Newest CoB graduates celebrate their success

The College of Business graduation ceremony was staged on May 10 in the Atlantic Union Bank Center.

SUMMARY: Graduation speech delivered by two-time winner of award for outstanding undergraduate teacher.

With the stirring words of commencement speaker Richard Tate still ringing in their ears, some 740 graduates of James Madison University’s College of Business crossed the stage to receive their diplomas on May 10 when the CoB conducted its Spring 2024 commencement exercises in the Atlantic Union Bank Center.

Among them were valedictorian Mya Gonzales and 560 undergraduates who had completed one or more of the college's seven majors. They were joined by the 180 students who had satisfied the requirements for graduation from the Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management.

More than 50 others who earned advanced degrees from other CoB programs were recognized at separate ceremonies on campus.

In his welcoming remarks, Michael Busing, dean of the College of Business, exhorted graduates to “keep dreaming and following your passion.”

"By doing so,” he said, “you will lead a productive and meaningful life and positively impact those around you."

Busing reminded graduates of a courtesy that has become one of the distinguishing marks of JMU's culture of caring. JMU alumni are famous, he said, for their habit of holding open doors for those who follow. Busing charged graduates to “continue this tradition.”

Next to the podium was Jonathan R. Alger, JMU's outgoing president, who predicted that the connections made by graduates during their time in the CoB would have a lasting impact on their lives.

It is difficult to say with certainty, President Alger told them, what the industries and jobs of the future may look like. “But the good news,” he said, “is that you’ll be ready for whatever comes next, because your JMU education has given you the tools to be adaptive, lifelong learners.”

Richard Tate, a lecturer in the Department of Marketing and director of the JMU Center for Professional Sales, was selected by a vote of the students to serve as this year’s faculty speaker.

Tate, a member of the CoB faculty since 2016, is a two-time recipient of the Dr. Otto C. Brenner Memorial Award – having won it first in 2017 and then again in 2022. The award signifies his having been named JMU's “outstanding undergraduate professor.”

Tate is noted for his success in developing students’ selling skills. On this occasion, however, he pointedly placed the shoe on the other foot, sharing with students the professional secret that “faculty learn from you, and you inspire us.”

Tate also urged his listeners “ to remember that you are forever part of the JMU family,” adding that “the bonds you’ve formed with your fellow Dukes, mentors and professors will be an enduring source of support, wisdom and friendship in the years ahead.”

“Don’t be afraid to lean on this remarkable network as you navigate new paths,” he continued. “They will be there to celebrate your successes and pick you up after setbacks – the JMU community is yours for life.”

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by David Doremus

Published: Monday, May 13, 2024

Last Updated: Monday, May 13, 2024

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