University of Southern California

This Is Your World
Graduates Begin Their Next Phase Prepared and with Sound Advice from Commencement Speakers
May 19, 2011 • by News at Marshall

On May 13, Marshall held three distinct commencement ceremonies for Marshall students who were receiving their bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and degrees from the Leventhal School of Accounting.

For USC Marshall Dean James G. Ellis, who was appointed in April 2007, the 2011 commencement marked a milestone. "I am honored to have been your dean the entire time you've been here," he said.

Undergraduate commencement speaker Brandon Beck, co-founder of Riot Games, assured the graduates that they were well-suited for the future as "the world moves and changes so quickly that bright and adaptable people will succeed. This is your world," he said.

For Michael Lachapelle, who attended the undergraduate ceremony as a proud father, nothing illustrated his son Austin's sense of achievement more than the phone call he received from his son five minutes after his last final. "Dad," he said, "I'm done and it was all worth it!"

Leventhal School of Accounting's combined graduate and undergraduate satellite ceremony was held in Alumni Park; later that evening the MBA ceremony was held.

Vice Dean Shantanu Dutta welcomed the MBA graduates and their families and noted that the Class of 2011 included "20 different countries that represent all the major economies in the world." "At Marshall you've had multiple opportunities to cultivate your global perspective based on the interactions you've had both in and out of the classroom," Dutta said.

Ellis began his remarks to the graduate students by pretending to misplace his notes, only to locate them in the Golden Briefcase, the Challenge for Charity award won by the USC Marshall MBA team in April. "This is yours," he announced, explaining to the audience that "they won this in a competition against major universities up and down the West Coast, by raising more money for charities, putting in more hours for charities and putting up an athletic effort at Stanford to win this outright."

In the audience was Julia Vaynernov '94, sister of Jayne Vaynerov MBA '11, who was a co-chair for the Challenge for Charity, which raised $136,000 to help Marshall win this year's Golden Briefcase. "We are all very excited for Jayne to start her future and proud that she has graduated with honors," Julia said, adding that Vaynerov will soon begin a new career at Mattel.

The MBA commencement speaker John C. Cushman III, board chairman of global real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, offered the following advice to the Marshall MBA Class of 2011: "Don't settle. Make yourself uncomfortable. Be prepared to make mistakes, as long as you can keep making new ones."

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.