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Dwayne Johnson Pushes School’s December Graduates Toward "Inspired Action"

December 17, 2009
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 Dwayne Johnson adjusts the hood of UM trustee
 Dany Garcia (BBA '92), who introduced Johnson
 as the December commencement speaker.


The most crucial and fundamental ingredient needed to achieve greatness is passion. That was the message from celebrated wrestling champion, Hollywood actor and 1995 University of Miami alumnus Dwayne Johnson to UM’s December commencement audience, which included nearly 250 graduating masters and undergraduate students from the School of Business Administration.

Johnson encouraged graduating students to seek out and identify that which they are most passionate about, citing his own life experience to illustrate the point.

“Don’t be lulled into the complacency of accepting a future or path that’s just okay and mediocre. It will seep into every aspect of your life,” said Johnson. “And just okay and mediocre is not the path of a Miami Hurricane. Your path, when rooted firmly in passion, will be filled with the most powerful catalyst to greatness, inspired action. I tell you this from my heart, graduates. My life is all about inspired action.”

A defensive tackle on the Miami Hurricanes’ 1991 national championship team, Johnson has starred in such movies as Walking Tall, Get Smart, The Game Plan, and Race to Witch Mountain. In his speech, Johnson talked about his experience at the University of Miami and how he learned from the failures and challenges he faced. He attributed his success to the support of those around him who reminded him that his destiny was greatness and who pushed him toward inspired action.

“This university was the breeding ground for some of the most important lessons that helped shape my life and guide me to success,” said Johnson. “I am and will forever be a Miami Hurricane.”

Johnson is a longtime supporter of the University. In 2006 he and Dany Garcia (BBA ’92) donated $2 million to the University to name the living room of the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center, currently under construction on UM’s Coral Gables campus. A year later, Johnson and Garcia donated $1 million to the athletic department as part of the ongoing Football Facilities Renovation Fund. In recognition of the gift, the football locker room was named in Johnson’s honor. Johnson encouraged graduates to also strive for greatness and to make an impact.


 Xiaoran Chen (center) and Chitpan Ting (right) both
 graduated with undergraduate degrees in finance.

“Our expectations are high and we expect greatness from you,” said Johnson. “Not just greatness in the vein of professional and monetary success. But in the way that enriches each and every one of you and clearly illustrates that your presence on this earth is meaningful and brilliant.”

After Johnson spoke, the School of Business graduates, which included more than 100 from the undergraduate program and more than 125 from the School’s Full-time MBA, Executive MBA, and MBA for Working Professionals programs, were recognized by name and walked across the stage to be congratulated by President Donna E. Shalala and Dean Barbara E. Kahn.

Also during the ceremony, the University’s vice president and treasurer, Diane M. Cook (MBA ‘80), who is retiring in the spring, was honored with the President’s Medal. Cook, who joined the university 30 years ago, oversees the University’s investments, accounting, business services, and treasury functions as well as the controller operations.

health emba

 Graduates of the School's Executive MBA in Health Sector
 Management and Policy program pose for a group photo.

“She is a master of both the cool calculations and the personal touch,” said Shalala in recognizing Cook. “Her astute money management has saved the university  millions of dollars and working with the University’s  Board of Trustees’ investments committee, she has reengineered the way endowment and pension funds are managed and developed new processes for manager selection for due diligence as well as for asset allocation.”

Immediately following the commencement ceremony, the graduates, family members and friends celebrated at a reception held outside the School of Business.

Be sure to check out the School of Business Facebook page, where photographs taken during the School reception will be posted shortly.

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    School of Business Administration
    P.O. Box 248027, Coral Gables, Florida 33124-6520
TEL: 305-284-4643
FAX: 305-284-6526
GRADUATE: 305-284-2510
UNDERGRADUATE: 305-284-4641