Tag: graduation



Diane Toroian Keaggy originally wrote this for The Source.

Commencement student speakers Bryanna Brown, MBA ’22, will take the the stage Friday at Francis Olympic Field to address members of the Class of 2022.

“I saw firsthand how the inequities in resource allocation impacted my students,” said Brown, who taught fifth-grade math in her hometown of Atlanta at KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools. “To make a difference, you need leaders who can innovate and make strategic business decisions that put children and their education first.”

At Washington University, Brown traveled with her classmates to Washington D.C., Paris and Barcelona as part of Olin’s innovative Global Immersion Program and gained expertise in consulting, finance and management.

Brown also worked to support minority students as a Consortium Fellow. A Washington University professor, Sterling Schoen, founded the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management in 1966 to equip Black, Hispanic and Native American business students with the skills they need to secure positions in American corporations. Today, 21 of the nation’s top MBA programs are consortium members. 

‘I’m proud to be part of this community’

“I’m proud to be a part of this community that strives to make sure that minorities in business have avenues to succeed,” said Brown who, as chapter co-president, helped new fellows prepare for the internship search; hosted community dinners; and sponsored programming for all Olin students. “I’m a career-changer who did not have a business background, and being a Consortium Fellow gave me a sense of camaraderie right from the beginning.” 

Brown also has served as a graduate student representative for the Board of Trustees, where she championed student stipends, child care, housing and mental health resources for graduate students. She also has advocated for events and programs that bring graduate students together. 

“As graduate students, we tend to stick in our silos, but it’s important to collaborate with students across disciplines. And that starts with meeting,”  Brown said. “I think the Board of Trustees is making a concerted effort to understand the graduate student perspective and to better serve these students and support their remarkable work.”

Brown will recognize that work during her remarks to the Class of 2022.  

“We’ve persevered through COVID and incredibly chaotic circumstances,” Brown said. “As much as we’ve done, there is still so much to do and so much to give back. This is just the beginning.” 

After graduation, Brown will move to Minneapolis, where she will work at 3M as a strategist in its renowned Strategy and Marketing Development program. Ultimately, she hopes to return to education. 

“I am excited to get more of the training that I started at Olin,” Brown said. “But I’ll never be far from education. It’s really important to me that every child has the chance for an equitable education.”




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.