Commencement, summer alumni events, and more
Commencement, summer alumni events, and more
Note from the Dean
May marked a first for Owen – a commencement doubleheader! It was wonderful to finally celebrate the achievement of the Classes of 2020 and 2021, on 2 separate weekends. When we assembled to mark the 2020 commencement, speaker Neil Ramsey (MBA’83), CEO of RQSI, joked, “I can now say I’m the only commencement speaker to be asked to speak at back-to-back commencements.” With a year to prepare his commencement address, Neil’s message of Next, Now and Never was particularly salient.

Sarah Trahern (EMBA’04), CEO of the Country Music Association, joined the stage for our 2021 commencement and spoke about the value of waiting. Waiting is not typically celebrated by leadership gurus. We cheer the quick decision-makers – those who face uncertainty and decisively make the call. Recounting the challenges of the past year, Sarah argued that there are situations where the best course of action is to wait (read my blog post for the rest of the story).

I am proud that we were able keep our promise of hosting in-person commencements for both the 2020 and 2021 classes. Several elite business schools opted for virtual ceremonies for the 2021 graduates. Others held in-person events for 2021 graduates but did not recognize the class of 2020 in their events, deferring them to a fall reunion or nothing at all. Some schools didn’t allow guests or reserved in-person ceremonies for undergraduates only. At Owen, we celebrated in person and left no one out.


Commencement Wrap-Ups
In 2 separate ceremonies, the Owen Graduate School of Management celebrated the classes of 2020 and 2021. To watch the recordings of the ceremony, read the transcripts of the Commencement addresses, and view photos from the celebrations, follows the links below:
Learn How Accelerate Your Career With LinkedIn
Join the Owen Alumni Career Management team for a webinar on June 9 at 7:30pm CT to learn how to accelerate your career with LinkedIn, the professional networking platform. The free, virtual session can be accessed via this Zoom link.
Check out
Our online store offers a great selection of gear and a customer-friendly experience. Take a moment to explore the incredible apparel and other merchandise, which includes mugs, tumblers, and phone cases, at
Owen Forward Summer Leadership Series: Former Chairman & CEO of Best Buy

Sneak peek! Later this summer, Owen Graduate School of Management Professor Kelly Goldsmith will be hosting a Fireside Speaker Series with best-selling author and former Chairman & CEO of Best Buy Hubert Joly discussing his new book The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism. Hubert Joly — an orchestrator of Best Buy’s spectacular turnaround — unveils his personal philosophy to achieving extraordinary outcomes for all stakeholders by putting purpose and people first. Joly has written The Heart of Business as a playbook for leaders who are ready to abandon old paradigms and eager to lead with purpose and humanity. Stay tuned for the official announcement and registration email with more details — the first 50 people to register will receive a free copy of Hubert’s book! Questions? Contact
Podcast: Vanderbilt and Nashville Deal Making
Listen to Dean Johnson’s podcast to hear how Owen is working with the regional deal-making community and how that community is supporting the school. This podcast is part of the recent Nashville Dealmakers Conference that featured several Owen alumni, including Andrew Bouldin (MBA’10) and Brian Fox (MBA’01).
Save the date for Reunion, October 22-23!

We are looking forward to a combined Reunion celebration this year with Reunion 2020 (classes ending in 0’s and 5’s) and 2021 (classes ended in 1’s and 6’s) Owen alumni. We will announce the format (in-person vs. virtual) for Reunion once we have more clarity regarding the progress of the pandemic. In the meantime, we encourage you to explore the Owen Reunion website and make a gift in honor of your Reunion. If you are interested in volunteering for Reunion, please email MaryKate “MK” Rosack, senior director, Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving at or Ali Farr, assistant director of alumni engagement, at
Volunteer with Owen!

We are appreciative of our amazing Owen volunteers, and we are always looking for more! From Class Secretaries that drive engagement and connection with their classmates by soliciting Class Notes for Vanderbilt Business magazine, to Class Agents that serve as a liaison to their classmates to inspire and increase philanthropic support, there are many opportunities to volunteer your time. Volunteers in both roles will also be key members of the Reunion Committee engaged in encouraging attendance and philanthropic support. The anticipated time commitment is only a few hours per year, but your impact on our community extends well beyond that! Our team here at Owen will provide ongoing training and support. Interested in staying involved and giving back with the Owen Volunteer Community? Contact MK Rosack, Senior Director, Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving at

Executive Education
Vanderbilt staff and alumni receive a 20% discount on our Live Online programs with the code ALUMNI at checkout.
For those looking to take multiple courses on their own timeline, we offer an Online Business Management Certificate for the working professional looking to sharpen strategic business skills. The next cohort begins July 1, so sign up soon!
We also provide technology bootcamps in coding, data analytics, cybersecurity, and FinTech. To learn more, click here.

Owen in the News
May 6, 2021
Study: Residents left big metros during pandemic for family
AP News
Research by Professor Peter Haslag is cited. His research was also mentioned in similar articles in the New York Times, Marketplace, and Axios.
May 12, 2021
Gasoline Buying Fever Rages as Pipeline Company Begins Restart
New York Times
Professor Kelly Goldsmith is quoted about how hoarding behaviors have worsened the gas shortage in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline hack.

Parting Shot: Commencement

Congrats to the classes of 2020 and 2021! We were so thrilled to celebrate the graduates in person during the socially distanced events.

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