Dean Eric Johnson with Commencement Speaker Sarah Trahern, EMBA’04
Nashville, Tenn. Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management celebrated Commencement Day ceremonies for its Class of 2021 today. Gathered at Vanderbilt Stadium, 135 students received their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree; 76 earned a Master of Finance (MSF) degree; 40 were awarded a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree; 41 students were awarded a Master of Marketing (MMark) degree; and 42 students were awarded an Executive MBA (EMBA) degree. Students from the Master of Management in Health Care (MMHC) 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 warm welcome and a celebration of the class’ perseverance through challenging times. “It has been a long, hard, crazy year,” he said. “In some ways, the entire year felt like one of hurry-up and wait….But the time is finally here! Things are really look up, and you made it!”
Commencement speaker Sarah Trahern (EMBA’04), CEO of the Country Music Association, offered wisdom earned through her education and professional experiences, encouraging graduates to pivot when necessary, avoid rushing to a decision in the face of uncertainty, nurture relationships, and develop a natural curiosity. “But my no.1 wish for each of you,” she said, “is that you find work that you are passionate about. You may encounter several career pivots to get there, but if you love getting up in the morning, and love what you do, even your worst days won’t feel as long.”
Transcript of Commencement Address
Awards and Recognition for Graduating Students
Kevin Wolf, Founders Medalist
University Chancellor Daniel Diermeier awarded Kevin Wolf (MBA’21) the Founder’s Medal for the Owen School. 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
|The James A. Webb Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Brian McCann, Associate Professor of Strategic Management.
|The EMBA Faculty Teaching award was presented Brian McCann, Associate Professor of Strategic Management.
Richard Willis, Associate Dean of Faculty and Research, announced the recipients of the Dean’s Faculty Awards:
Mark Cohen, Justin Potter Professor of American Competitive Enterprise and Professor of Law, received the Dean’s Award for Teaching Innovation for developing a new course, strategic business solutions, to address structural racism. He was also recognized for his Israel immersion course, which has been an Owen mainstay for many years.
Berk Sensoy, Hans Stoll Professor of Finance, received the Dean’s Award for Teaching Innovation in recognition of his entrepreneurial finance class, a new class at Owen that has grown tremendously in enrollment and has been very well received. He has also introduced a seminar in entrepreneurial finance that features guest speakers on advanced topics.
Cohen, Justin Potter Professor of American Competitive Enterprise and Professor of Law, received the Dean’s Research Impact Award in recognition of his contributions to furthering our understanding of environmental economics and criminology.
Kelly Goldsmith, Associate Professor of Marketing, received the Dean’s Award for Research Productivity in recognition of her contributions to furthering our knowledge regarding scarcity, uncertainty, goals, and self-regulation.
Other awards and recognition
2021 OSGA President & Vice President carrying the Owen banner
During the ceremony, several other students were recognized for their achievements:
- Jarvis Werkhaven (MBA’21) received the Matt Wigginton Leadership Award, awarded for outstanding performance in finance.
- Kaitlyn Wilson (MBA’21) was presented with the H. Igor Ansoff Award, which recognizes original and creative contributions to the school.
- Travis Welwood (MBA’21) was awarded the Flournoy A. Coles Jr. Prize in recognition of international studies.
- Timothy Tan (MBA’21) was chosen to receive the Financial Executives Institute Award for outstanding academic performance in both accounting and finance.
- Carson Daniel Andersen (MAcc’21) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in the Master of Accountancy.
- Jonathan Mendoza Coronel, Emma Kurtz, and Michael Tyler Mariconda (all MSF’21) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in the Master of Science in Finance.
- Shelby Madison Burnette (both MMark’21) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in the Master of Marketing.
- Shriji N. Patel (EMBA’21) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in the Executive MBA program.
- Erin Fairbrother (MMHC’20) and Terrence Smith (MMHC ’20) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in the Master of Management in Health Care program.
- Tara Tenorio (EMBA’21) received the Martin S. Geisel Award for Leadership in the Executive MBA program.
Fifteen graduating students were presented with the Owen Service Award for outstanding effort and energy in leadership, community involvement, and student life. They are:
- Brian Dab (MBA’21)
- Stephanie Jones (MBA’21)
- Sambit Kar (MBA’21)
- Markus Makowski (MBA’21)
- Taylor Mathis (MSF’21)
- Dino Munroe, Jr. (MBA’21)
- Chidiebere Onuke (MBA’21)
- Leonard Pfeiffer V (MBA’21)
- Aaj Solanki (MBA’21)
- M’Kenzie Steel (MBA’21)
- Taiana Tolleson (MMark’19)
- Andrew Jacob Walters (MSF’21)
- Jarvis Werkhaven (MBA’21)
- Breanna Wright (MAcc’21)