42 Onward: The Executive Program Class of 2015 Graduation
Professor of Business Administration Alan R. Beckenstein read the start of a somewhat amended version of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” to the 42 new members of The Executive Program (TEP) on their very first day. At their graduation ceremony at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business three weeks later, he finished the poem.
“Forty-two, 42, 42 onward, all in the valley of TEP rode the 42. Forward the TEP brigade,” he read. “When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wondered, honor the charge they made. Honor the TEP brigade. Noble 42.”
The light-hearted rendition was a glowing tribute to the class upon completing three weeks of intense study where the 42 executives were offered the chance to “drink from the fire hose of learning.”
“And it was a fire hose,” Beckenstein joked during his commencement address. “We challenged you to engage in participant-centered learning and you accepted the challenge. It was a holistic experience where you engaged in growing your minds, your bodies and your spirits.”
The Executive Program is Darden Executive Education’s flagship advanced management experience for senior level executives, offering a comprehensive immersion into the principles, habits and lifestyles of next generation leaders.
“As leaders, we tend to think we know all the answers for the organization, but my take home from here is that the best plan is the one you develop with your team,” said John Mudau (TEP ’15), CEO of the Univen Income Generation Center at the University of Venda in South Africa. “I’m going to almost start a new company when I get back home. We will be a new organization altogether.”
The members of the Class of 2015 demonstrated their commitment to lifelong learning, forged new bonds with classmates, and accepted the challenge to return to their workplace and lead. However, the class also made an immediate impact in the Charlottesville, Virginia, community. Kicking off the graduation ceremony, Greg Finchum (TEP ’15), senior vice president of retail operations at Food Lion, presented a check for $9,000 from the class to the University of Virginia chapter of Campus Kitchen.
“We heard loud and clear that part of being a leader in your organization, this country, this world is to be a leader in the community,” said Finchum.
The generous donation fit well with Beckenstein’s parting words to the new graduates.
“What is possible?” Beckenstein asked. “My answer is: You’re a TEPer. The world needs you.”
Darden Executive Education is provided by the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation.
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.
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia