July 24, 2020

Getting to Know Our Boards

This week, I met with the McIntire Advisory, Young Alumni, Global, and Cornerstone Boards—in that order. These individual meet-and-greets were hosted by Tom Wilson (McIntire ’81), Cam Boland (A&S ’14, M.S. in Commerce ’15), Virginia Sharma (McIntire ’99) and Donna Feeney (McIntire ’76, M.S. in Accounting ’77). Each board has its own unique personality, but they all exemplify some unifying and enduring qualities: a bottomless love for the Comm School and a comradery with one another that is unmatched.

One memorable exchange occurred with the Cornerstone Board as they reminisced about a culminating experience from an old Finance course that was titled the GDP Invitational, in which student projects were judged by returning alumni. Among the participants on the Cornerstone call were Bob Kemp, the faculty member who had inherited the class from Larry Pettit, some students who had shared this fourth-year experience, and a few alumni who had served as panelists.

As Bob Kemp explains it, “Basically students, in groups, had to forecast the GDP for two years. They then analyzed an industry and showed how their forecast would affect the industry (earnings, liquidity, etc.). Ultimately the student group had to address the stock price of a company or group of companies in their chosen industry. The course culminated with student presentations in front of McIntire faculty and alumni.”

Participants talked about the challenge of meeting deadlines along with the exhilaration of presenting their work to a panel of illustrious alumni. Even though they had not all participated in the class the same year, I was struck by how it is the shared experiences among Comm School students, faculty and alumni that unite us across generations.

I look forward to welcoming the Boards back to Grounds (or onto Zoom) in October so that the School leadership and I can offer a report to the broader Commerce community about how things are progressing through the fall semester. On August 10, we will welcome our M.S. in Commerce students, followed by our third- and fourth-years on the 25th. The plan is for instruction to end by Thanksgiving, with exams and final projects being submitted after the holiday.

I am keenly aware that this upcoming semester is not what we imagined it would be and that is a disappointment to all members of the Commerce community. In the midst of that, I can assure you that the staff and faculty are working hard to prepare students across programs with a re-imagined high-quality experience that will be engaging, challenging and life changing.

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