Tag: graduation

This article was originally published in the 2017 Olin Business Magazine.

Alex Borchert, BSBA ’06, is managing director of investments at Altus Properties and Olin Alumni Board president (2017-18 academic year). He was the keynote speaker at the Undergraduate Programs graduation recognition ceremony in May.

Olin just wrapped up graduation celebrations for 2017, with recognition ceremonies on Dec. 2 and Dec. 8. What better time to revisit Alex’s advice for staying connected?

What advice did you share with the BSBA Class of 2017?

I was honored and quite humbled to speak at graduation. I shared a few guiding principles I’ve come to live by over my career.

The first dealt with protecting one’s integrity. We’ve all heard the platitude: “It takes a career to build a reputation of utmost integrity, but only one dishonest decision to destroy it.” Integrity is one of the only things I’ve found to be completely within one’s personal control in business. I can only hope that I enlightened a few graduates to its importance—and its fragility.

Another related to the value of embracing challenge and learning from failure. I hope that Olin’s 2017 graduates continue to seek fresh challenges as their careers mature—and don’t give into the comfort that success can breed.

I also assured them that the value they receive from WashU doesn’t end at graduation, but continues to grow as alumni.

How can alumni take advantage of the school’s global network?

Should any graduate desire to reconnect with the school or broaden their professional network via alumni connections within a city or industry, I encourage them to reach out directly to our tremendous Alumni & Development department. Don’t be shy; simply call them. They enjoy nothing more than working with alumni to ensure that we are maximizing the value of our incredible network. The alumni network at Olin is as strong as it has ever been. I encourage all of my fellow alums to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity it can provide.

What are the easiest ways to stay in touch or reconnect with Olin?

Some of my favorite opportunities for connection include joining the alumni mentorship program through the Alumni & Development department, providing mock interviews or “lunch and learns” via the Weston Career Center, notifying the Office of Corporate Relations that you’re available to speak to a class or student club about your industry or company, and the easiest of all involves attending one of the many alumni events hosted by our active alumni chapters from coast to coast.

The below post originally appeared on The Source.

A campus classroom may seem like an odd spot to consider organ donation. But trust Sara Miller when she tells you it is better than a hospital waiting room. That’s where she and her family made the decision eight years ago to donate the liver of Miller’s older sister, Laura, who had been declared brain-dead days after being diagnosed with cancer at age 14.

“The hospital is the worst place to have these discussions,” the senior told classmates during the fall meeting of Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA). “That’s why I helped create this organization. I wanted to bring light to the importance of organ donation so that when others have to make a decision—whether it’s a yes or a no—they are making it from a point of clarity and education.”

Miller is one of about 300 students who will participate in the December Degree Candidate Recognition Ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 2, in the Athletic Complex. She will graduate with a degree in health-care management from Olin Business School.

Miller arrived at the university eager to join a club that promotes organ donation. When she learned that no such organization existed, she started one herself, with the help of two upperclassmen and the support of the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.

Since then, she has trained 50 volunteers and hosted more than 30 events, including registration drives, conversations with bioethicists, panels with transplant surgeons and events with donors and recipients.

Sara Miller and Trish O’Neill present at a recent Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA) meeting.

At a meeting this fall, Miller welcomed a very special organ recipient: Trish O’Neill, the schoolteacher who received Laura’s liver. They told students the story of their friendship and dispelled some of the myths surrounding organ donation, such as that certain faiths reject organ donation and that potential donors do not receive the same lifesaving measures as nondonors.

When a classmate asked Miller if her family experienced any unexpected consequences, she did not hesitate.

“The biggest surprise for us is how organ donation has helped us heal and to recover more fully,” Miller told the audience. “And then there is the gift of Trish’s friendship. We like to joke that we would be friends with her even if she didn’t have my sister’s liver.”

After graduation, Miller plans to work in health-care management, where she hopes to focus on the patient experience. Fellow leaders will continue SODA’s mission at Washington University. Miller will stay involved with SODA, too, guiding the expansion of SODA to Marquette University, in her hometown of Milwaukee.

“I am proud that SODA has created a dialogue about organ donation on campus,” Miller said. “I came here knowing this is what I wanted to do. WashU gave me the leadership skills and the support I needed to make it happen.”

Video by Tom Malkowicz

Friday, May 19, we celebrated the professional growth and accomplishments of more than 225 graduate and 277 undergraduate students. This year’s graduates not only graduated during Olin’s Centennial year, but also from the top undergraduate business program, one of the top 25 MBA programs, and the #3 Master of Science in Finance program in the U.S. That is something to be proud of.

Check out some of the photos of the big day, below, and watch our social media channels for more photos later this week! Congratulations, graduates!

Undergraduate Graduation Recognition Ceremony

Click image to expand. Photos by Jerry Naunheim Jr.

