On December 16, 2008, approximately 1,274 individuals made the passage from student to alumna or alumnus at the Fall Commencement in the U.S. Century Bank Arena on the University Park campus. For the first time since the 2004 Spring Commencement, the business school’s entire student body—from the undergraduate, graduate, and School of Accounting programs—participated in the festivities on the same day. Approximately 770 students from the College of Business Administration’s R. Kirk Landon Undergraduate School and approximately 504, including fourteen doctoral students, from the Alvah H. Chapman, Jr. Graduate School, graduated.
Joyce J. Elam, executive dean of the college and vice provost, FIU Online, spoke to the assembly, assuring the candidates for graduation that they “have demonstrated many of the qualities that will be invaluable to you in your future endeavors—ability, desire, determination, commitment, perseverance, and purpose. You have prepared yourself to face successfully the many challenges that lie ahead of you.”
Remarks set the stage for future alumni involvement.
Elam’s speech also provided an opportunity to remind the soon-to-be business school alumni, a group that now numbers approximately 30,000, of the importance of staying involved.
“Without your continued involvement and support, we can never reach our potential,” she said, and then quoted Robert Maynard Hutchins, the fifth president of the University of Chicago, who said, “If the alumni of a university do not maintain it—in thought and action—there is no reason why anyone else should.”
No one could embody the notion of a dedicated alumnus more than Mario de Armas ( BACC ’85), market managing partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, who received the FIU Medallion as the outstanding alumnus. Within the college, de Armas serves on the Dean’s Council, and is the new president of the School of Accounting Advisory Board. He also plays a role on many community boards including the Board of Trustees of Dade Marine Institute, Inc., a United Way agency that works with court-supervised youth in Miami-Dade County.
Donald Roomes, director of the BBA+ program, and Divesh Sharma, associate professor, School of Accounting, were banner marshals.