Farmer School celebrates graduating class of 2019

Speakers urge students to keep moving forward

More than 1,000 FSB students graduated this weekend
More than 1,000 FSB students graduated this weekend Photo: Jay Murdock

Speakers urge students to keep moving forward

The faculty and staff of the Farmer School joined an estimated crowd of 6,000 friends and family in celebrating the 1,084 members of the Farmer School Class of 2019 on Sunday, May 19.  The Divisional Recognition Ceremony, held at Millett Hall, was filled with laughter, cheers, reminiscing, and more than a few tears.  After the ceremony, students will be embarking on the next phase of their journeys – to start their careers at companies including Microsoft, Disney, Capital One, and Fortune 500 organizations across the country and around the world.

“I hope that your Miami years, like mine, were life-changing. You have seen your share of ‘firsts,’ filled with new experiences, new friends, new ideas and skills. These will all serve you well as you transition to the next stage of your journey,” Farmer School Dean Marc Rubin told the assembled students, friends, and family. “Of all the things you have learned here, perhaps the most important and impressive are your self-confidence and your ability to view continual adaptation and change as opportunities rather than as threats.”

Senior Miranda Scott told the students that a new life outside the red bricks of Miami’s campus was now ahead of them. “Beyond these bricks, we are empowered by our education and experiences to take on any obstacle that comes our way, even if we may experience failure,” Scott explained. “Whether we must go around it, climb over it, or forge right on through it, there is only one direction for a FSB graduate to go, and that is forward. We will not sit on the sidelines after today. For we know and believe that it is better to have tried and failed, than to allow fear to keep us from even trying at all.”

Commencement speaker Lori Kaiser, a 1995 accountancy graduate and the founder and CEO of Kaiser Consulting, reflected on her time at Miami, noting that, “I remember my Miami years so fondly as this is a remarkable place. The place where I became an adult, where I “learned how to learn,” and where I made my life-long friends. I feel my life took shape under the watchful eye of Mother Miami.  She nurtured me and gave me everything I would need to have a successful and happy life – a concrete education, hands-on learning, practice working on group projects and a network of friends and colleagues.”

She told the graduates that it was a good idea to have a plan, but to keep in mind that a plan is a start, not a certainty, as no one knows what the future holds. She pointed out that successful people need to be curious by nature, asking questions, finding what works and what doesn’t, and discovering what’s needed and filling that need.

Kaiser also recalled the time that she left her job to create her own business, but didn’t find the support she hoped for. “Persevere with passion, even if no one believes in you. The business world is open to disruption. But there will always be (naysayers) out there. Don’t let them discourage you. Sometimes, they just can’t see what you can see. No one knows what you can do except you!”

Several faculty were also recognized for their accomplishments over the past school year:

  • Brett Smith, professor of marketing, received the Farmer School of Business Senior Faculty Award for Research Excellence.
  • Chris Sutter, assistant professor of management, received the James Robeson Junior Faculty Award for Research Excellence.
  • Melissa Thomasson, professor and incoming chair of economics, was the recipient of the Richard K. Smucker Teaching Excellence Award as the outstanding professor
  • Scott Dust, assistant professor of management, was given the Richard K. Smucker Teaching Excellence Award as the outstanding junior professor.
  • Carol McGuire, assistant teaching professor of information systems & analytics, received the Richard K. Smucker Teaching Excellence Award as the outstanding clinical professor.
  • Gillian Oakenfull, Professor of Marketing, received the service excellence award.

Scott concluded her words to her fellow students by remarking that their futures may be unknown, but their potential is not. “Change is coming in the world of business, and we are prepared to create our own future along the uncharted path ahead,” she said. “We are enough, we are capable, and we are prepared to embark on this trek which begins where these red bricks end. Together we can revolutionize the way business is done.”

More photos from Sunday's ceremony

Graduating class listens to speech

Miranda Scott, student speaker

 Lori Kaiser speaks to the crowd

Natalie Utt and Zuky cross the stage

Marc Rubin hugs a student on stage

 Student high-five while walking back to their seats

Student holds up diploma holder to crowd

Students shake hands