MBA for Professionals program celebrates commencement

by University Communications,

  • MBA-P graduation class 2018
    The university recognized the accomplishments of 59 graduates of the Salem and Portland cohorts of the MBA for Professionals program Saturday. Photo by Naomi Stukey
  • Keynote speaker
    Sean O’Hollaren ’83, Senior Vice President, Government and Public Affairs at NIKE, Inc., delivers the commencement address. O’Hollaren is also the secretary of Willamette’s Board of Trustees. Photo by Naomi Stukey
  • MBA-P ceremony
    The ceremony took place in Hudson Hall at Willamette University on Jan. 20. Photo by Naomi Stukey
  • dean
    Atkinson Graduate School of Management Dean Debra Ringold addresses the audience. Photo by Naomi Stukey
  • MBA-P graduates gather before graduation
    Members of the MBA for Professionals graduating class gather for commencement.
  • President, dean, speaker
    Willamette University President Steve Thorsett, Atkinson Graduate School of Management Dean Debra Ringold and Senior Vice President, Government and Public Affairs at NIKE, Inc., Sean O’Hollaren ’83 gather for a photo at the MBA for Professionals commencement. Photo by Naomi Stukey

The university recognized the accomplishments of 59 graduates of the Salem and Portland cohorts in a ceremony Saturday.

With encouragement from Sean O’Hollaren ’83 to go forth and disrupt, AGSM celebrated another commencement for candidates in our MBA for Professionals program. Fifty-nine graduates from both Salem and Portland cohorts were awarded their Master of Business Administration on Jan. 20 in Hudson Hall at Willamette University.

Twenty-one MBA candidates graduated with Atkinson Honors, which signifies a cumulative grade point average of 3.8 or higher in all course work. Of that group, 12 students received Beta Gamma Sigma honors, which is an international honor society recognizing outstanding academic achievement of students enrolled in business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).

Commencement speaker and honorary Beta Gamma Sigma inductee O’Hollaren, senior vice president, government and public affairs at NIKE, Inc., used his prolific career in public and private sector to inspire graduates to use their accomplishment in service of others. 

In the private sector, O’Hollaren was senior vice president, global government relations, for Honeywell International, and was the director of Washington affairs for tax and environment at the Union Pacific Corporation.

He has held several positions in government, including roles at the White House as deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs, and as special assistant to the president. O’Hollaren was confirmed as assistant secretary of transportation and served during the creation of the Transportation Security Administration and briefly at the Department of Homeland Security. He was also legislative staff to former U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR), before joining the Senate Appropriations Committee.

O’Hollaren earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Psychology from Willamette University and completed the certificate program in Business Management at Georgetown University. O’Hollaren currently serves on the Oregon Transportation Commission, is a trustee at Willamette University and chairs the Board of Directors at the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry.

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