News & Events

Commencement 2023

May 23, 2023
Matt Peterson (MBA’94), delivers remarks to Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management’s Class of 2023

By Lacie Blankenship

commencement 2023

Dean Johnson and Matt Peterson

Nashville, Tenn. Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management celebrated Commencement Day ceremonies for its Class of 2023 on May 12. Gathered in the Vanderbilt Student Recreation Center, 182 students received their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree; 79 earned a Master of Finance (MSF) degree; 42 were awarded a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree; 62 students were awarded a Master of Marketing (MMark) degree; and 45 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, Ralph Owen Dean and Bruce D. Henderson Professor of Strategy, opened the day’s ceremonies with a celebration of the school year, a nod to the transitional period with the new Management Hall, and commending graduates on their personal and professional growth, and urging them to connect with the Owen community wherever they go. “You are part of the Owen story. I urge you to return often, to seek out members of the Owen family wherever you go.”  

Commencement speaker Matt Peterson (MBA’94), CEO, Ancillary and Individual, UnitedHealthcare, echoed praise for Owen’s legacy and alumni involvement. “This great institution has built a legacy of transformation. To propel forward, part of the Owen story is to return often; your network will never be complete, leadership is ever refining, we crave your involvement,” he said.

He also spoke about the value of time, relationships, and leadership and how those factors intertwine. He urged graduates to invest in their relationships. “Your relationships: personal and professional, casual and formal, are the cornerstones of being a great success. Leadership is a measure of success as well and is nearly timeless,” he said. “Someday, you may realize that Closing Bell was your highest return on investment at Vanderbilt when it comes to relationships.”

Watch the Vanderbilt Business Commencement 2023 Address 

View Photos from Commencement Activities 

Awards and Recognition for Graduating Students 

Jennifer Edson Escalas, Associate Dean of Academic Programs, Dean Samuel B. and Evelyn R. Richmond Chair, Professor of Marketing, recognized the 2023 Founder’s Medalist

Ashley Detherage (MBA’23), Founder’s Medalist 

Ashley Detherage (MBA’23)

University Chancellor Daniel Diermeier awarded Ashley Detherage the Founder’s Medal for the Owen School. This annual Commencement Day award, initially endowed by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1877, is given to the MBA graduate who achieves the strongest record in personal, professional, and academic performance. Jill Savola Kinch (MMHC’14) was recognized as the 2023 Founder’s Medalist for the School of Nursing. 

Associate Dean Escalas also announced the recipients of the Dean’s Awards for Academic Excellence: 

  • Nathaniel Day (MAcc’23) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in Master of Accountancy.
  • Joshua DeAngulo (MSF’23) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in Master of Science in Finance.
  • Margot Cunningham (MMark’23) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in Master of Marketing.
  • John Springs (EMBA’23) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in Executive MBA.
  • Deidra Dickerson and Lyndy Wilcox (both MMHC’23) received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in Master of Management in Health Care.

Awards and Recognition for Faculty 

Josh White

Joshua T. White

Libby Crowe (MBA’23), President of the Owen Student Government Association, presented the James A. Webb Excellence in Teaching Award to Joshua T. White, Assistant Professor of Finance, Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Dean’s Faculty Fellow. 

Brian T. McCann

Brian T. McCann

Emily Renee Woosley (EMBA’23) presented Brian T. McCann, Associate Professor of Strategic Management, with the EMBA Faculty Teaching Award.

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

  • Ray Friedman, Brownlee O. Currey Professor of Management, Professor of Asian Studies, received the Faculty Research Impact Award. 
  • Veronika Krepely Pool, Professor of Finance, was awarded the Faculty Research Productivity Award. 
  • Rangaraj Ramanujam, Richard M. and Betty Ruth Miller Professor of Management, Professor of Health Policy, and Brian T. McCann, received Faculty Teaching and Learning Awards. 
Nancy Lea Hyer

Nancy Lea Hyer

Senior Associate Dean Willis also recognized Nancy Lea Hyer, who has been bestowed Emeritus status by the University’s Provost, Chancellor, and Board of Trust for her years of service to Vanderbilt University and the Owen Graduate School of Management. M. Eric Johnson was also recognized with Emeritus status for his years of service by the University’s Provost, Chancellor, and Board of Trust.  

Other Awards and Recognition 

At ceremonies held on Thursday, May 11, several other students were recognized for their achievements: 

  • Emily Renee Woosley (EMBA‘23) was recognized with the Martin S. Geisel Leadership Award, awarded to a graduating student in the Executive MBA program who demonstrated leadership in executive education.
  • David Kotch (MBA’23) received the Matt Wigginton Finance Award, awarded for outstanding performance in finance. 
  • Libby Crowe (MBA’23) was presented with the H. Igor Ansoff Award, which recognized original and creative contributions to the school. 
  • John Menges (MBA’23) was awarded the Flournoy A. Coles Jr. Prize in recognition of international studies. 
  • Jack Whitson (MBA’23) was recognized with the Financial Executives Institute Award for outstanding academic performance in accounting and finance. 

CommencementFifteen graduating students received the Owen Service Award for outstanding effort and energy in leadership, community involvement, and student life. They are: 

  • Megan Andereck (MBA’23)
  • Chris Aultman (MMark’23)
  • Emmy Banks (MBA’23)
  • Mike Davidson (MBA’23)
  • German Arellano Guzman (MBA’23)
  • Vivek Kakar (MMark’23)
  • Zerleena Khan (MBA’23)
  • Sherman Lake (MBA’23)
  • Josh Martin (MBA’23)
  • Alyssa Patel (MBA’23)
  • Chris Scheinert (MBA’23)
  • Hannah Thomas (MSF’23)
  • Brandon Valentine (MBA’23)
  • Billy White (MBA’23)
  • Michael Wohlberg (MBA’23)

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