WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—Wake Forest University’s Babcock Graduate School of Management awarded degrees to 260 students from five MBA programs at a hooding ceremony May 20 in Wait Chapel, followed by the university’s commencement exercises May 21 on Hearn Plaza.
Wake Forest MBA
Of this year’s graduates, 84 completed the full-time program; 46 the Fast-Track Executive Program; 46 the Charlotte Evening Program; 42 the Winston-Salem Evening Program; and 33 the Charlotte Saturday Program. Nine of the graduates received joint degrees as part of programs offered with other Wake Forest schools: seven with the School of Law, one with the School of Medicine and one with the Calloway School of Business and Accountancy. With this year’s graduates, the number of Babcock alumni totals 6,123.
Gregory J. Wessling, chairman and chief executive officer of HouseRaising Inc., a company that provides custom design and build services through a unique software process, delivered the hooding address. Wessling, a former senior executive and 33-year veteran of Lowe’s Companies, Inc. was instrumental in transforming Lowes’ from a small regional lumber and building supply retailer into a nationwide chain of home products and improvement centers.
In his speech, Wessling urged graduates to be cognizant of life’s “defining moments” and to value the education, experiences and friendships gained during their years of study.
David N. Brooks, a columnist for The New York Times and a regular analyst on the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” delivered the university’s commencement address.
During the hooding ceremony one Babcock professor and several graduates were honored for particular achievements:
- Ram Baliga, the John B. McKinnon Professor of Management, was selected Educator of the Year by the full-time class for his outstanding contributions to the education and personal development of his students.
- Reena Nepal was awarded the Stephen B. Tips Award for Outstanding Character. This award is given to the student who has exhibited outstanding generosity of spirit and selflessness and a habit of doing what is right.
- Nepal and Matthew Fisher received the Babcock Award, given by faculty to graduates who display particular managerial potential, including scholastic performance, leadership and integrity.
- The Robert White Award, given to members of the student team judged to have produced the most outstanding management consulting practicum, was awarded to John Davidson, Christopher Jacobi and Justin Smiley.
- Full-time graduates recognized for academic distinction were Benjamin King Jr., William Reynolds, Ravi Shukla, Smiley, Micah Ward, Cody Wilson and Min Zhang.
- Sanjay Bhagwan Kripalani, who earned a joint degree with the School of Medicine, was also recognized for academic distinction.
- Chiragi Kothari received the Luther Award, which recognizes the international student who best shares insight and expertise with others and fosters a spirit of cooperation and better international understanding.
- Shukla received the Andrea Mitchell Metzler Award, which is given to a rising second-year student who demonstrates aptitude, passion and enthusiasm for marketing.
- Reynolds received both the Entrepreneurship Award, for academic and leadership excellence in entrepreneurship, and the Finance Award, for excellence in scholarship in finance courses.
- The Operations Management Award was given to Rebecca Wilson for demonstrating academic and leadership skills in the operations field.