Graduate Students Celebrate Academic Milestone at Business Hooding Ceremony

5.21.2024 Accounting, Article, Business Analytics, M.S. in Accounting, M.S. in Business Analytics, News Release, School News, Working Professional MBA
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More than 460 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 18 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 2023-24 include:

Cathy Pace, the retiring Chief Executive Officer and President of Allegacy Federal Credit Union, provided the keynote address. Widely regarded as an innovator in the credit union industry, Pace has had a remarkable 45-year career at Allegacy, one of the largest credit unions in North Carolina with more than $2.2 billion in assets, some 175,000 members, and more than $1.5 billion in assets under management in Allegacy Investment Group. Pace is set to retire in January 2025 and remains actively engaged at Allegacy as the Executive Advisor to the CEO.

During the ceremony, Pace received an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree from Wake Forest University for her legacy of business excellence, community enrichment, and efforts to promote the ethical practice of business. She urged graduates to remain curious, ask questions, and deliberately push themselves beyond their comfort zones. She also emphasized viewing each transition brought by change as a new beginning.

“I’ve always believed that the ability to embrace change and think differently is what makes a person or an organization successful. In the journey ahead, I encourage you to seize opportunities to learn, to grow, and to discover what makes you distinctive,” Pace said. “Know what energizes you, and what gives you your greatest burst of energy and happiness. Whatever that is, stop and acknowledge it and do more of it.”

Annette L. Ranft, the Sisel Distinguished Dean of Business, highlighted the importance of the occasion as graduates embark on the next chapter of their professional journeys.

“You are leaving an unforgettable legacy as leaders who have demonstrated grit and resilience, invested in your own learning and personal growth, and shared your diverse backgrounds, identities, and perspectives with all of us in very impactful ways during your time here,” Ranft said. “The completion of your graduate program reflects a significant accomplishment and we are so pleased to be with you to celebrate this special milestone in your life’s journey.”

During her remarks, Ranft also acknowledged three retiring faculty members:

  • George Aldhizer, Associate Professor of Accounting
  • Derrick Boone, Associate Professor of Marketing
  • Rick Harris, Professor of Economics

“These individuals have had an indelible impact on our community with a combined total of 86 years of service to Wake Forest University, serving hundreds and hundreds of students over the years,” she said.

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


Media Contact: Danyelle Gary McClinton,, 336.582.0622