Congratulations to Our Lake Forest MBA Graduates

LFGSM Marketing

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Congratulations to Our Lake Forest MBA Graduates

On Sunday, June 28, 2015 the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management commencement ceremony was held at Navy Pier in Chicago for our MBA students. The ceremony marked the successful completion of the MBA program for 193 students.

Jeffrey Anderson, the President and CEO of Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, welcomed the graduating class. “I think the real reason [for commencement] is to force us to slow down and really reflect on the magnitude of the occasion… [my] wish is that each of you will pause and think deeply about what this means to you,” said Jeffrey Anderson, President and CEO.

The 2015 Valedictorians

Dr. Neil Holman, Dean of Corporate Learning Solutions, proudly presented the Valedictorian award to thirteen exceptional students who attained a 4.0 grade point average, the highest level of academic achievement.

The 2015 Valedictorians are Jose Daniel (Joel) Amata, David C. Buisson, Mark Christian Demien, Aaron Todd Eadler, Wendi M. Frederick, Gerald Trent Loomstein, Edward Ben Matthew, Patrick Gerald Moriarty, Quinn Obermeyer, Eric E.O. Siebert, Jeffrey William Sommer, Amanda Tiller Villardita, and Nicolette Anne Zielinski Mozny.

Valedictory Speakers: Joel Amara and Amanda Tiller Villardita

Joel Amata received his Bachelor’s Degree in Information & Decision Sciences with distinction from the University of Illinois in Chicago. His career has included working in IT for organizations such as Pepsi, Co. and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. Joel reflected on their hard work, “We often met for long hours during the week, including weekends working together to produce quality work that helped us to become ‘Broad Thinkers, Strong Leaders.’”

Amanda Villardita received her undergraduate degree in Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She began her career in Abbott’s engineering professional development program and advanced to the role of a manufacturing supervisor at Abbott Molecular. Amanda shared about the personally rewarding experience of accomplishing an MBA “We did not go through this program just to see those three letters after our names. We have proven that we can do it.  We have shown that we can pick ourselves up during hard times in pursuit of something greater.”

The Distinguished Executive Award (DEA): Rick Surkamer

Rick Surkamer (LFGSM MBA with honors ’87) built a reputation within the media and technology industries as a talented strategic leader. Rick served in global market development for the Tribune Company and Goss International before assuming the role of President and COO of the Sun Times Media Group. Rick has also been an active alumnus and served on the Board of Directors since 2010 and the Executive Committee at Lake Forest since 2013.

Rick shared candidly about his experience as a student of Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, “The coursework contributed to advancing my career but it didn’t stop there. My experience and the connections I made at Lake Forest drove me to lead across all spectrums of my life”.

The Distinguished Faculty Award (DFA): Gary Conrad

In addition to his MBA from LFGSM in 1991, Gary has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Gettysburg College. He recently retired as the Executive Vice President for Anixter, Inc. a Fortune 500 company where he served for more than twenty-two years in strategic marketing and sales. Gary was recognized in 2014 with the Outstanding New Faculty Award as nominated by his students.

Receiving the Distinguished Faculty Award, Gary Conrad shared his insight about leadership in business: “Leadership is about more than you, it is about developing your people, your team and your organization, so that 1+1=3.  It is about helping your team to understand why you are in business and why it matters to your customers.”

After the MBA degrees were conferred to our graduates, Carrie Buchwald, Vice President of Corporate Learning Solutions, welcomed them into the LFGSM Alumni community.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Faculty and Staff of Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, we congratulate our 2015 MBA graduates.

Please visit our Facebook page for more photos from the event.


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