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Waltham, Mass., May 20, 2012
—181 Brandeis International Business School (IBS) graduates were implored to pursue their passions and bring a social consciousness to their professional careers during the school’s 18th commencement exercises this morning.
Opening the ceremony, Arthur L. Goldstein, chair of the Brandeis IBS Board of Overseers, urged graduates to build bridges between business and society. “It’s clear that business will not be able to survive in the future without taking societal needs into account,” he said. “As thinkers, doers, and leaders, [you] are the important linkage between business and society.” Goldstein is the retired chairman, president, and CEO of Ionics, Inc., a world leader in water purification that was bought by General Electric Co. in 2005.
Student speaker Mavluda “Mavi” Mavlonazarova MBA ’12 addressed classmates from 46 countries. The Tajikistan native turned to French novelist and Nobel Laureate Anatole France in challenging her fellow classmates to aim high in their career pursuits: “‘To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.’ Now is our time to dream big, believe in ourselves, and act to make the world a better place,” she said.
Bruce Magid, dean of the school and the Martin and Ahuva Gross Chair in Financial Markets and Institutions, acknowledged that graduates are entering an increasingly complicated and competitive business environment and suggested they have an obligation to “help repair an imperfect world.” “I am reminded of the Hebrew phrase ‘Tikkun Olam’ – to heal the world – which I think aptly describes your challenge and role as leaders and problem-solvers of tomorrow,” he said. “The task is great, but I know your drive and determination are greater.”
Select students from the Class of 2012 were also honored with individual department awards. Leadership Award winner Hakon Bjerke MA ’12 led his class through the ballroom for the exercises, which brought together family and friends from all over the world.
Ronald M. Ansin was awarded the Dean’s Medal for his exemplary business leadership. Ansin ran two successful shoe-manufacturing companies and also served as the Massachusetts Commissioner of Commerce. A member of the business school’s Board of Overseers and of the university’s Board of Fellows, he has been a devoted philanthropist to a range of organizations in education, the arts, and health and civic affairs.
“It used to be that time spent in civic activities assisting nonprofits was thought of as taking time off from business; today it’s considered an integral part of your job,” he said. “Today we collectively take responsibility for a world that increasingly needs our help.”
Catherine L. Mann, Barbara and Richard M. Rosenberg Professor of Global Finance, gave the faculty speech. Referencing a course she teaches on the Global Economic Environment, Mann spoke of the importance of teamwork and collaboration in understanding complex subjects.
“You’re ready to take your next steps,” she told graduates. “You’re ready to go out into the world.”
At the degree ceremony, held in Levin Ballroom, 104 students received the Lemberg Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance (MAief); 66 received a Master of Business Administration; five students received a Master of Science in Finance; five students received a Master of Science in International Economics and Finance; and one student was awarded a doctorate. The university-wide commencement ceremony was held later in the morning at Gosman Sports Center.