Dean’s Blog

Summer is Over!

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on September 19, 2011 at 12:09 PM PDT


The academic year is starting this week and campus is getting busier and busier with the approach of fall classes.  [It is true that law students and EMBA students have been in class for several weeks, but they don't fill the campus up!]  On September 15th we had the Albers Convocation, a beginning of the year meeting for Albers faculty and staff.

On September 20th we host a welcome event for our new undergraduate business students, both freshmen and transfers.

At the Convocation, we emphasized that there are four important things we need to accomplish this year:

1. Earn reaffirmation of our AACSB accreditation.  AACSB is the top business education accrediting body in the world.  There are 633 schools worldwide with accreditation.  Accredited schools are reviewed every five years to assure they are delivering a quality business education.  A peer review team will visit us in late October.  We sent them our self-study report in late August, which we know they are pouring over now.

2. Revamp our MBA curriculum.  A team of faculty and staff started working on this last year.  They have come up with some interesting changes and are getting closer to making their initial proposal to the faculty.

3. Revise our undergraduate business core curriculum.  Now that the university has revised the university undergraduate core, it is time for us to look at the business core.  A task force of faculty began work in the spring.  Thus far they have looked at what other programs do and the trends in business undergraduate education.  Now they must get busy formulating a proposal.

4. Establish a system to measure the quality and impact of faculty scholarship.  This is a difficult topic for faculty.  In our current system of annual evaluation and rank and tenure, we are not doing enough to assess the quality of faculty research.  We need to establish a system that is fair and provides faculty with the right incentives and support.

A blogging expert told me there should be pictures posted on my blog.  I am not sure what pictures I have that are appropriate for these topics.  But, if we recognize that the start of the school year means summer is over (way too short one more time!), and it is a great time to look back and remember the highlights.  For me, that would be the trip to Peru and Machu Picchu in July and a vacation trip to Lake Tahoe the week before Labor Day.    

Summer is over!  Have a great school year! 


Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on August 24, 2011 at 9:08 PM PDT


On August 8th we held the ninth annual Albers Alumni Golf Tournament at the Glendale Country Club in Bellevue.  This event has always been important for bringing Albers supporters together and any money raised is used to support scholarships for Albers students.  This year the tournament was particularly successful because we had 130 golfers, a great location, and great weather!

There is a lot of work by volunteers on this event.  This year the leaders were Dave Anastasi from my advisory board and Tony Goodwillie and Scott Warren from our alumni board.  Rob Bourke, our staff member who handles alumni affairs, also puts in a lot of work on the tournament.  The event was developed and championed by our alumni board and we are very grateful for their support across the nine years of the tournament!  And thanks to all the volunteers who assisted with the event this year!  It really takes a lot of work to do one of these!

It’s not uncommon for the tournament to be my one and only outing on the golf course during a year.  This year it was my first time out, but I do have another tournament on the schedule next month.  I don’t mind playing golf, but it is a very time consuming sport – it takes a long time to play a round of golf – and so does not work for me.

I am definitely a fair weather golfer.  I don’t like to be playing in the rain, and we have had a few years when it was raining.  Given the nature of my golf game, what is the point of being out there if the weather is not nice?

For me, golf is very much a team game.  I only do scrambles, which our tournament is, and that should tell you something about the consistency of my golf game!

This year people were really excited about the Glendale Country Club location, and I agree with them.  What was most appealing to me is that it does not have narrow fairways, frequently you can get to the green via several different fairways, and there are very few houses within reach of my ball.

One year one of my partners wanted to know why I was not using a driver off the tee.  I replied that I was using my driver, but apparently it is so “old school” and small compared to the mega-drivers of today, that it looks like a five wood.  He had the perfect solution, he replied, and sent me an extra driver that he had – a Sasquatch Diamana S-65.  It is exactly as it sounds – big!!  And it does make a difference.  My drives, whenever it is a half decent shot, definitely go a lot further and I do not have near as much difficulty coming up with the requisite two drives that every team member is expected to contribute in a scramble.

