Carnegie Mellon University
May 20, 2016

Commencement 2016 Highlights

Standing ovations, smiling faces, bittersweet endings and exciting new beginnings — Commencement Weekend 2016 had it all. The graduate school ceremony on May 13 — followed the next day by the formal Ph.D. hooding ceremony at the Carnegie Music Hall — and the undergraduate commencement on May 15 were both held at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in Oakland, just down Forbes Avenue from the Carnegie Mellon campus. 

By weekend’s end, the Tepper School graduates included:

  • 20 Ph.D. awardees, including 18 earning a master's on that path.
  • 39 full-time Pittsburgh students and 48 full-time New York students who graduated in December with a master of science in computational finance (MSCF). Eleven others were online or part-time graduates from either Dec. ’15 or May ’16.
  • 137 seniors who graduated from the Undergraduate Business and Economics programs — 84 business, not including four other majors, 85 minors and one dual degree; and 52 economics, counting 26 bachelor of science degrees in economics and statistics, 15 bachelor of science degrees in economics, and nine bachelor of arts degrees in economics, plus one each with a bachelor of science in Economics/Mathematical Sciences, a bachelor of science in Mathematical Sciences/Economics and a bachelor of humanities and arts in Economics/Music Technology.
  • 280 MBAs, among them: 28 graduating in either Dec. ’15 or March ’16; 46 part-time on-campus students; 24 in the inaugural Part-Time Online Hybrid class; one dual degree student; one joint degree student; and three more candidates scheduled to graduate this summer. 

Below are curated highlights of the weekend's festivities. Congratulations to the newest cohort of Tepper School alumni!

James Swartz's Keynote Address

Distinguished alumnus and benefactor James Swartz, MSIA '66, co-founding partner of the venture-capital giant Accel Partners, was awarded an honorary doctorate at the university-wide commencement on Sunday. First, though, he offered a visceral keynote at the May 13 graduate proceedings, where his words stirred emotions in the graduates as well as invited speaker himself.

Among pointers about ethics, experimentation and passion, Swartz told the crowd of more than 500: “You are entering business at a time of unprecedented opportunity. Entrepreneurship is everywhere and is permeating our world culture at a blistering pace. Increasingly, the future will be defined by entrepreneurs and individuals who recognize and seize opportunities. How, you ask? By remaining intellectually curious. By making up your own mind, sticking to primary facts and sources. Don’t be afraid to be judgmental. Be controversial.” His keynote was met with a standing ovation.

A dedicated alumnus to the Tepper School and Carnegie Mellon, Swartz serves on multiple campus boards and sponsors several entrepreneurial activities, including the James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellows and the James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Leadership Series. Most recently, Swartz made a $31 million gift to the university to establish the new Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship. This generous gift will support both infrastructure and programming for entrepreneurship in the new Tepper Quadrangle, set to open in fall 2018.

Commencement 2016 Gallery

Student Awards

Graduating students from all programs were honored during graduation events throughout the weekend. See below for a list of student award winners from all academic programs.

Undergraduate Student Awards

Congratulations to the undergraduate students who were recognized for their scholastic achievements at last week’s Diploma Ceremony. Undergraduate Business Administration awardees included:

  • Jacquelyn Tencza, Brian Sinko and Shanon Burke (Outstanding Academic Achievement Award)
  • Courtney Wood (Outstanding Student Leadership Award)
  • Julia Yang (Distinguished Service Award)

And the award recipients from Undergraduate Economics included:

  • Richa Mohan, David Moss and Anwesha Patnaik (Best Oral Presentation at Meeting of the Minds)
  • Charlton Cheng, Michael Hsun and Michelle Ong (Best Senior Project)
  • Richa Mohan (Outstanding Pedagogical Service Award)
  • Richa Mohan and Samuel Walters (UEP Academic Achievement Award)
  • Jillian Ward (UEP Distinguished Service Award)
  • Anusha Kukreja (UEP Outstanding Student Leadership Award)
  • Richa Mohan (Best Senior Thesis)

MBA Student Awards

Several Tepper School MBA students received awards of academic excellence at last week’s diploma ceremony. The MBA awards included:

  • James Mason (Francis G. Walker Award for Excellence in Strategy)
  • Alison Alvarez (John R. Thorne Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship)
  • Rania Samir El Houssami (Award for Excellence in Finance)
  • Randy Cohen, Jeffrey Loh, Samantha Grant and Liza Tresser (Robert S. Sullivan Distinguished Community Service Award)
  • Alison Alivarez and Marjorie Stephens Harmon (Award for Excellence in Marketing)
  • Joshua James Eickmeier (Outstanding Academic Achievement Award)
  • Akshay Nemlekar (Elliot Dunlap Smith Award)
  • Jeffrey S. Coran (Edward R. Mosier Award for Excellence in Production and Operations)
  • Munir Parikh (Yuji Ijiri Award for Excellence in Accounting)
  • Marjorie Harmon and Conner Mickelson (Accelerate Award for Excellence in Organizational Behavior, Communication and Leadership)
  • Matthew Cantele, Hayden Cardiff, Zachary Grosz, Michael Hill, Katen Kapadia, Xin Yu Ma, Lauren Moorhead and Rashna Patel (Outstanding Teaching Assistant)

Additionally, the following MBA graduates were recognized with awards for Distinguished Service to the Tepper School: Kera Bartlett, Geoffrey Ensby, Megan O’Rourke, John Bonanni, Samantha Grant, Veronica Sterling, Randy Cohen, Michael Hill, Joel Suen, Steven Coleman, Kiley Larson, Liza Tresser, Craig Cuthbert, Jeffrey Loh, Maxim Vanhendxthoven, Joshua Eickmeier, Ohemaah Ntiamoah and Ziheng Zhu.

MSCF Student Awards

Congratulations to the master of science in computational finance graduates who were presented with awards at last week’s diploma ceremony: 

  • Shuai Wang (Academic Excellence in Finance Award)
  • Yang Tang (Academic Excellence in Information Technology Award)
  • Xianghan Yao (Academic Excellence in Mathematics Award)
  • Yang Zhao (Academic Excellence in Statistics Award)
  • Claudia Poon (MSCF Distinguished Service Award — Pittsburgh)
  • Calvin Zhu (MSCF Distinguished Service Award — New York)

Ph.D. Student Awards

Three Ph.D. graduates were honored last week for excellence in research. Congratulations to this year’s dissertation award recipients!

  • Sherwin Doroudi (The William W. Cooper Doctoral Dissertation Award in Management or Management Science)
  • Jonathan Kush (The Herbert A. Simon Doctoral Dissertation Award in Behavioral Research in the Administrative Sciences)
  • Sercan Yildiz (The Gerald L. Thompson Doctoral Dissertation Award in Management Science)

Faculty Awards

Each year the Tepper School recognizes faculty members for their outstanding work with students and exceptional classroom instruction. This year’s award winners include:

  • Marvin Goodfriend (George Leland Bach Award — MBA)
  • John Hooker (Gerald Thompson Award — Undergraduate Business)
  • Joachim Groeger (Richard Cyert Award — Undergraduate Economics)