Congratulations Fall 2011 Graduates!
December 15, 2011
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More than 250 students from the School of Business participated in the fall 2011 commencement ceremony. Those participating in the ceremony included 172 graduate students who have completed the School’s Executive MBA and MBA for Working Professionals programs and 80 undergraduate students.
The graduating students, who were joined by hundreds of others from across campus, got a valuable lesson in how to deal with failure, overcome obstacles, and persevere—courtesy of a successful UM alumna who was often told she wouldn’t make it.
“They said I was too young, too pretty, and had an accent,” Jackie Nespral, multiple Emmy-winning anchor of NBC Miami (WTVJ) told graduates during the December 15 exercise, held at BankUnited Center. “Needless to say I proved them wrong…I didn’t let the naysayers sway me from my goal.”
At 26 Nespral became the nation’s first Hispanic network news anchor, taking over duties as the face of NBC’s Weekend Today.
The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Nespral recalled being asked by television executives to get a speech coach to help mask her Latin accent. But she stood her ground, saying she was proud of her roots. “I didn’t want to fit into any mold,” she said, adding that whenever one has to fight discrimination in front of a national television audience, “it takes a toll.”
During her commencement address last Thursday, Nespral, a past president of the UM Alumni Association, said she “made a decision a long time ago to make something of herself.” Some failures, however, are inevitable, she explained to students. “But you must learn from failure. Never lose your sense of self. “
She said UM gave her the tools she needed to succeed.
“If you’re graduating from the U, now ranked 38th of all schools in the country, you are definitely smart,” Nespral said, referring to the University’s latest ranking in U.S.News & World Report’s 2012 “Best Colleges” issue.
Philip Romanelli, an undergraduate who majored in management major at the School, says he feels well prepared to succeed in his career. “UM exposed me to diverse people and great professors, which will help me in the future.”
“The MBA program was an excellent experience and I’ll really miss my colleagues,” said Magdalena Olczak-Alvarez, who graduated from the School’s Executive MBA program. “I’m looking forward to new opportunities.”
Immediately following the commencement ceremony, the business school graduates, their families and friends joined the School’s faculty and staff for a reception outside the School. Earlier in the week, the graduating MBA students gathered to honor their favorite professors and classmates during an awards ceremony.
Watch vdeo of the Fall 2011 Commencement Ceremony