Frequently people ask me how my team faired in the tournament.  I must explain to them that it is not good form for the dean to win the tournament, so I take all the necessary precautions to make sure that does not happen.  My golf game is usually sufficient to keep us out of the running, but if I need to, I am not above inviting other weak golfers to join my team.  One year my team finished fourth and we were dangerously close to winning the third place prize.  I’ve been much more careful ever since!


The Economy

Posted by Barbara Hauke on August 10, 2011 at 11:08 AM PDT


On August 8th I made a presentation here in Seattle to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Economics and Investment Conference, attended by credit union board members and CEOs from around the country.  The theme was, “Where Do We Stand Now? An Overview of the Current Economic Climate.”  Here are some of the things I said:

  • First, Seattle is a great place to have a conference this time of year!  No heat, humidity, or mosquitoes!
  • The “Great Recession” that lasted from December, 2007 to June, 2009 was the deepest and longest since the Great Depression. 
  • It has also been the weakest recovery.  Over two years later, we have restored less than 25% of the jobs lost and output has still not recovered to its pre-recession level.
  • Looking at the components of output – consumption, investment, government expenditures, and net exports – it is investment spending that has not recovered.  But it is not business investment in machinery and equipment, it is business and residential construction that continue to lag.
  • The Fed moved aggressively to address the stress in financial markets and the economic slowdown.  The Fed is out of bullets.  It has done everything it can do.
  • The Fed has moved so aggressively that there is a risk of inflation.  I admit to having a hard time figuring out exactly what that risk is.
  • The federal government moved modestly to stimulate the economy.  Much of the deficit has to do with fighting two wars (without raising taxes for them), tax cuts, and the cyclical impact on the budget, not specific steps to enlarge the government sector.
  • The current discussions on the budget deficit are not well informed because they fail to differentiate between cyclical and structural deficits.  We need to focus on the latter, and that is best addressed by medium to longer term cuts in spending (especially entitlement spending), not short term cuts that make it more difficult to put the recession behind us.
  • There are a number of factors weighing down the recovery – the housing market, Federal budget uncertainty, energy prices (although that could be changing), government downsizing, weak income and job growth, consumer deleveraging, and struggles in Europe.
  • There are few sources of strength – exports (especially to Asia), business ready to invest when they are convinced that consumers will be there, low interest rates, and maybe energy prices are starting to drop.
  • That all adds up to continued modest growth of 2-3%, not good for an economic recovery.  I don’t see the double-dip that other people see.  When a recession is caused by a financial crisis that impacts lower and middle income households, history shows a long, slow recovery.
  • If Standard and Poors wants to downgrade Treasury debt, that is fine, but that means they need to do some other downgrading, like for France.  Treasuries are definitely lower risk than OATs!


The Purpose of Business

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on August 9, 2011 at 11:08 AM PDT


Fordham University recently hosted a meeting of academics and business people here in Seattle.  As part of the event, they convened a panel of five business school deans to give their perspectives on the Purpose of Business.  Here are some exerts of what I said in the discussion:


“The purpose of business is to meet human needs, in two ways.  First, provide goods and services to customers and, two, to provide employment and opportunity to those involved in the enterprise. 


The first includes basic needs that take the form of goods and services, but also less urgent goods and services that contribute to an improved standard of living.  The products produced by business contribute to the common good by meeting basic needs as well as less critical needs.


Regarding the second purpose, employment is important.  It provides income to meet basic needs, but not just that.  Employment is also a way that people define themselves and find meaning and fulfillment and feel good about themselves.  In brief, it provides human dignity.


The business also needs to be sustainable, which influences how it does business.  The focus is on long term customer relationships, not a quick turn.  The environment cannot be excessively exploited in the process of producing goods and services, since that is not sustainable.  To be sustainable, the business also needs to operate profitability, so that it provides incentives for capital, but profitability, particularly when measured in the short term, is not the sole purpose of the business.


