Anthony Meni December 2006 Commencement Speech Opening salutations… The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. We’ve all heard people speak of this name countless times. Whether it has been from employers, eager to recruit us; our parents, bragging to their friends; students from other schools, maybe a little disappointed that they’re not a part of the Smith School; or from ourselves, proudly speaking about where we have been fortunate enough to spend the our last four (or, in my case, more) years. Regardless of whom it is that’s speaking of the Smith School, everyone always seems to know of its reputation. This is one of the top institutions in the nation, and for several reasons: The first thing one notices when walking into Van Munching Hall is Van Munching Hall. There is a four-story atrium that runs through the entire building; the classrooms are fitted with all sorts of crazy technology… and really comfortable chairs; and I think that there are enough computers in this place to run a not-so-small country. This facility is absolutely amazing; and let’s face it, we probably won’t be working in a place nearly as nice for a long time. For this, we have the many generous alumni to thank. They have gone out into the business world, made it, and are now helping us to do the same by donating so graciously to our college and providing us with resources we can use towards achieving our goals. After spending some time here, one comes to realize that the building is just the beginning. It only takes a few classes to see why the faculty and staff have earned such a distinguished reputation. The first business class I had the opportunity to take was BMGT 230, with Dr. Studer-Ellis. Now, I had reservations with this professor to start with – he got his doctorate from Duke of all places! – but I walked out of the first class not believing what I had seen. He taught with an energy level far beyond anything you could imagine. The truly amazing thing is that he kept this up for the entire semester, and actually made Business Statistics fun and somewhat easy to learn. Needless to say, it came as no surprise to me when I heard that he was just named as one of the nation’s favorite business school professors by BusinessWeek. The next semester I got to take a couple more business classes and realized that Professor Studer-Ellis is not necessarily an exception to the norm, but rather represents the norm here at Smith. Every faculty member I have had the opportunity to work with has approached his or her job with a special enthusiasm that made it easier for us to learn. Also surprising, is the level of respect that faculty members show towards the students. They have already achieved high levels of success in their own experiences, but never lord that over anyone. I can’t recall the number of times I had a professor explain on the first day of class that we the students were “customers”, and his or her job was to facilitate our learning. Ultimately, it is apparent that Smith School faculty and staff truly do care about our well being, and have provided us with every opportunity to learn and excel. Anthony Meni The final, and perhaps most important, element of the Smith School that sets it apart is the student body; a diverse group of talented and motivated individuals, who represent a select set amongst a select university. By working with each other, we have had the opportunity to learn, share, and problem solve with some very bright people. Maybe that’s why they make us do so many of those group projects! As graduates of the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, we can walk out of here today with our heads held up high, knowing that we are one step closer towards following our dreams and fulfilling our potential. We know why this name carries so much weight, and now it is time for this graduating class, through its future contributions, to continue in the tradition of strengthening it. Congratulations graduates and good luck!