2018 Commencement


School of Business master’s degree recipients were honored at the graduate hooding ceremony Sunday, May 20 in Wait Chapel. Holders of a master’s degree wear a symbolic hood draped around the neck and over the shoulders, displayed down the back with the lining exposed. The hood identifies the level of degree, the field of learning, and the awarding institution.

“Graduates, you will be called on to lead at a much earlier stage in your career than the generation of business titans before you,” keynote speaker Carla Harris shared during the Graduate Hooding Ceremony. “Yours will be the challenge of not only acquiring the skills to functionally do the job that you were hired to do, but you will also have to observe, study, and acquire an acumen for leadership so much earlier.”

Harris is vice chairman, managing director, and senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley. She is also author of two books of business advice and has released three gospel CDs. She has performed five sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall and serves as a motivational speaker.

“Transformational leadership means you have to possess four attributes. You have to be thoughtful and strategic, you have to be transparent, you must be transcendent, and you must be tenacious,” Harris said.

Harris exhorted the graduates to be their authentic selves in the world of business. “Your authenticity is at the heart of your power and it is at the heart of powerful, impactful, influential leadership. Nobody can be you the way that you can be you,” she continued. “When you try to speak or behave in a way that is inauthentic to who you really are, you will create a competitive disadvantage. In the leadership seat, when you bring your authentic self, you will motivate and inspire those who are working with you to bring their authentic selves. Any time any of us is in an environment where we can bring our authentic selves, we will motivate and we will always outperform.”

The entire hooding ceremony may be viewed on-demand.

Caroline Holt Dillon (MA ’18) with Dean Charles Iacovou

A significant milestone occurred as the graduate students received their hoods. Caroline Holt Dillon became the 1,000th graduate of the Master’s in Management program. The School of Business established one of the first pre-experience master’s in management programs in the United States in 2006.

“Traditions like this hooding ceremony serve as important markers in the life of our School as a tightly connected academic community,” said Charles Iacovou, Sisel Distinguished Dean of the School of Business. “This past year has been filled with challenges and triumphs, laughter and excitement, new community members arriving and old friends departing. It is an honor to be part of this academic community that takes seriously the responsibility we have to care for one another and support our mutual successes.”


Wake Forest University School of Business congratulates the 461 master’s and 272 bachelor’s degree recipients recognized during the Wake Forest University Commencement on May 21, 2018.

A crowd of almost 13,000 gathered on Hearn Plaza to celebrate the graduation of nearly 1,900 students who received their diplomas, flipped their tassels, and began the next chapter of their lives as alumni.

Carla Harris delivered the commencement address, an inspirational message focused on four things: choice, chance, change, and courage.

“When faced with a choice, choose the options that position you to be a leader. Choose the options that create a multiplier effect, and make the choice that will inevitably push you and stretch you the most,” she said.

Harris received an honorary doctor of laws degree during Commencement, with School of Business Dean Charles Iacovou investing her with the Wake Forest hood.

In his address to students, University President Nathan O. Hatch emphasized the need for everyone to understand the other side in today’s divided and polarized society. “Today, as you depart Wake Forest, I call upon you to pursue ‘both…and’ — to hold out your hand, look into the eyes of your sisters and brothers, open your ears and listen,” he said.

Congratulations to our newest alumni, who left Wake Forest prepared to help businesses create a better world.