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Graduate Graduation Recognition Ceremony

Click image to expand. Photos by Jerry Naunheim Jr.

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Hank Cummings, a double major in music and business, opened the all University Commencement ceremony in Brookings Quad this morning by singing “America the Beautiful.”

Commencement Speaker Anna Quindlen

More than 3,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree candidates and their friends and families defied cloudy skies and predictions of rain to fill the Quad where best-selling author Anna Quindlen delivered this year’s Commencement address.

In addition to Quindlen, other speakers included Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, the senior class president, Reid Petty, from Mendham, N.J., BSBA’17, is a marketing major delivered the undergraduate student Commencement greeting, and Wei Zhu, a candidate for a juris doctoris from the  School of Law, was selected to give the graduate student address. She is from Hunan Province, China.

The 3,089 candidates at Washington University’s 156th Commencement will receive 3,245 degrees, of which 1,490 are undergraduate, 1,751 are graduate and professional, and four are associates in arts.

There are 600 doctoral candidates, including 132 for the doctor of philosophy degree from the Graduate School; one for the doctor of business administration degree from the Olin Business School; 242 for the juris doctoris degree from the School of Law; two for the juris scientiae doctoris degree from the School of Law; and 223 for degrees from the School of Medicine.

Sustainability champions Nick Annin, Elise Fabbro and Nicola Salzman graduate this month from Washington University in St. Louis poised to fight the globe’s most pressing problem with a powerful tool: the free market.

Though these students support laws and treaties that protect the environment, they also recognize that markets can move faster. And, in this battle, every second counts.

Nick Annin plans to pursue a Masters in Finance at Olin after earning his undergrad degree. Majors: Environmental policy and writing in Arts & Sciences. 

“There is a myth that the economy and the environment are inherently at odds,” said Annin, a senior in the environmental studies program in Arts & Sciences. “We know, in fact, the opposite is true. A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment.”

The three advocates share much in common, including an early admiration for former vice president Al Gore. Each said Gore’s 2006 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” transformed climate change from a vague cause for concern into, for each of them, a call to action.

Annin remembers watching the film in fourth grade with his father Peter Annin, a renowned environmental journalist. Annin felt as if he might vomit.

“All my life, I had gone camping and the woods were my home,” said Annin, a native of Madison, Wis. “The idea that all of that was threatened was horrifying.”

Nicola Salzman Majors: Environmental policy in Arts & Sciences and leadership and strategic management in Olin Business School.

Salzman, also a senior in environmental studies in Arts & Sciences, was in high school in Boston when she read a book version of “An Inconvenient Truth.” She remembers looking at the adults around her thinking, “Wait? You knew about this? And you’re not doing everything you can to fix it?”

And Fabbro, a law student, remembers her Palo Alto, Calif., high school inviting Gore to deliver his “Inconvenient Truth” presentation live.

“I walked out of there changed,” Fabbro said. “Since then, the environment and our impact on it is what I think when I go to bed at night, and when I wake up in the morning.”

In 2013, they would all arrive at the same time at the Danforth Campus. Annin came to play football for Coach Larry Kindbom; Salzman liked the campus culture; and Fabbro transferred to the School of Law when an admissions officer serendipitously called the day she learned her current program was losing two environmental law experts.

Once here, they all applied to participate in the international climate negotiation seminar. They also each attended the global climate talks, known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences of the Parties (COP) as a delegate from Washington University.

Elise Fabbro Degrees: JD, School of Law and MBA, Olin Business School

It’s a unique opportunity, one that few universities extend to undergraduates, said Beth Martin, senior lecturer in environmental studies in Arts & Sciences. At the conferences, the students tracked specific articles of the agreement such as mitigation or finance, and attended negotiations and forums featuring climate leaders such as Gore and former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

“They see how diplomacy works and how words matter,” said Martin, who teaches the international climate seminar and leads the Washington University observer delegation. “The students also meet people whose daily lives and homes are profoundly impacted by climate change. It is both an incredible educational and emotional experience.”

All three students consider the conference the capstone of their academic careers. “We participated in history,” said Fabbro, who attended COP 21 in 2015 in Paris with Annin.

“I asked myself over and over again, ‘How am I here?’” said Salzman, who attended COP 22 in Marrakesh in 2016. “It was an experience unlike one I could ever have in a classroom.”

Fabbro, Annin and Salzman left their respective conferences buoyed. The innovations of engineers, the research of scientists, the resolve of diplomats — the gains were real. And yet each returned, more convinced than ever, that global talks and international treaties can only take us so far. The private sector can — and must — play a pivotal role.

For a closer look at Washington University’s leading sustainability champions and their vision for world for a healthy environment and economy, link to their Class Acts profiles.

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