Darden Graduation 2012: “Have Moral Courage and the Will to Act”

24 May 2012

Developing moral courage, transcending mediocrity and even winning the lottery were all associated with earning a University of Virginia Darden School of Business degree at this year’s commencement exercises. Following his encouragement to Darden students to maintain moral courage in the world, Dean Robert Bruner introduced the two student speakers for the ceremony. Peter Vanderloo (EMBA ’12) and Patrick Clifton (MBA ’12) shared reflections on their time at Darden during the School’s 2012 graduation ceremony on Sunday, 20 May.

“I thought I had enrolled to become a master of business — accounting, finance, economics and operations,” said Vanderloo, graduation speaker representing the MBA for Executives program. “Yet after only seven days, my emotions told me that this program was going to give me a radical change. It turned my world upside down. Like a lottery winner clutching his winning ticket, I realized that I had hit the jackpot of graduate business education.”

“Let greatness be the character that defines us,” he urged his fellow class members. “You have been given a great gift — the gift of attending Darden.”

Patrick Clifton, representing Darden’s MBA program and the oldest member of his class, asked his fellow class members to take actions beyond the ordinary.

“I think the desire to transcend mediocrity is a unifying characteristic of this class and of this school,” Clifton said. “We must continue to rage against mediocrity and strive for greatness.”

Dean Bruner urged graduates to summon the will to act on ideas that matter. He cited the moral courage of Darden alumni, including Carolyn Miles (MBA ’88), CEO of Save the Children; Henri Termeer (MBA ’73), former CEO of Genzyme; Michael O’Neill (MBA ’74), chairman of Citigroup; and John Yeager (MBA ’95), CFO of Heal Africa. These leaders have changed the world by healing disease, caring for the world’s disadvantaged and recognizing the needs of all stakeholders within an enterprise.

“I wish you all moral courage to get after the problems that really matter, whether they be in your companies, your communities or your nations. Whether you succeed or fail, make us proud of your efforts. There can be no better epilogue to a Darden education,” Bruner remarked in his closing.

The full graduation ceremony can be watched via Darden’s YouTube channel.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Sophie Zunz
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia