MBA for Professionals program celebrates commencement

by Russell Yost MBA’05,

  • MBA-P Commencement Willamette University
    Willamette University celebrated commencement for the university's MBA for Professionals program on Jan. 21.
  • MBA-P Commencement Willamette University
    Willamette University faculty and graduates of the university’s MBA for Professionals program gathered for commencement Jan. 21.
  • MBA-P Commencement Willamette University
    A graduate of Willamette University’s MBA for Professionals program decorated her cap.

Saturday’s ceremony recognized 49 graduates of the Portland and Salem cohorts.

Amidst pomp and circumstance, Willamette’s MBA for Professionals program celebrated commencement Jan. 21. Between May 2016 and January 2017, 49 students graduated from the program. They represent the Salem and Portland cohorts, who attended classes in the evenings while working full time. 

Twenty-three who graduated with a 3.8 GPA or above received Atkinson Honors. Thirteen of those graduates were also inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society for AACSB International accredited schools of business such as the Atkinson School.

Dale Sause ’74, CEO and chairman of the board for Sause Brothers, Inc., an ocean towing, tug and barge business, served as commencement speaker and Beta Gamma Sigma honoree. During his address, Sause praised the graduates for their commitment to pursuing an MBA degree while working full time and thanked the families present for their support. He also provided his perspective on the current, uncertain business environment.

“In the present climate, businesses must navigate change with no clear roadmap and an uncertain path,” Sause said. “Rely on the fundamentals you learned in your program — and know that clarity of purpose is crucial to any organization.”

In his valedictory speech, President Steve Thorsett echoed Sause’s advice and encouraged graduates to think beyond themselves in their pursuit of a higher calling.

“Now, the only syllabus is the one you write, and the only person who will determine if you pass or fail is you,” Thorsett said. “Make a commitment to serve the public good and tap into your passion as you pursue a noble purpose.”