Thursday, May 20, 2010

Emerson Electric CEO Touts Integrity at Wake Forest Commencement

The Wake Forest University Schools of Business honored 404 master’s students at a hooding ceremony Sunday, May 16 in Wait Chapel, followed by the University’s commencement exercises a day later at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Holders of master’s degrees wear a symbolic hood draped around the neck and over the shoulders, displayed down the back with the lining exposed. The hood identifies the level of the degree, the field of learning, and the institution that awards it.

This year’s graduate business students who received hoods included: 76 in the Full-Time MBA Program; 30 in the Executive MBA Program; 37 in the Winston-Salem Evening MBA Program; 47 in the Charlotte Evening MBA program; 42 in the Charlotte Saturday MBA program; 74 in the Master of Science in Accountancy Program; and 91 in the Master of Arts in Management Program. Seven graduates received joint degrees as part of programs offered with other Wake Forest schools: five with the School of Law and two with the School of Medicine.

The hooding address was delivered by David Farr, chairman, CEO and president of Emerson Electric Co. In his speech, Farr provided words of wisdom to the students to use in advancing their careers and achieving their future goals. One piece of advice that was met with a round of applause: “Be honest and act with integrity. There is no room in business or in life for deception or fraud,” he explained. “You must be uncompromising in your personal ethics and your level of expectations from others. Remember, when integrity and trust are lost, they are gone forever."

In his speech, Farr stressed the importance of the graduates developing new leaders as they grow in their own leadership roles. “The process of developing leaders is full of unknowns, uncertainties and failures,” Farr said.

“It is also very hard work. Just as you look for quality leaders to help your career, be the kind of boss you would like to have. Look as those growing behind you and help them develop.”

Farr asked the students to remember that, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm and intense personal commitment. There are many smart people in this world who do a great job at work, but there are relatively few who have enormous commitment, energy, intensity, passion, vision and drive to lead winning global organizations. Those who do make a difference every day are the people others want to and will follow.”

Wake Forest University Dean of Business, Steve Reinemund, closed the evening by extending his hearty  congratulations to the Class of 2010. “You have worked hard and are well-prepared to chase your dreams. I trust that you have developed a life plan and that your vocation - your place in society - is becoming clear to you. Most of all, I trust that you are leaving here with a clear sense of your true north - with your moral compass well-tuned and calibrated - so that your success will come with integrity.”

The entire faculty and staff of the Wake Forest University Schools of Business would like to congratulate the Class of 2010!

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