and take classes. We became better global citizens by traveling to Spain and China to learn about business there. We became better friends by participating in the ‘Pig Pickin’s’ and MBA tailgates. Elon encouraged us to not only create new dreams but to better them along the journey.

“As we walk across the stage today, we leave with so much more than a degree. We leave with a community of people that have truly changed our lives.”

Family and friends of MBA candidates filled Whitley Auditorium on May 18, 2012, for Commencement ceremonies.

The degrees conferred by Elon University President Leo M. Lambert were presented by Elon Provost Steven House and by professor Bill Burpitt, chair of the MBA program. In his charge to graduates before closing the ceremony, Lambert called on the new alumni to use their character when making life decisions.

“As we have seen too often of late in every sphere of public life—government, business, religion, entertainment, sports—bright, accomplished people can create a world of chaos when they are no longer guided by their ethical and spiritual bearings,” Lambert said. “By earning an MBA, you have plainly demonstrated many fine qualities: your intelligence, your capacity for hard work and for mastering complex subjects, your tenacity and perseverance, your leadership and interpersonal skills.”

Lambert then instructed the graduates to find inspiration in Elon’s motto of “Numen Lumen,” Latin for “spiritual light” and “intellectual light,” to do good in the world.

“As alumni of Elon University and among the most highly educated people on the planet, you are charged to carry one light into the word with you—Lumen and Numen—fused, inseparable. Knowledge and character, fused. Shining intellect and strong guiding ethical and moral codes, seamlessly connected. Intellectual light and spiritual light for a world requiring your leadership.

“So go forth and shine! Long live Elon!”

Candidates for the Master of Business Administration Degree

Ali-Imran Bawangaonwala
Elaine Claire Bixby
Randall Scott Borror
Steven John Burtoft
Catherine Velma Callahan
Saravana Rajesh Chandran
Jeffrey D. Colgan
Robert William Daniels
Sivabrata Das
Brooke Bambrick Davis
Jason Matthew Douglas
Rebecca Lynn Dupré
Gerardo Estrada
Eduardo Adrian Figueroa
Kevin Wayne Frazier
David Scott Hamilton
Fred Gaston Hathaway, Jr.
Matthew Patrick Haynes
Ramesh Jasti
Laura Lee Jones
Julie Hawkins Masten
Katherine Lindsay McCollum
Allen Marson McGee
Samantha Alyse Messier
Rudy Hunter Metz
Nicole Lynn Munns
Jeffery Allen Payne
Christopher Henry Pearce
John Francis Pendergast III
John Kennedy Pittman, Jr.
Jasper Lynd Rajesh
Wendy Marie Chaney Redmond
Crystal Dawn Robinson
Christina Ann Brady Sailstad
Salnave Saint-Fort
Alta Gavin Sands
Reid Bradford Shalvoy
Joseph L. Sizemore IV
Kristin Danielle Smith
Meredith Legin Smith
Scott Daniel Stevens
Julie Kerr Swanner
Benjamin Leroy Tario
Jennifer Kay Tucci
Jordan Paul Ulrich
Sarah Elizabeth Westmoreland

Eric Townsend,
5/19/2012 8:05 AM