The Winter Convocation of the College of Business was held on December 19, 2004, at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Alumnae Norma J. Lauder delivered the address to the graduates.

David Gilmartin, president of the College of Business Alumni Association Board, also spoke to the graduates.


On behalf of the College of Business Alumni Association, Congratulations to the "soon to be" graduates and we are pleased welcome you to the ranks of proud Aalumni. I am honored to be a part of this same ceremony in which I participated as an undergrad almost 20 years ago.

As graduates from the College of Business undergraduate program, you have received an outstanding education that will provide you, as it did me, the steadfast foundation for the careers upon which you now embark. I have found my undergraduate education and my continuing relationship with the College to be invaluable. From here you are about to encounter one of the most significant changes in your life. Embrace the change. Change brings opportunity.

As graduates from the MBA and Executive MBA programs, you have now put an exclamation point on your education, growing it to the pinnacle of professional business education. You have a competitive edge, now you must execute on it.

You need not meet these challenges alone. Sitting next to you here, sitting near you in the same company or sitting in an office across the city are other Business alumni--thousands of Business alumni, creating an outstanding resource. The College's Alumni Association focuses the energy of this extensive alumni network.

I cannot overemphasize how important it is to remain connected to the College. It is this relationship with the College that has led me here, has supported my efforts since graduation and is the topic I want to share with you today. Whether a graduate of the undergraduate, MBA or EMBA programs, through the College's Alumni Association, the College continues to offer support through educational, social and networking activities. With your membership in the University Alumni Association, you are automatically a member of the College of Business Alumni Association.

You may participate in the many activities sponsored by the College of Business Alumni Association; let me share a few. We sponsor the Annual Spring Luncheon held in Chicago (April 8th this year) at which we present the awards for outstanding teachers and alumni. This past year both the EMBAs and MBAs sponsored tables at the Spring Luncheon. We sponsor the Homecoming Tent Party and, most recently, 200 of us watched the Illini basketball team defeat Oregon in Chicago. In January, we have an event at the Union League Club in Chicago, including a private tour of the Club's art collection.

I am proud to note that the College of Business Alumni Association was the first constituent group to establish a Mathews Scholarship, in addition to the undergraduate and graduate scholarships we have established. Last Thursday (Dec. 9), before finals, many of the College's students enjoyed refreshments sponsored by the Association. The diploma cover you will receive shortly was provided by the Association.

For those of you who would like to become more involved in alumni activities and perhaps active in the planning of such activities, the Young Alumni Committee of the College's Alumni Association is geared for alumni in the first 10 years following graduation. The Young Alumni Committee eagerly welcomes new members. From the Young Alumni Committee, there are opportunities to join the Alumni Association Board, and help plan alumni activities, as I have.

The Young Alumni Committee sponsors events which include networking seminars; educational events featuring college faculty members and successful business executives; basketball watching parties; community service activities; and other events.

In addition, both the MBA and EMBA programs have active alumni boards in Chicago. These boards sponsor a variety of networking and educational events as well. Programs have included topics such as "How to Make Yourself Indispensable to a Company." For those that would like to be more active, there are opportunities to join the MBA or EMBA boards, and to help recruit and interview new students for the programs. The programs need your support to further enhance their reputation and to ensure their viability with top notch candidates.

You can learn more about the College of Business Alumni Association through alternating quarterly publications of Alumni News & Notes and Illinois Business Perspectives; through the monthly College of Business enewsletter, and on the Alumni Office website (the link to the website is listed inside the diploma cover or on the University site). The site has a button that says "Get Involved." The EMBA and MBA websites are linked from the Alumni Office website. Each site lists upcoming events, allows you update your contact information and provides College Alumni Association contact information. Of course, you can visit or call the Alumni Office on campus directly or contact the Young Alumni Committee, the MBA or EMBA Boards, call me directly (our contact information is available through the Alumni Office), or ask another alum. That is the great thing about the Association-- we all sincerely want to help you succeed. Make sure we have your information.

The Alumni Association provides wonderful networking opportunities throughout your career. The Alumni Association is a way to continue the relationships you made on campus and to establish new relationships. Whether for business or social reasons, you will find among the membership, others with similar interests, potential clients, potential resources.

Your participation will make us better. Our reputation as a top tier business school derives directly from your successes. The College, the College Alumni Association, and your fellow alumni have a vested interest in your success and you in theirs.

The Alumni Association exists for you, I encourage you to take advantage of it.

Again, my congratulations and best wishes for success.