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Commencement 2019

May 10, 2019
Cindy Kent (MBA'99), delivers remarks to Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management’s Class of 2019

By Nathaniel Luce


Nashville, Tenn.  Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management celebrated Commencement Day ceremonies for its Class of 2019 today. Gathered in the Vanderbilt Student Recreation Center, 165 students received their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree; 66 earned a Master of Finance (MSF) degree; 32 were awarded a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree; 22 students were awarded a Master of Marketing (MMark) degree; and 50 students were awarded an Executive MBA (EMBA) degree. Students from the Master of Management in Health Care program also participated in the ceremony.

M. Eric Johnson, the Ralph Owen Dean and Bruce D. Henderson Professor of Strategy, opened the day’s ceremonies with a celebration of the school year and a call to students to stay involved after graduation. “We can help you throughout your career, and you can help us,” he said. “We crave your ideas, your experience, your energy, they are the very lifeblood of our community.”

Commencement speaker Cindy Kent (MBA’99), Best Buy Board Member and long-time healthcare executive, spoke about the keys to living “your best, wild, and precious life.”

“The truth of the matter is all of us have something within us that is whispering and wanting more – to be more, to do more,” she said. “Some call it purpose. Others, vocation. I do not care what you call it…just allow it; amplify it with intentionality, and in so doing, I would imagine that you will live a life that is bigger (and) better than anything you could have ever imagined.”

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Awards and Recognition for Graduating Students


Matthew DavisMatthew Davis, Founders Medalist

University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos awarded Matthew Davis (MBA’19) the Founder’s Medal for the Owen School in a morning ceremony on Alumni Lawn. This award, originally endowed by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1877, is given to the MBA graduate who achieves the strongest record in personal, professional, and academic performance.


Awards and Recognition for Faculty

Brian McCannEmily Redfield (MBA ’19), President of the Owen Student Government Association, presented the James A. Webb Excellence in Teaching Award to Brian McCann, Associate Professor of Strategic Management.




Brian McCannTyler Enstice (EMBA ’19) presented Brian McCann, Associate Professor of Strategic Management, with the EMBA Faculty Teaching award.





Richard Willis, Associate Dean of Faculty and Research, announced the recipients of the Dean’s Faculty Awards:


Steven Posavac

Steven Posavac, E. Bronson Ingram Professor in Marketing, received the Dean’s Award for Teaching Innovation for his work in developing, running, and improving the Masters of Marketing program.



Bruce BarryBruce Barry

Bruce Barry, Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Professor of Management, received the Dean’s Research Impact Award in recognition of his contributions to the areas of social issues in management, including ethics, and the psychology of power, influence, and negotiation.



Berk Sensoy

Berk Sensoy, Hans Stoll Professor of Finance, received the Dean’s Award for Research Productivity.




Other awards and recognition

Dean Johnson & Emily Redfield

Dean Johnson (right) and Emily Redfield (left) prepare to lead the graduates to the main Commencement ceremony

At a ceremony held at Owen on Thursday, May 9, several other students were recognized for their achievements:

  • Maria Alejandra Martinez Restrepo (MBA’19) received the Matt Wigginton Leadership Award, awarded for outstanding performance in finance.
  • April Hughes (MBA’19) was presented with the H. Igor Ansoff Award, which recognizes original and creative contributions to the school.
  • Nishant Kumar (MBA’19) was awarded the Flournoy A. Coles Jr. Prize in recognition of international studies.
  • Chad Fritzsche (MBA’19) was chosen to receive the Financial Executives Institute Award for outstanding academic performance in both accounting and finance.
  • Jerrod Attias (MAcc’19) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in the Master of Accountancy.
  • Parker Henry (MSF’19) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in the Master of Science in Finance.
  • Christana Wagner and Sarah Diana Mahon (both MMark’19) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in the Master of Marketing.
  • Jordan Matthews (EMBA’19) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in the Executive MBA program.
  • Tyler Enstice (EMBA’19) received the Martin S. Geisel Award for Leadership in the Executive MBA program.

Twenty-four graduating students were presented with the Owen Service Award for outstanding effort and energy in leadership, community involvement and student life. They are:

  • William Betts (MBA’19)
  • Cally Biagini (MBA’19)
  • Megan Christopher (MSF’19)
  • Nicholas Cormier (MBA’19)
  • Lauren Dawson (MAcc’19)
  • Neal Dyer (MBA’19)
  • Radhika Karve (MBA’19)
  • Jason Kaspar (MBA’19)
  • Hannah Keith (MBA’19)
  • Taylor Kunkel (MBA’19)
  • Jacqueline Lim (MBA’19)
  • Beatriz Mussa (MBA’19)
  • Nile Marshall (MBA’19)
  • Lindsey Messmore (MBA’19)
  • Bhanu Nuthakki (MSF’19)
  • Akihiro Ota (MBA’19)
  • Emily Redfield (MBA’19)
  • Brittani Roberts (MBA’19)
  • Arthur Miranda (MAcc’19)
  • Rebecca Shaver (MBA’19)
  • Tyler Skelton (MBA’19)
  • Christana Wagner (MMark’19)
  • Yang Zhang (MBA’19)
  • Lihui Zhu (MBA’19)


2019 Commencement Group Photo








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