Think of examples of successful businesses that you know of – Costco, Boeing, Paccar, Amazon, or Facebook.  Is it profitability that gives owners and employees pride and excitement? Or is it meeting customer needs and what they produce and do that turns them on?  Looked at another way, Microsoft, Alaska Airlines, and Weyerhaeuser are making money now but do not seem to get any credit for it., LinkedIn, and Shutterfly don’t make much money, but are widely admired.  It has to be some combination of both profits and mission that gets people excited about what they do….


One reason that business should be about meeting human needs and contributing to the common good is that society creates an environment that allows a business to operate.  Without that supportive environment, a business could not be successful.  I have in mind such things as property rights, enforcing contracts, educating and training the workforce, overseeing a monetary system and well functioning financial markets, maintaining law and order, and providing infrastructure like highways and ports that support commerce.  Businesses get a “license to operate” so to speak in this supportive environment.


I would suggest that much of my thinking on this issue is influenced by Catholic Social Thought, and I am not saying that to please our Catholic university host, Fordham University.


A major tenant of CST is the “dignity of the human person,” and how work contributes to human dignity.  Thus, a business that “does not enhance its workers and serve the common good is a moral failure,” no matter how profitable.  It was Rerum Novarum (On the Condition of Labor), the first Papal encyclical in CST tradition issued in 1891, that first raised questions about the treatment of employees.  Subsequent encyclicals have gone on to elaborate and press that theme.  For example, Quadragesimo Anno (1931) posed the “just wage” as one that could support a family and allow for some accumulation of property. 


But back to the role of profits, Pope Benedict says the following in the most recent encyclical, Truth and Charity (Caritas in Veritate): “Profit is useful if it serves as a means towards an end that provides a signal both of how to produce it and how to make good use of it.  Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty.”


In sum, my view is that the purpose of business is to provide goods and services to customers and, two, to provide employment and opportunity to those involved in the enterprise.  Business enjoys a supportive environment provided by society and, in turn, it boosts the standard of living of society and contributes to the common good.




Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on August 3, 2011 at 5:08 PM PDT


In late June I attended a meeting in Washington DC to discuss the creation of a system that helps MBA students select a program.  It is being developed as an alternative to the MBA program rankings that have become very prominent and influential.


The meeting was called by the Business Education Alliance (BEA).   The chief organizers are three business school deans – Larry Pulley (William and Mary), Tony Hendrickson (Creighton), and Caryn Beck-Dudley (Florida State).  They have been working on this for nearly two years and now are on the verge of founding a non-profit organization to provide this tool to aspiring MBA students.


There are lots of rankings out there about MBA programs, particularly full-time MBA programs.  We do not have a full-time program, so it is not something I spend much time on.  But as far as program rankings in general go, I don’t know of any leader in higher education who really likes them.  Still, they are part of our world now, and they are not going away any time soon.


I’ve always been struck by how students, alumni, and advisory boards get excited about rankings.  They really get people’s attention.  Albers has been fortunate enough to receive recognition in some of the rankings out there, particularly in US News and World Report and BusinessWeek.   Still, anyone with any sense should know it is very difficult to compare a few schools vs. one another let alone the 550 AAACB accredited business schools in the US or the more than 13,000 business schools worldwide.  All are doing very similar and at the same time very different work.  The experience of an undergraduate student in Albers is very different than one at Seattle Pacific University or one at any of the three University of Washington campuses.  To try to rank even this small group against one another is very difficult, since the student experience can be impacted by so many different factors, including:


  1. Students choose to participate in different program opportunities, thus there is no one student experience in a business program.  For example, one student could choose to be in our Mentor Program and another not.  That will have an impact on their Albers experience.
  2. Students enter the program at different entry points, for example as incoming freshman, as a sophomore transferring from another school on campus, or as a junior transfer coming from a local community college.  Each will yield a different experience.
  3. Students have different interests, skills and aptitudes, and these may match better in one program than another.
  4. Not only will it make a difference as to which faculty the student will have in classes, and who the student’s academic advisor will be, but who will be the friends and support group of the student on campus?  Two students in the same year and major will have a very different experience based on this alone.


All these factors and more make it very difficult to put much stock in rankings as a tool for selecting the right school to attend.


