Isenberg is Prominent at Graduation Ceremonies

May 15, 2012

Isenberg Senior Celebration

Isenberg students and alumni made their mark at UMass Amherst's 2012 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on May 11 at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Isenberg's 1,000+ graduating seniors accounted for 1/5 of the year's graduates. Eleven seniors, including two from Isenberg-Daniel K. Burke (Accounting) and Michael McDonough (Finance)-were honored on the podium as 21st Century Leaders, a distinction that recognizes exemplary achievement, initiative, and social awareness.  Three other Isenberg students-Daniel Burke, Laura Surdek (Operations & Information Management), and Patrick Witz (Accounting)-were lauded as graduating Jack Welch Scholars, a prestigious scholarship program that honors former GE chairman Jack Welch '57.


Eugene M. Isenberg '50 '00H, for whom the Isenberg School of Management is named, was the inaugural recipient of the University's Legacy of Leadership Award. The accolade recognizes visionaries who have transformed organizations while championing public service, social diversity, and quality of life improvements. Mr. Isenberg, who received tumultuous applause led by the Isenberg students, is the School's most generous supporter and an exceptional advocate of interdisciplinary initiatives that unite business, science, and technology.


Edward D. Shirley '78, was honored with the University's Distinguished Achievement Award.  The Isenberg accounting graduate is president and CEO of Bacardi Ltd., the world's largest privately held spirits company. Formerly the vice chairman of Procter & Gamble's Global Beauty & Grooming unit, Shirley has created an endowed annual scholarship for outstanding Isenberg students who have embraced community service and international experiences.


The next morning, Isenberg faculty, staff and more than 7,000 students and their families assembled in the Mullins Center for the School's Annual Senior Celebration. Remarks by Dean Mark Fuller and Associate Undergraduate Dean Linda Shea urged graduating seniors to remain active in the Isenberg community by returning to campus to share professional insights and influence with future Isenberg students.


Senior class speaker Kyle Lawless recalled life-changing lessons from inspirational faculty members: Accounting professor Richard Simpson urging students to do what they love; Accounting professor Michael Whiteman insisting that students treat others with respect and dignity; and Resource Economics professor Richard Rogers advocating that students continuously challenge themselves.


"Keep surrounding yourself with those people who make you work harder, change the way you look at the world, change the way you look at each other," Lawless urged his classmates." Take the Isenberg spirit with you ... Take it with you wherever you go, with everything you do." 


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