Graduate Students Honored at School of Business Hooding Ceremony

5.17.2023 Accounting, Business analytics, MBA, News Release, School News

More than 630 Wake Forest University School of Business graduate students in the management, accountancy, business analytics, and business administration programs celebrated the culmination of their academic pursuits on Saturday, May 13 during a hooding ceremony at Wait Chapel on the University’s Reynolda Campus.

The hooding ceremony signifies the completion of an advanced degree. Master’s degree recipients are recognized and hooded by the dean or associate dean of their respective program.

Graduate business students who were invested with the hood in academic year 2023 included:

Annette Ranft, Sisel Distinguished Dean of Business, welcomed graduates and attendees and noted the importance of business education and its impact on the world.

“Guided by our Wake Forest University motto of Pro Humanitate, we strive to understand our societal impact and purposeful engagement with the world through the lens of business leadership,” Ranft said. “Our University’s values for holistic education as well as world class dedicated teacher-scholars enable us to be a special business school, invested in developing the whole person and encouraging you to be leaders who make a positive and lasting impact in your organizations and around the world.”

H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GE and Chief Executive Officer of GE Aerospace, provided the keynote address. Culp is a driving force behind GE’s historic transformation into three industry-leading public companies. During the ceremony, Culp received an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree from Wake Forest University in recognition of his visionary leadership, commitment to nurturing future business professionals, and active engagement with the University as a Board of Trustees member, speaker, forum participant, and member of the Leadership and Character Council.

Culp provided graduates with three key points to remember: be substantive and not superficial, strive for continuous improvement of oneself, and stay close to the customer. He urged graduates to be honest with themselves about what is needed to do their best work to be successful and determine their preferences and priorities.

“I would go so far as to argue that your commitment to an advanced degree at Wake Forest is your own commitment to personal improvement. Don’t let today’s commencement be a finish line in that regard,” Culp said. “You’re just starting. Continue to grow and learn and improve. Ask good questions. Listen actively to the answers and learn from your mistakes. The compounding effect of that over the course of your careers will be significant.”

During her remarks, Ranft acknowledged three retiring faculty members with a special mention, including Jack Wilkerson, D. Wayne Calloway Professor in Accounting, who retires in June after 34 years at Wake Forest.

“Dr. Wilkerson has fostered long-term relationships with top accounting firms and contributed time and energy into helping lead our Master of Science in Accounting Program to have the highest CPA pass rate more often than any other school over the past 20 years. He has served in multiple capacities throughout the University all while being an unwavering friend to colleagues and a champion for all students,” Ranft said.

A livestream of the hooding ceremony is available. More information can be found at

Media Contact: Danyelle McClinton, , 336.582.0622