At the Fall Commencement on December 17, 2007, approximately 810 undergraduate students and 241 graduate students became the newest alumni of the College of Business Administration.
Undergraduates from the Landon School, with the exception of the School of Accounting, received their diplomas during an afternoon ceremony, with the Chapman Graduate School and the School of Accounting ceremony taking place in the evening.
Joyce J. Elam, executive dean and vice provost, FIU Online, spoke at both gatherings, recapping the college’s many achievements—including the recent completion of the first phase of the new College of Business Administration Complex—and communicating to both audiences the idea of GEM: gratitude, engagement, and meaning.
“While you’ve each earned your degrees yourselves, I hope you also feel grateful to all those who made it possible . . . and to your good fortune to have had access to the opportunity—afforded to only a few people in the world today,” she said.
Tying the idea of gratitude to the notion of engagement, she explained that their engagement “facilitates our reputation for educational excellence,” expressing her hope that they would continue to stay engaged in the college.
Finally, she brought together both concepts to help graduates grapple with the all-important question: What gives meaning to your life?
“I suggest that being aware and grateful for who and what surrounds you provides one clue to creating and finding that meaning,” she said. “I think engagement in all you do represents another.”
Former Colombian ambassador and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President Luis Alberto Moreno gave the commencement address at the afternoon ceremony.
While special for all, ceremony holds heightened significance for three.
Eduardo Baez and Mairim Avila
When the top three students in the Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MSMIS) program received their diplomas, the moment culminated a long journey toward academic distinction and to a recovered friendship, renewed by an almost unbelievable coincidence.
“Eduardo Baez, Veysell Naranjo, and I were born and raised in a very humble city in Cuba and attended the same school, although years apart,” said Mairim Avila, who knew both of them. “We lost contact for years and became unaware of what had happened in each other’s lives. The first day of class, we met, but time had passed, and we did not recognize each other. Before that day ended, though, we discovered each other’s identity. It was an amazing coincidence.”