At commencement ceremonies on Monday, May 18, at Mariucci Arena, 667 undergraduates and 721 graduate students received their Carlson School degrees. Twenty-two PhD degrees in business administration were also awarded.

Undergraduates received Bachelor of Science in Business degrees. Graduate students participated in diverse programs including Full-Time, Part-Time, and Executive MBA; Global Executive MBA (China and Vienna), Master of Arts in Human Resources and Industrial Relations, Master of Business Taxation, Master of Accountancy, and Master of Science in Business Analytics.

Throughout two ceremonies (undergraduate and graduate), the Carlson School honored graduating students and offered words of wisdom for the future.

Dean Sri Zaheer thanks students' biggest champions
Sri Zaheer

Dean Sri Zaheer kicked off each ceremony by encouraging the graduates to dream big.

She also reminded them to thank the supporters who made their accomplishments possible, and to remain engaged with the school as the latest inductees to the Carlson School alumni community.

"Rest assured, the Carlson School will not be leaving you. As alumni of our school, you have just become part of a powerful entity comprised of the more than 53,000 who came before you. A global force that reaches across 95 countries, yet still maintains a strong connection from whence it came," said Zaheer.  

Wells Fargo CEO prescribes humility
John Stumpf

The keynote speaker was Wells Fargo & Company President, Chairman, and CEO John Stumpf, ’80 MBA, who welcomed the new graduates to a prestigious community of leaders. He promised endless posibilities for the class of 2015, but advised they approach the world with humility.

"The possibilities for you are limitless, whatever you do. In California, I'm one of three CEOs who graduated from the University of Minnesota. There are Golden Gophers holding down the fort all across this country and all across this world. At the University of Minnesota, you learn values, ethics, and a certain sense of humility that will carry you far. Golden Gopher humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. That's what makes all you will accomplish so special," said Stumpf.

Stumpf offers more advice for a flourishing business career here.  

See the speech in its entirety.

Undergraduate student speaker imagines the impact of business

John Reichl
The undergraduate ceremony featured remarks from John Reichl, a former neuroscience student who transferred to the Carlson School as a junior and majored in finance. He graduated Summa Cum Laude, and will go on to join McKinsey & Company.


Reichl encouraged his peers to think critically and develop a unique perspective when faced with challenges, to be kind in all they do, and to remember the profound impact business can make on the world.

"Business touches everyone in some way: It will be the fruits of our labors—whether it’s the finance people creating efficient markets, the MIS folks creating global networks, or the marketers getting products to the people who need them the most—that will help the planet achieve a state of economic self-determinism. That’s a weighty charge, and an inspiring call to service," said Reichl. 

See Reichl's speech

Graduate student speaker encourages classmates to pursue meaningful work
Brad Horras

The graduate ceremony included a speech by Brad Horras, a Full-Time MBA student who specialized in marketing and strategy. Following graduation, he will join Coloplast, starting at the U.S. headquarters in Minneapolis then doing an 18-month rotation in Copenhagen. 

Horras outlined his hopes for the graduating class as they begin the next stage of their careers. 

"None of us will wish on our death bed that we created more value for shareholders. I hope we never lose sight of the things in life we find meaningful. Pay it forward with openness and generosity as much as possible," said Horras.   

Students receive achievement awards

Several students were recognized for their academic achievements throughout the commencement ceremonies.

Chloe Edwards

The Tomato Can Loving Cup Award, the school’s highest honor to an undergraduate student, was presented to Chloe Edwards.

The Academic Excellence Award, given to the highest academically ranked undergraduate senior, was awarded to John Reichl.

Charlen Nyangaresi was named a community engagement scholar. This designation is earned by students who complete nine credits of service-learning course work, at least 400 hours of community service, a series of reflective pieces, and an integrative community project that results in the creation of a sustainable project for a community organization.

The Dean's award for best undergraduate honors theses went to Younan (Yale) Zhu for "Search Me! How Internet Search Trends Impact Stock Value for Growth and Value Stocks in Bull and Bear Markets.” Additional nominees were Ryan Grange, Mitchell Gulbransen, and John Reichl. All nominated students developed innovative thesis projects and demonstrated great initiative, professionalism, and independent thinking throughout their project.  

Relive the commencement ceremonies

Graduate ceremony

Watch the graduate commencement ceremony, including the speakers and presentation of degrees. 

Undergraduate ceremony

Watch the undergraduate commencement ceremony, including the speakers and presentation of degrees.