The approach of the BPA is to identify about 20 factors that describe an MBA program.  The inquiring student inputs his or her preferences and an algorithm identifies the programs that best match those preferences.  There is also an audit function so that the integrity of the information provided by schools can be checked.


Whether the BPA can pull this off remains to be seen.  Stay tuned!





Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on July 26, 2011 at 8:07 AM PDT


The International Association of Jesuit Business Schools (IAJBS) held its 17th annual world Forum in Lima, Peru July 17-20.  Hosted by the Universidad del Pacifico (UP), the meeting brought together representatives from 35 universities (mostly Jesuit) from six continents around the world.  The meeting had the theme of “Corporate Social Responsibility and Inclusive Business,” and panels and workshops had that theme.  Two Albers faculty gave paper presentations consistent with those themes, Bill Weis and Meena Rishi (along with former student Samantha Galvin).


The conference took place at the UP campus.  The campus is small, but they have cleverly intertwined their buildings, like a 3-d puzzle, to create open space for what is a very urban campus.  The conference is an opportunity to meet deans from other universities and learn about their programs and interest in collaboration.  Some of the schools that I talked to about collaboration were from such countries as Belgium, Uruguay, Colombia, and the US.


There was a presentation made on the Jesuit African Initiative, which is an effort to establish business schools in four African nations – Kenya, the Congo, Ivory Coast, and Rwanda/Burundi.  African Jesuits have identified this as one of their greatest needs, and according to AACSB there are only 781business schools on the continent (none Jesuit) out of more than 13,000 worldwide.  The initiative is just getting off the ground, with Fr. Ron Anton, SJ, the Secretary for Higher Education for the Society of Jesus, taking the lead in organizing it.


This seems like an important project for us to get involved in.  The initiative is seeking a lead school for each of the four projects and a group of supporting schools, as well.  I am thinking we want to go the supporting school route, and the one that makes the most sense to me initially is the Rwanda/Burundi project.  It requires instruction in French (for Burundi) and English (for Rwanda), and the lead school has been identified as the University of Namur in Belgium.  SU has been doing some exploration of work in Rwanda, and this may be a good vehicle for pushing this along.  Of course, we need to look at all four projects, but because the language of instruction will be French in Ivory Coast and the Congo, Kenya is another option for us.


As the conference ended, I was elected to the IAJBS Board of Directors.  I guess they are running out of people to ask.  There are five members from four geographic areas – North America, South America, Asia, and Europe.  I was assured that the board only meets face-to-face at the annual meeting (which is in Barcelona next year) and otherwise meets by teleconference.  I’m not interested in a lot more out of town meetings!


After the conference, my wife and I flew to Cuzco to see Machu Picchu and other sites in the Sacred Valley.  No disrespect to IAJBS and the host school, UP, but this was the highlight of the trip.  Plus, the sun was out in Cuzco, while this time of year Lima is covered in a perpetual blanket of clouds.


 We came to Peru and Machu Picchu 25 years ago for our honeymoon, so it was interesting to see how things have changed.  The country is much stronger from an economic and political standpoint, and the biggest disappointment was the amount of traffic in Lima and Cuzco.  That seems to be a negative that comes with economic progress.  Consistent with the conference theme of sustainability, we need to solve that problem, not just in Seattle, but in urban areas around the world!







Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on July 20, 2011 at 7:07 PM PDT


I recently was appointed to AACSB’s Initial Accreditation Committee (IAC).  The first meeting was this week in Tampa.  The IAC makes recommendations on granting initial AACSB accreditation to business schools from around the world. 


As you might guess, many more schools in candidacy are from outside the US, since the US is somewhat saturated with accredited schools.  As I anticipated, serving on this committee really allows you to learn a lot about business schools outside the US.  Just the first meeting was enough to verify that.  Nearly half the committee members come from outside the US, and of course their insights are very valuable and necessary.


This committee is a committee that has a lot of work on its plate.  There were plenty of reports to read for this meeting (about 50 were on the agenda!), and I was told that the load was on the light side!  Reports vary in scope depending on where the school is in the accreditation process, but some are several hundred pages long.


