Chris Sacca shares advice on the path to happiness.

"Provoke! Inspire! Don't just get involved but inspire others to be involved. That's playing offense. The most successful people I know live off of their to-do lists... I want you to set the syllabus and course descriptions for the rest of your life."

So said accomplished venture investor, private equity principal, company advisor, entrepreneur, and public speaker Chris Sacca as he addressed the graduates of the Carlson School at its commencement exercises on Monday, May 16 in Mariucci Arena.

Sacca offered to the graduates his formula for success, which in addition to playing offense, includes being in the here and now, being helpful, being ethical, and, most importantly, being "your weird self."

"It takes too much energy to be anything but your weird self. We spend too much of our lives try to live up to the expectations of others. We buy things we don't really want with money we don't really have to impress people we don't really care about. Forget that. Forget what other people think." Video of Sacca's address at the Undergraduate exercises can be viewed on YouTube.

About 450 undergraduates and 620 graduate students earned degrees from the Carlson School this spring. Undergraduates received Bachelor of Science in Business degrees. Graduate students earned several types of degrees: Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts in Human Resources and Industrial Relations, Master of Business Taxation, and Master of Accountancy. Graduates participated in diverse programs including Full-Time, Part-Time, and Executive MBA; Global Executive MBA (China, Vienna, Warsaw), Master of Arts in Human Resources and Industrial Relations, Master of Business Taxation, and Master of Accountancy. PhD degrees were award in Business Administration and Human Resources and Industrial Relations.

Achievement Awards

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

Those named as community engagement scholars were Eric Grauvilardell, Katrina Marie Marolt, Joy McBrien, and Sarah Shady. Recognition as a community engagement scholar 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 Nicholas Barnett for "Learning from History: Examining Yield Spreads as a Predictor of Real Economic Activity" and Michael Behrens for "If You Built It, Will They Come? Replacing the BCS with a Playoff in College Football."

In the graduate commencement, Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards were bestowed to those who rank highest scholastically among all students in their respective programs. Those honored were: Full-Time MBA, Adrian Cook; Part-Time MBA, Robert Barrett; Carlson Executive MBA, Kurt Waltenbaugh; China Executive MBA, Cathy Liu; Vienna Executive MBA, Gertrude Suschko; Warsaw Executive MBA, Lukasz Treda; Master of Arts-Human Resources and Industrial Relations, Christine Hill; Master of Business Taxation, Cheri Haarstick; and Master of Accountancy, Sarah Ries.