At USC’s 135th Commencement on May 11, 2018, more than 900 USC Marshall and 500-plus USC Leventhal graduates turned their tassels and celebrated the beginning of their lives as Trojan alumni.
Three business leaders spoke to the graduates during three satellite ceremonies at the University Park campus of the University of Southern California: Timothy C. Draper, noted venture capitalist and founder and managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and Draper University; Mark A. Weinberger, global chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young (EY); and Timothy F. Ryan, U.S. chairman and senior partner of PwC.
‘Make the World Better’
USC Marshall dean James G. Ellis welcomed the audience at the Galen Center ceremony for Marshall undergraduates in the morning.
He remarked that Marshall graduates shoulder the responsibilities of leading a world that seems to be in turmoil all the time. “They must make the right choices and do the right things. This is a world that needs ethics and morality. It needs value systems,” Ellis said. “They have the skill sets and they have the values to make it happen. … They have the spirit and the ability to truly make this a better world.”
In his commencement address, Draper said, “In the very near future, I believe that you can make it so people are truly citizens of the world, as geographic borders become less relevant and communications become more virtual. You’re coming into this world with an outstanding education and unlimited imagination.
“Trust yourself to make the changes that the world needs,” he said. “The world is wide open to you to mold, to transform, to improve and to build. Take advantage of new technologies to make the world better. Be bold.”
Show Courage, Integrity and Respect
In an afternoon ceremony in Epstein Family Plaza, William W. Holder, Leventhal dean, welcomed the accounting undergraduates and graduates.
Ryan spoke about the importance of courage and integrity and treating others with respect. The leader of the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, Ryan said, “As leaders who are going to change the world, building a fully inclusive world is a big part of who we are. Never forget that responsibility to make people feel welcome, included and realize their full potential as well.”
Your own CEO
At an evening ceremony at the Galen Center, Dean Ellis encouraged USC Marshall graduate students to embrace change and show the world what leadership really is.
In his commencement address, Weinberger encouraged students to keep their eyes open, and strive to leave their comfort zones.
“Stay open to every possibility,” he said. “You are the CEO of your own life. And USC Marshall has prepared you very well for that.”
One student took that advice to heart. Anthony “Wak” Kim, a student in the Master of Business for Veterans, took the opportunity of his graduation to propose to his longtime girlfriend, in front of an audience of his peers and professors.
She said yes, ensuring that perhaps one USC Marshall graduate was just a little bit happier than all the others.