I was struck by the rigorous standards the committee holds schools to.  If anyone thinks that initial accreditation comes easy or that different schools receive different treatment, think again.  This group is committed to quality!


This trip to Tampa was long and quick.  Leave Seattle on Thursday at 8:00 AM.  Get to the hotel in Tampa at 7:30 PM (EDT).  Meeting starts at 8:00 AM Friday morning.  Head to the airport at 2:30 PM.  Get back to Seattle at 10:00 PM (PDT), in time to get up in the morning for an 8:30 AM flight to Peru.  More on that in another blog!


It turns out the committee plans to hold its March, 2012 meeting in Seattle, which was quite a surprise to me.  Since it will be on the Friday of finals week, we should be able to host the meeting on campus.  A number of committee members come from European schools, so I hope they will be able to take advantage of Seattle's non-stop flights from London, Paris, and Amsterdam.


I learned that each year the committee holds a meeting outside the US.  Last year the location was Istanbul.  But this year, in light of the sluggish economic recovery, they decided to be conservative and keep all the meetings in the US, with one in Tampa, one in Boston, and one in Seattle.  No exotic trips abroad for me!  At least not this year – I’m serving a three year term. :}



Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on July 1, 2011 at 9:07 AM PDT


The Summer Business Institute (SBI) is taking place this week.  SBI is a program designed to encourage underrepresented minority students to attend college.  African American, Hispanic, and Native students who have just finished their junior year in high school participate in the program.  They spend the week on campus taking classes taught by Albers faculty, living in the dorms, navigating campus, and doing company visits. 


This is the ninth year of the program.  The 25 students in this year’s class come from 20 different high schools in the Seattle area.  Carl Marino, a former high school teaching, directs the program, and Barb Hauke, our marketing director, provides logistical support.  Six Albers students are serving as counselors.  It turns out that having our students as counselors is one of the most important and compelling parts of the student experience.  With the students serving as roll-models, they provide the participating students with important advice on how to navigate the college admissions process and how to be successful once they are on campus.


Over the years, we have been fortunate to have a number of firms support the program, including Costco Wholesale, Washington Mutual, BECU, Wells Fargo, and Qwest.  Still, we struggle to raise money for the program, and it is such a great program it should be an easier sell!  While the program is targeted at students in the Seattle metro area, we have had participants from such places as Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California.  Somehow they manage to find us!


One important part of the experience is the company visits we do.  Here, the students get to see inside various organizations, usually one of the sponsoring companies, and hear from firm leaders.  Another part of the experience is a group project that draws on the classes taken and the outside visits.  Students end the program with a presentation of their project results.  This is always an inspiring part of the program when we get to see how much the students have learned.


A few years ago we started inviting parents to the closing luncheon.  We had not anticipated what an important change this would prove to be, because it allowed us to provide them with information on the college admissions process and the possibilities for financial aid.  Most of these students would be first generation college students, so the family is not familiar with how these processes work, and frequently they do not have places to turn to find this information.  Especially important is to make sure that families know they should not look at the sticker price of SU and conclude they cannot afford to attend.  They need to know that programs such as the Costco Scholarship Program can make SU affordable.


There are many SBI success stories.  One is Jonathan Bryant, who participated in SBI after his junior year at Kennedy High School.  He ultimately enrolled as a freshman at SU and went on to graduate from Albers with a finance degree.  Upon graduating from Albers, Jon took a position with a private equity firm in Bellevue.


Another great story is Sandra Amolo.  Sandra was a student at Shorecrest High School when she participated in SBI. She enrolled in Albers as a marketing major, and has been a counselor for SBI for the last three years. She has taken advantage of many programs at SU, including an internship in Belize, and earlier this year took first place in the Northwestern Mutual Sales Competition.  After she completed her SBI work this week, she had to rush off to Washington, DC for a summer internship at the Smithsonian Institute. 


SBI has been a very valuable program for the many students who have participated over the years.  Congratulations to Carl, Barb, our counselors and the participating faculty for delivering another excellent program to this year’s 25 students!





