Commencement 2014

Eric W. Noll (MBA '90), President and CEO of ConvergEx Group, delivers remarks to Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management's Class of 2014.

Media Contact:
Ryan Underwood
Owen Graduate School of Management
Vanderbilt University
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May 9, 2014

Commencement 2014

May 9, 2014, Nashville, Tenn. — Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management celebrated Commencement Day ceremonies for the 258 members of its Class of 2014 today. Gathered in the Vanderbilt Student Recreation Center, 172 students received their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree; 42 earned a Master of Finance (MSF) degree; and 44 were awarded a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree. Several students from the Master of Management in Health Care (MMHC) and the Executive MBA (EMBA) programs who graduated in 2013 also participated in the ceremony.


M. Eric Johnson, who is completing his first year as Ralph Owen Dean and Bruce D. Henderson Professor of Strategy, opened the day's ceremonies, saying "This has been an amazing year for me at Owen, and the graduates sitting here in front of me are largely responsible for that … You dove into so many challenges and learned a lot about leadership in the process."

Commencement speaker Eric W. Noll (MBA'90), President and CEO of ConvergEx Group recalled his own experience at Owen, telling graduates how the school's close, collaborative nature helped put him on a career path that eventually led to senior executive positions at the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Susquehanna International Group, and NASDAQ, where he oversaw all of the company's regulated markets.


As a new father while in business school, Noll told the story of needing childcare help so he could go on a last-minute job interview. Former Career Management Center director Peter Veruki quickly volunteered to watch his daughter. "Luckily, he had toys in his office from all of the companies that came to Owen to recruit. She happily played with them while I tried to find a job and Peter watched her," Noll recounted. "I believe that only in a school like Owen could such an event like that happen." That same daughter, Alexandra (Allie), was a member of the graduating 2014 MBA class.

"The relationships with your peers and the faculty at Owen will remain a constant source of replenishment for you going forward," Noll told the graduates. "That network and those relationships will be sources of inspiration and guidance for the rest of your careers."

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Transcript of the Commencement Address

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Awards and Recognition for Graduating Students

Peter Attwater, Founder's Medalist

University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos awarded Peter Attwater the Founder's Medal for the Owen School in a morning ceremony at Alumni Lawn. This award, originally endowed by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1877, is given to the MBA graduate who achieves the strongest record in personal, professional and academic performance.

Nancy Lea Hyer, Owen's Associate Dean of Academic Programs, also recognized the winners of the Dean's Award for Academic Excellence in the MAcc, MAcc-Valuation and MSF programs, as well as members of Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Business Society.

David Short and Cherry Tran, Master of Accountancy
Caitlin O'Leary, Master of Accountancy, MAcc-Valuation
Christine Foster, Master of Finance

Awards and Recognition for Faculty

Paul Whitmire (MBA '14), President of the Owen Student Government Association, presented the James A. Webb Excellence in Teaching Award to Bill Christie, Professor of Management and Brian McCann, Assistant Professor of Management. Professor Christie taught the core course "Managerial Finance" to the graduating MBA students and this past year taught the elective course "Bond Markets" to MBA and MSF students. Brian McCann teaches one of the most popular electives in the MBA Strategy concentration - Corporate Strategy and he teaches Strategic Management to EMBA students. 

Sal March, Associate Dean of Faculty and Research, announced two recipients of the Faculty Research Productivity Award:

Kelly Haws

Professor Haws received this award for her substantial recent work on consumer behavior, consumer welfare, and self-control. Haws arrived at Owen in 2013 and before that served as assistant professor of marketing and Mays Research Fellow at Texas A&M University's Mays Business School.


Brian McCann
Professor McCann received the award for his work examining the impact of executive and stock options on firm risk taking. McCann, a Vanderbilt alumnus (MBA '04), joined the faculty of the Owen School full-time in 2009 after completing his Ph.D. in strategic management from Purdue University's Krannert School of Management.


In a faculty meeting earlier this week, professors Bill Christie and Larry Van Horn received the Dean's Teaching Awards for contributions to teaching and learning.

Other awards and recognition

At a ceremony held at Owen on Thursday, May 8, several other students were recognized for their achievements:

  • Warren Adler and Jason Plagman (MBA '14) received the Matt Wigginton Leadership Award, awarded for outstanding performance in finance.

  • Paul Whitmire (MBA ’14) and Marley Baer (MBA ‘14) were presented presented with the H. Igor Ansoff Award, which recognizes original and creative contributions to the school.

  • Four MBA students were awarded the Flournoy A. Coles Jr. Prize in recognition of international studies. Matthew Lawrence, Gautam Mattey, Gaby Rios Plaza and Arpita Shinde. 

  • Jeffrey Burge (MBA '14) was also chosen to receive the Financial Executives Institute Award for outstanding academic performance in both accounting and finance.

  • Ashley Delaney (MBA '14) was chosen by the Marketing Faculty for the Brett Fitzgerald Award for excellence in the Marketing curriculum.
  • Thirteen graduating students were presented with the Owen Service Award for outstanding effort and energy in leadership, community involvement and student life. They are:

    • Warren Adler (MBA '14)
    • Kevin Allman (MAcc '14)
    • Jessica Belville (MBA '14)
    • Camille Brandon (MBA '14)
    • Dan Bresnahan (MBA '14)
    • Nate Luce (MBA '14)
    • Solvig Gentile (MBA '14)
    • Kelley Kirkley (MBA '14)
    • Allyson Mariani (MBA '14)
    • Matt Martindale (MBA '14)
    • Vinay Mohan (MSF '14)
    • Kathy Rolf (MAccVal '14)
    • Shandra Scott (MBA '14)

Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management is ranked as a top institution by BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report, Financial Times and Forbes. For more information about Owen, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.