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New Graduates Celebrated in December Recognition Ceremony

A student poses for a picture at the Pitt Business December 2017 Graduate Recognition CeremonySeveral hundred happy graduates and their proud families recently packed the Westin Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh for the Pitt Business 2017 December Graduates Recogntion Ceremony.

The exuberant ceremony, which featured a luncheon and dessert social, was the culmination of four years of hard work and sacrifice for most graduates in the audience. Ranked the No. 11 public business school in the United States, Pitt Business is designed to take students from the classroom, to the city, to the world. With a study abroad participation rate of 55 percent and employment placement of 90 percent within three months of graduation, the school is proud to deliver on its mission, says Audrey J. Murrell, associate dean of Pitt Business and director of the school's David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership.

"It was an honor to congratulate our graduates and welcome them into the Pitt Business alumni community," Murrell says. "They are joining an alumni group that stretches across the world and which has an impact across practically every industry. Graduates also have a way to continue to stay involved and give back to the school by participating in the Mentoring Match program that allows our students to seek out and connect with alumni for professional support"

At the graduate recognition ceremony, alumna speaker Jacque Skowvron (BSBA '09, A&S '09), manager of communication at DICK'S Sporting Goods, shared words of wisdom on her path less traveled from a small town in rural Pennsylvania to the tops of the sports marketing profession.

After graduation, Skowvron was "drafted" into the National Football League's (NFL) elite management trainee program. In her five years at the NFL's New York City league offices, Skowvron spearheaded the league's top social responsibility programs, such as the PLAY 60 youth exercise initiative, and also completed a special assignment for five months in London, England. 

In her graduation talk, rather than focusing on the negative things that graduates should avoid, Skowvron focused on the positives that students can glean from experiences that, on the surface, may seem to be daunting or bad experiences. For example, she told students there is good to be gained from making a big mistake at work, being afraid of challenges, going off course on occasion, and of not always getting what you think you deserve.

"Because I pushed outside of my comfort zone, I know I can thrive in any situation," Skowvron told the graduates.

She shared the story of how, after being passed over for career advancement, she took the advice of a mentor and marked up her job description to show how much her role had grown in terms of the increased responsibility she was shouldering. Armed with that information, she met with a senior leadership team member and received a raise as a result of that meeting.

"Don't have the conversation of what you deserve; have the conversation of what you've earned," Skowvron told the graduates.

Finally, Skowvron told the students to make sure they leave time in their lives for fun and to have interests and hobbies outside of work.

That advice struck the right note at the end of the graduate recognition ceremony, when the festivities closed with the Pitt tradition of a "Sweet Caroline" sing-a-long. The hundreds in the room broke out into song to close the event.

The December graduates are invited to walk the stage in full regalia at the Pitt Business 2018 Graduation Ceremony on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at PPG Paints Arena. Graduation details are available here.