The Carlson School celebrated the achievements of more than 1,550 graduates at commencement ceremonies Monday at Mariucci Arena.

This year’s graduating class included:

“The value of the degree you are receiving today is not fixed,” Carlson School Dean Sri Zaheer said at the ceremony. “Instead it has the power to appreciate with proper stewardship. I hope you will follow those that have come before you and make the Carlson School better for those who will follow. It’s one of the best investments you’ll ever make.”

This year’s keynote speaker, Marcia Page, ’83 MBA and co-founder and executive chair of Varde Partners in Minneapolis, emphasized the importance of character and making good life and career choices.

“There will be a constant throughout the jobs and the career you have,” Page told the graduates. “The one thing that stays with you the entire time: who you are as a human being. ‘The content of your character,’ as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it. Your values, your attitude, your approaches, and more than anything, your behavior. For people can and will only judge us by what we actually do. They will view you based on how you treat them and others, in moments large and small, personal and professional, public and private.”

Student achievement awards

Several undergraduate students garnered special recognition.

Trevor Nelson received the Tomato Can Loving Cup Award, the school’s highest honor for an undergraduate student. Yiran Shi won the Academic Excellence Award as the school’s highest-ranking undergraduates scholastically.

The Dean's Thesis Award, given to the best undergraduate honors thesis, went to Bhavesh Viswanath for "Can Firms Import Innovation? The Impact of H-1B Visa Sponsorship on Financial Performance.”

Additional thesis award nominees were Eungie Cha, Katelyn Spokely, Andrew Stafford, Kyle Tompkins, and Natalia Velenchenko. All nominated students developed innovative thesis projects and demonstrated great initiative, professionalism, and independent thinking throughout their projects