WALTHAM, Mass., May 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- President and Chief Executive Officer of State Street Corporation Ronald P. O'Hanley encouraged graduates at Bentley University's 100th undergraduate commencement ceremony to be leaders of positive change during "a time of great uncertainty." The university awarded undergraduate degrees to 993 students representing 28 states and territories and 50 countries. Approximately 8,000 people attended the ceremony, which was held on May 18, 2019, in Waltham, Mass.
"Be open to the immense possibilities that life will offer and be ready to take a chance," O'Hanley told the graduates. "Are you prepared to lead? Are you willing to lead? What kind of leader will you be?"
O'Hanley challenged graduates to "lead with purpose and vision and courage" in order to "ensure that the arc of the universe continues to bend in a positive direction." He shared one of his most challenging leadership moments at BNY Mellon Asset Management during the global financial crisis of 2008, when his team worked around the clock to protect customer investments, not knowing if they would have a job the next day.
"I learned firsthand how important strong leadership is in a crisis," he said. "You owe it to everyone around you to show that you are committed to persevering and being there for them and empathizing with their pain. The financial crisis was indeed the challenge of a lifetime, but in the darkest hours I saw extraordinary acts of courage, kindness and selflessness."
O'Hanley also encouraged graduates to take chances on others, recalling how a hiring partner at McKinsey advocated for him for a position early in his career. Ten years later the CEO of Mellon Bank "took an even greater chance" and asked him to become the head of Mellon's asset management business.
"I didn't check many of the boxes under the qualifications, but both of those people had faith in me and were prepared to let me prove myself," O'Hanley said. "Be prepared to take a chance on yourself, even when you don't check all of the boxes."
O'Hanley concluded with a call for graduates to define the positive change they want to make in the world and at their jobs and to cherish friendships throughout the journey. "Rich or poor, CEO or middle manager, a clear purpose and strong relationships are the most important and powerful determinants of a happy and successful life."
O'Hanley received an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree at the ceremony.
At a separate commencement ceremony for Bentley University graduate students later on Saturday, keynote speaker Robert E. Quinn, Margaret Elliot Tracy Collegiate Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, challenged graduates to find purpose in their careers. The university awarded graduate degrees to 578 students representing 21 states and territories and 41 countries.
"All of you have spent the last period of time getting the technical skills necessary to go out into that world of work to get a job … but I'd like you to think about much more than that today," Quinn said, noting the importance of purpose, people and culture.
Shifting from a mindset of problem-solving to purpose-finding, Quinn continued, will help people discover their authentic selves. "Every person here today is designed to live a purpose-driven life and not a reactive life," Quinn told the graduates.
Quinn concluded by emphasizing the life-changing impact of higher purpose. "It is my hope that every student, every parent, every sibling, every friend, everyone who is here today will begin a journey to find out their mission in life. If that happens this will have been a day very well spent."
Quinn received an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree at the ceremony.
ABOUT THE GRADUATES
Bentley awarded undergraduate degrees to 993 students representing 28 states and territories and 50 countries. The degrees awarded included 956 Bachelor of Science degrees, 22 Bachelor of Arts degrees and 15 Bachelor of Business Administration degrees.
Graduate degrees were awarded to 578 students representing 21 states and territories and 41 countries, including 465 Master of Science degrees, 105 Master of Business Administration degrees, six doctoral degrees, nine dual Master of Science / Master of Business Administration degrees, and 62 certificates. (The figures include degrees and certificates conferred on Oct. 26, 2018, Mar. 1, 2019, and May 18, 2019.)
FACULTY AND STUDENT AWARDS
The Gregory H. Adamian Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Professor of Economics Michael Quinn. Professor of Management Tatiana Manolova was awarded the Excellence in Scholarship Award. The Joseph M. Cronin Award for Excellence in Academic Advising and Mentoring was given to Kiana Pierre-Louis, lecturer in law, taxation and financial planning. Undergraduate student Eric Peter Kerstens won the Professor Robert J. Weafer Award for Undergraduate Academic Excellence. Graduate students Paige Devlin and Timothy Maguire won the Professor E. William Dandes Award for Graduate Academic Excellence.
About Bentley University
Bentley University is one of the nation's leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader with the technical skills, global perspective and ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Bentley's diverse arts and sciences program combined with an advanced business curriculum prepares graduates to make an impact in their chosen fields. The university enrolls approximately 4,000 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students. For more information, visit www.bentley.edu.
SOURCE Bentley University