Graduation Closes a Loop, Expands the Alumni Circle
Under sunny skies and amid cool breezes on May 14, Wharton’s new graduates circled the track in Franklin Field, tracing the full perimeter in a solid line of black robes highlighted with red, blue, and gold. Digital cameras and phones clicked on the field and in the stands as the soon-to-be alumni took their seats, ready to join Wharton’s worldwide community of more than 81,000 alumni.
As the alumni circle expanded, the keynote address by Lakshmi N. Mittal “closed the loop” on the 125th anniversary, in the words of departing Dean Patrick T. Harker. Mittal is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Arcelor Mittal and founder of Mittal Steel, the world’s largest steel company. In 2004, Mittal Steel merged with International Steel, the descendent of Bethlehem Iron Company, which Joseph Wharton as a director had built into a world leader around the time that he founded the Wharton School in 1881.
Mittal noted that the event was not the first Wharton graduation he had attended. In addition to his nephew Atulya, W’07, who received his bachelor’s degree earlier in the day, and niece Natasha, WG’07, who was awarded her MBA, his Wharton family includes his son, Mittal Steel President and CFO, Aditya, W’96, and his daughter-in-law Megha, W’97.
The graduates were not the only ones saying goodbye to Wharton’s campus. Said Barbara Kahn, Vice Dean and Director of the Undergraduate Division, at the Undergraduate ceremony, “I believe I can fully appreciate some of the complex feelings you must be experiencing right now. Like most of you, I have just finished my fourth and final year in Wharton undergrad.” Kahn is leaving Wharton to become dean of the business school at the University of Miami. Harker’s remarks were also bittersweet. “As you know, this year I’m ‘graduating’ in a way, too,” he said. “I came to this institution as an 18-year-old freshman, and I’ve spent some 30 years wearing the red and blue of Penn –as a student, as a faculty member and as dean. And my love for, and loyalty to, this institution won’t end when I move on to the University of Delaware in July. For like you, I am an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania, and a very proud one at that.”
To welcome the graduates to alumni status, Jean-Pierre Rosso, WG’67, served as Alumni Marshall, presenting the Class of 2007 flag to Hassan El-houry, WG’07, President of the Wharton Graduate Association. Rosso, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, recently assumed the chair of the Lauder Institute’s Board of Governors. Other speakers chosen from among the outstanding student body were Andrew Kaplan, W’07, who addressed the undergraduate class, and Poonam Sharma, WG’07, and Jessica Hatch, WG’07, who spoke to newly minted MBAs from the traditional program and the MBA Program for Executives respectively in the afternoon.
In San Francisco’s Herbst Center, Adam Krug, WG’07, addressed the fifth graduating class for the Wharton MBA Program for Executives at Wharton West on May 6. This academic year, Wharton awarded about 550 Bachelors of Science in Economics, 36 PhDs, more than 800 MBAs from the traditional program, 122 MBAs from the Philadelphia executive program, and 73 MBAs from the San Francisco executive program.