News & Events

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

Alumni Board Chair Matt PetersonThis November, in advance of Vanderbilt’s Reunion Weekend, the Alumni Board gathered for a truly exceptional meeting. It was our first opportunity to engage with Dean Steenburgh, who brought an invigorating energy to the room and left all in attendance feeling inspired and eager for the exciting journey that lies ahead.

The theme that emerged from the meeting was clear: activation. Sharing your strengths with Owen has never been more important, and there is no better time to step forward and join us as we shape the future of our beloved institution.

Uniquely, faculty and staff were engaged in the meeting alongside members of the Alumni Board and Board of Visitors, fostering collaboration and interaction in ways we have not experienced. It was a wonderful representation of who we are and where we are headed. In his address, Dean Steenburgh shared his vision for the school and provided observations about the evolving marketplace of higher education, both in the U.S. and globally. He laid out trends of where business schools are going, as well as some of the vulnerabilities of schools that have shown resistance to change. These insights set the tone for Owen’s priorities going forward and underscored Dean Steenburgh’s conviction that to maximize the school’s impact and opportunities for success, we need the active engagement of all members of our community—students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends.

We have already made tremendous progress through the historic renovation and expansion of Management Hall, and now we embark on the crucial task of building upon our rich past to shape the culture and future of our institution. With more than 12,000 alumni, we are not a big school, but together we have the might to take Owen to the next level.

It was clear, through the dynamic events that unfolded during Reunion, that our community is passionate about the future of Owen. Thursday night’s Closing Bell Ceremony was a vibrant iteration that is truly Owen. The event was hosted by the South Asian Business Club and incorporated food and dancing into the festivities. The Distinguished Alumni Dinner and Award Ceremony brought together Owen alumni from around the world, some having graduated as many as 30 years ago or more. At the football game, alumni from across campus united to fill the stadium and cheer on the Commodores. Throughout the weekend, the feeling of Vanderbilt’s momentum was palpable and unified.

Much like the rapid physical transformation of Nashville, Vanderbilt too is experiencing a period of dramatic progress. The ongoing construction of residential colleges and the renovation of Kirkland Hall are difficult to miss and are but a few of the tangible signs of Vanderbilt’s growth.

“Sharing your strengths with Owen has never been more important, and there is no better time to step forward and join us as we shape the future of our beloved institution.”

If you haven’t visited campus lately, now is an excellent time to witness the positive transformation.

This is a pivotal moment for Owen and Vanderbilt. If you have not been engaged recently, now is the time to reconnect. If you feel the desire to contribute but are unsure how, I encourage you to contact Anne Rawlins, Owen’s Senior Director of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving, at, to discuss how you can be involved. Activation of thousands of alumni will be required to transform our Owen. Radical collaboration is a key priority of Vanderbilt’s Dare to Grow campaign, and whether by sharing your time, your talent, or your treasure, you can make an invaluable contribution that will enhance our collective success. I’m excited to see what we will accomplish together.

– Matt Peterson, MBA’94, Chief Executive Officer, Ancillary and Individual, UnitedHealthcare

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