Isenberg’s Finance Department made an especially strong showing at this year’s signature commencement events, with two of its graduates serving as student speakers: Yaseen Gholizadeh represented his 1,180 Isenberg classmates at the school’s Senior Celebration (955 of whom received diplomas at the ceremony), and Daniella Iannuzzi spoke on behalf of the 5,500 graduates receiving bachelor’s degrees at the UMass Amherst Undergraduate Commencement.
“Our achievements are not just a representation of our natural abilities, but rather a reflection of all the people who have provided innumerable hours of advice, mentorship, education, and friendship,” Yaseen Gholizadeh said during Isenberg’s Senior Celebration at the Mullins Center on May 11, where the school’s graduates received bachelor’s degrees as their families and friends cheered them on. Introduced by Undergraduate Dean and Master of Ceremonies William Brown, Yaseen praised everyone present minus himself. An honor student with a 4.0 grade point average who will join Goldman Sachs later this year, the Isenberg senior applauded his fellow driven and ambitious students. But “far more meaningful,” he emphasized, “is our undeniable sense of community. We were united in our support of each other.” After thanking Isenberg faculty and staff, he praised his family for their ongoing support. “I wouldn’t be here without them,” insisted Yaseen. “My beautiful, talented, hard-working mother instilled in me the importance of education, the importance of hard work, the importance of doing something that you love.” He led his classmates an uproarious, standing ovation for the hundreds of parents in the arena.
After each Isenberg student had received a degree on stage, Interim Dean Tom Moliterno offered his take on the parental theme, thanking Isenberg parents “for entrusting your sons and daughters to us.” Turning the lens around, he thanked the students “on behalf of your parents for doing what you had to do to make us so proud of you.” He also applauded the students for their “unheard of” 80+ percentage participation in their senior class gift. Conceding that the students had put up with a lot during two years of the Business Innovation Hub’s construction, he added, “I’m happy that you got to enjoy your final semester in the new building.” And finally, he summoned Mark Fuller—the students’ dean for all but their senior year (currently UMass Amherst’s Vice Chancellor for Advancement)—to the stage for a Fulleresque “selfie” with the students and their parents in the background. (Watch the video here.)
A day earlier, many of those celebrants gathered in McGuirk Alumni Stadium for the university’s Undergraduate Commencement ceremony. With 20,000 well-wishers on hand, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Isenberg senior Daniella Iannuzzi shared keynote speaking honors. “Life is a team sport with shared commitments,” the governor observed. “Get comfortable about being uncomfortable,” he told the students.
Daniella advised onlookers, “Don’t look past the little moments.” She shared a litany of memories and highlights from her four years at UMass Amherst and Isenberg. “Remember to appreciate them because one day they’ll be big moments,” she exclaimed. (Watch highlights from the ceremony and Daniella's speech here.)
Several members of Isenberg’s community accepted university-wide honors at the ceremony. Marty Jacobson ’68, a lifetime supporter of UMass Athletics and Isenberg, received an honorary doctorate of business. Two Isenberg students—Jiya Nair (operations and information management and political science) and Jaclyn Nicholson (marketing and communication) were named 21st Century Leaders. And accounting major Rachel Sanderson was one of two graduating Jack Welch Scholars.
Master’s Degree and PhD Celebrations
Earlier in the day, at the Graduate School Commencement, 16 Isenberg students received doctorates and 613 earned master’s degrees before gathering with their families at the School’s new Business Innovation Hub for a gala celebration. View images from commencement and the reception here.