Big Little Things

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on June 20, 2011 at 7:06 AM PDT


As I was pulling out of the Broadway Garage a few weeks ago I realized that the parking spaces along Columbia St. that have been plaguing the exit and entry of the garage had been removed!  What a great day for SU!  I have been whining to people for ten years about the need to get rid of those spots, which accomplished so little while creating such havoc.  I learned that Rob Schwartz and Jonathan Bregman, from Campus Facilities, had pulled off this miracle that so many others could not do or were not motivated to do.  Thanks, Rob and Jonathan!  I need to take you out to lunch to celebrate!


This big step forward caused me to think about other “Big Little Things” that have happened at SU.  By that I mean relatively minor steps that have created huge benefits for the campus.  I thought it would make a good theme for a blog, a Top Ten list of Big Little Things.  But ten will create too long of a blog, so I’ve settled on my Top Five Big Little Things at SU.  Here they are:


  1. Eliminating the parking along Columbia St. – with the city eliminating a few parking spots, now it will be much easier to get in and out of the garage.  Kudos to Rob and Jonathan.  Now we have to work on a turning lane to go North on Broadway!


  1. Remodeling Campion Ballroom – for a relatively small amount of money, we were able to dress up the Campion Ballroom to make it a decent space for holding events.  Actually, it is more than decent.  With all those windows, when the sun is out it is actually a spectacular venue!  Good riddance to those chandeliers.  They had been there for so long and looked so bad that they were actually threatening to come back in style!


  1. Scattering PCs around the Pigott Building – when I first arrived at SU, one of the things students complained the most about was the size of the Pigott computer lab.  There were simply not enough machines given the number of students.  After a year or two, we finally decided to try putting computers in public areas of the building to provide more access.  It worked!  Students were a lot happier, and in the scheme of things it was not that much money.  The big concern had been computer theft, but while we experienced some problems with theft, it never became a major issue.


  1. Creating the Albers Graduation Reception – another “When I first arrived …” story is that we used to have separate graduation parties for undergrad and grad students weeks before graduation.  At the same time, we did not host a graduation event for families and friends of graduates and the chance for graduates to say goodbye to faculty and staff.  The graduation parties were suspect – the undergrad event was a during-the-week well-before-finals drinking opportunity for students.  The grad event was a weakly-attended well-before-finals evening event for people who are ready to head home at that hour.  It finally dawned on us that we needed to end those two events and use the resources to host our reception for graduates on the Saturday before graduation.  We have never looked back on that decision!   The reception for graduating students has proven to be a very popular event for all!


  1. HLEMBA – our new Health Leadership EMBA program draws heavily on the curriculum of our Leadership EMBA program and leverages the assets we have developed around the latter to help deliver the former.  When we started working with the College of Nursing on an MBA type program that could include nursing graduate students, we did not have HLEMBA in mind.  But as we did more and more research with them, the vision of HLEMBA began to emerge.  It became an obvious program to launch.  Plus the LEMBA program allowed us to attempt a quick roll out of the program.  We made the decision to move forward with program development in December, 2010.  It completed the SU approval process in May, 2011.  We are now recruiting for a class that begins in August, 2011!  That is warp speed in the non-profit side of academe!


OK, so three of the five have to do with Albers.  Isn’t that a bit biased, you ask?  Yes, it probably is.  In which case, send me your bigger “Big Little Things at SU!” 



Posted by Liz Wick on June 14, 2011 at 6:06 PM PDT

This past weekend was graduation weekend for Seattle University.  Thousands gathered on Sunday, June 12th, to celebrate our degree recipients.  It always is a great occasion for our students and their family and friends.  It is a bitter-sweet moment for our faculty and staff, though.  We know these students need to move on to the next stage in their lives, but we hate to see them go!

