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School's Master's and PhD Graduates - Including Current and Former NFL Players - Urged to Have 'No Truck with Trump' in Commencement Ceremony

May 05, 2016
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The School's MBA graduates include NFL players
(l-r) Michael Thomas, John Denney and Chimdi Chekwa


Jorge G. Castañeda, Mexico’s former minister of foreign affairs, used his address at the University of Miami’s graduate degree commencement ceremony on Thursday to blast Donald Trump, thepresumptive Republican presidential nominee over his negative comments about Mexicans.

Castañeda, whose audience included nearly 300 graduating students from the School of Business, urged the graduates to help disprove and debunk the American businessman’s message.

“There is a great deal this graduating class can do this summer and fall,” said Castañeda, who for the second time is running for Mexico’s presidency as an independent candidate. “Citizens of the United States, Latinos or not, but especially if they come from communities and organizations with large Hispanic populations, must explain to their compatriots…that those messages are lies, are hateful, and are highly noxious for U.S. relations with its neighbors for the type of peaceful and productive and prosperous partnership that everyone desires.”

Castañeda, a key architect of former Mexican President Vicente Fox's campaign, which disrupted seven decades of one-party rule in Mexico, delivered his remarks after receiving an honorary degree at the ceremony, the first of six commencement exercises at the BankUnited Center over the next three days.

Castañeda, who served on the Fox cabinet with University of Miami President Julio Frenk, said Trump has “offended millions of Mexicans, threatened millions of Central Americans, and jeopardized the integrity of hundreds of thousands of families from Latin America in the United States, with or without papers.”

He said Trump’s views are not representative of all Americans, urging graduates to tell their “fellow students, professors, co-workers, and friends from all walks of life to have no truck with Trump.”

The School of Business graduates include MBA, specialized master’s and PhD students, as well as those from the School’s first fully-online master’s degree program, an online Master of Science in Finance.

"The program was outstanding in all respects," said Chris Yingling, director of finance at Deitz & Watson in Philadelphia, and a graduate of the first class. "It's clear that you are getting the same comprehensive and in-depth education as the classroom version, as I even had several professors that I had as an undergraduate. It's also very impressive and helpful how much the professors encourage live interaction and dialogue over the phone, via email, and digital office hours."

Students in the School’s second fully-online master’s degree program, a Master of Professional Accounting, also participated in the ceremony, ahead of their graduation this summer.

They were joined by those from the School’s first class in the Miami Executive MBA for Artists and Athletes program, who also graduate this summer.

The unique MBA program is designed to teach accomplished individuals, many of whom have strong person brands, how to leverage their current career success into business and social achievement.


University President Julio Frenk with Racquel
Smith, the widow of former New Orleans Saints
defensive end Will Smith, who received his MBA
degree posthumously.

“I’m working on a couple start-ups. I have a restaurant that I’m starting up in Columbus, Ohio. I also have a tech start-up that I’m working on,” said Chimdi Chekwa, an NFL cornerback who started the program with the Oakland Raiders before joining the Miami Dolphins in April.

“Going through the program while working on those start-ups has really helped me focus in how to manage a business, how to get started, proof of concept, so it’s been great for me,” said Chekwa.

“It has its challenges, but at the same time, it was great seeing other NFL players going through the same thing I did, being able to fight through and seeing that they were able to pull through and get it accomplished,” added Chekwa’s classmate and now teammate Michael Thomas, a Miami Dolphins defensive back.

A posthumous MBA degree was awarded to Will Smith, the former New Orleans Saints defensive end and member of the School’s first Miami Executive MBA for Artists and Athletes program class, who died suddenly in April.

Smith’s widow, Racquel, accepted the degree on his behalf during the ceremony.

The graduates honored the top students and professors during an awards ceremony the day before commencement.

Watch Graduate Commencement Video

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