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Commencement Speakers Look Inward While Moving Forward

IIT Stuart Commencement 2014More than 300 undergraduate and graduate students participated in IIT Stuart’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17 at De La Salle Institute. Jim Holden, Founder and CEO of Holden International delivered the keynote address, sharing examples of how he applies his knack for unconventional thinking to business opportunities, such as his education in electrical engineering as a means to understand competitive environments.

Throughout the ceremony, each speaker contributed to this same internal perspective while adding meaningful comments about the much larger pictures of work, life, and one’s place in the world.

Undergraduate speaker Harshita Iyer reflected on moments of “complete clarity, when all the pieces seem to fall in exactly the right place...even though the classes were actually getting harder than ever.” By summoning a “lifetime's worth of the ability to challenge myself,” Iyer reminded her fellow graduates, “This might be the end of something great, but it is simultaneously the beginning of something much greater—our lives as members of society and representatives of this great university.”

Blania Guo, graduate speaker, recounted times of self-doubt and shared Steve Jobs’ wisdom about “connecting the dots” for success in business. Ultimately, Guo noted, “It’s hard to understand the world, but I guess it’s even harder to understand yourself. Learning is a process of constantly looking out to the world, and looking back into one’s heart. The purpose of higher education is not to become what others want us to be, but to discover one’s full potential and get closer to the truth about ourselves.”

Finally, Harvey Kahalas, Dean and Harold L. Stuart Professor of Management and Economic Development, shared personal details about his own career and how he has learned to “always be prepared and to always present my absolute best work.” Kahalas observed, “Sometimes situations are not what they seem, but if you do your best, you will always shine.”  

In closing, Kahalas offered the audience heartfelt congratulations and reminded graduates to carry themselves proudly as IIT alumni. “Be proud of who you are and what you do, just as we are proud to count you as a member of the IIT Stuart community. This community is one that we hope will be a source of pride and a resource throughout your life.” Stay tuned for photos and video from the event in the coming weeks as we continue to celebrate the Class of 2014.

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