Graduation really begins the day before on Saturday, first with the Graduation Brunch and then the Baccalaureate Mass.  The former is now becoming a “What will Fr. Steve dream up this time?” event, as in the last few years he has come up with some very creative PowerPoint slide presentations.   The latter takes place at St. James Cathedral, and is always very crowded with students and their families, as it should be.  What was especially noteworthy this year was that it was the first time that Archbishop Peter Sartain presided at the mass.   As one would expect, he has a different style than his predecessor.

Now that Arthur Fisher is no longer Dean of Mateo Ricci, I have the honor of getting Dean Sue Schmitt over to St. James.  Taking on the Columbia St. hill by the Broadway Garage is quite a workout, and not really a problem, except I keep tripping over my graduation gown.  I am going to have to do something about  that.  And going downhill backwards is just as much work as going up!

The Albers Graduation Reception takes place in the Paccar Atrium immediately following the Baccalaureate Mass.  At this occasion, students are invited to bring their family and friends to meet faculty and staff.  It is a very well attended event – over 400 this year – and most of our faculty and staff make sure they are there because everyone looks forward to it.  We have a brief program, at which I know if I talk long enough Fr. Steve will eventually show up and extend his congratulations to the graduates!  This year Nadeje Alexandre and Suzanne Jayne-Jensen took the lead in organizing and did another great job with the event.

In the evening, there is a dinner honoring newly appointed emeriti faculty and honorary degree recipients.  Barb Yates is one of the new emeriti faculty, so I had the opportunity to speak to her many accomplishments in her 41 years at SU.  You can check the previous blog on Barb for more details!  Tun  Channareth, the Nobel Prize winning honorary degree recipient, nominated by our faculty members Peter Raven and Quan Le, was also recognized at the dinner.  Reth visited my Econ 271 class two weeks ago and the students found him to be quite inspirational.

Graduation takes place at Key Arena, which is a great facility since it is big enough and we don’t have to worry about the weather.  However, on this particular Sunday, the weather was very accommodating, so there was some good picture taking going on.  The undergraduate ceremony took place in the morning and included awarding honorary degrees to Japanese-American students who were forced to leave SU due to the internment camps.  Their resilience in the face of this injustice is impressive, for it seems they all went on to do important things in their careers and in raising their families.  Many family members participated in the ceremony.  Unfortunately, the one surviving student who had planned to attend the graduation was unable to attend due to a recent illness, but her daughter delivered a very inspiring message in her stead.  The undergraduate ceremony tends to run long and each year we wonder what to do about.  Fewer graduates (and thus fewer names to read) is NOT an option!

After a two hour break, it is back at it with the graduate ceremony.  Fewer graduate students mean a shorter event, of course.  Tun  Channareth received his honorary degree at this ceremony. He gave a very inspiring and vigorous speech, as I knew he would based on his visit to my class.  He urged the audience to sign the petitions to end land mines and cluster bombs.  He also had some very nice things to say about SU based upon his two week visit to our campus.  That is correct, he has been here from his home in Cambodia for two weeks.  I doubt we will see that again from any of our honorary degree recipients! 

Also of keen interest to me as the business school dean was that MBA student Dejan Mitkovski gave the student graduation speech.  Dejan did a fine job with his remarks, and I could not help noticing that his parents, who flew out from Detroit, were in the first row of the balcony right by the podium and right in my line of sight.  They were closer to him than I was, and justifiably proud of his performance.

At both graduations, after the students receive their degree from the President, they are to walk across the stage to shake the hand of their dean.  However, most of them don’t know that.  They are most likely to be scanning the crowd for their family or staring down at the stage to make sure they don’t trip over their graduation gown.  One has to work very hard to intercept them to bestow the deanly handshake.  This year there was a new twist – some seemed to think I was there to take back their diploma and they were ready to hand it over!  Of course, they don’t actually receive their diploma, just a note saying the diploma will be in the mail assuming they have settled their accounts and successfully   completed their requirements for graduation!

We had 330 undergraduates receiving business degrees this year and 315 graduate students.  At the graduate ceremony, the business students were last in line, so I shook the hand of the last student graduating that day.  I learned the next day from Megan Spaulding that it was her brother!  I did not even know her brother was in our program!  I am not keeping up with what is going on in the Albers School! :}