Alumni Board

Letter from Alumni Board Chair Matt Peterson (MBA’94)

Matt Peterson (MBA’94)

Change is a constant.  When I was a student at Owen as a member of the MBA Class of 1994, it was a tumultuous time. The world had recently experienced the reunification of Germany, the collapse of the USSR, Nelson Mandela freed and elected president of South Africa, the first open elections in Taiwan and the beginning of the Gulf War. However, what I found at Owen then was what I still see in our community today — smart, motivated, and experienced people from all over the globe, coming together to better themselves and transform lives through education. The Owen experience helped expose me to a world beyond what I previously knew and welded friendships for me — in locations from Nashville to South America, Estonia, Japan, and throughout the world. To this day, I am closer to my fellow Owen alumni than I am to those from any other academic experience. They are extraordinary people.

Since 1994, Vanderbilt, like many other top tier colleges and universities, has identified a priority toward increased awareness around equity, diversity, and inclusion. The university has shown a commitment to creating rigorous dialogue and modeling the global citizens we want to be, embracing pluralism as an imperative.

It is an invigorating time to be stepping into this role as Owen’s Alumni Board Chair….while Owen engages in a renaissance.

I couldn’t be more excited for the university to enter a new era under the leadership of Chancellor Daniel Diermeier, a leader who sees the value Owen brings to a diverse university and our opportunity to leverage a nimble, collaborative culture to connect the schools together as an even more powerful molecule. For the Owen community to have someone at the university’s helm with this vision offers a new chance to really show what we’re made of as students, faculty, and alumni.

It is an invigorating time to be stepping into this role as Owen’s Alumni Board Chair. Vanderbilt, and Owen, are positioned to step over this challenging past year in which many of our peer schools stepped back and aside, while Owen engages in a renaissance. The strong leadership of Dean Eric Johnson — one of my favorite professors from my time at the school — has enabled our significant renovation and expansion of Management Hall. This project is a tangible demonstration of the university’s commitment to excellence in business growth, community and service. It will advance Owen’s reputation beyond our graduating classes and help us engage with Nashville and beyond. Importantly, the new building is not only a physical symbol, but also a spiritual symbol of the ideas and ambitions Vanderbilt holds; what we generate from this historic moment is up to us.

There is a Colin Powell quote I am drawn to, “Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says possible.” Owen is committed to being an engine for our alumni — a broad and growing demographic of leaders — and helping us make more of an impact than we think possible.

What we all receive at Owen is more than a world-class education, it is a lifetime commitment to relationships that will continue long after we are gone. I am grateful to share this with you and I look forward to using our momentum to reignite connections with our Owen family worldwide.