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Tippie College Commencement Ceremonies Held May 16-17

Graduate finishes in four years despite health challenges

A grim diagnosis didn't stop Amanda Ball. This graduating senior from Grays Lake, Illinois overcame great obstacles to graduate from the Tippie College of Business on May 17. Last spring, while studying in Cork, Ireland, Ball contracted bacterial meningitis. Despite a period of time in a coma and a diagnosis that only gave a slim chance of survival, she slowly recovered. She spent time in hospitals in Ireland, the University of Chicago, and later at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

She returned to class in the fall after making up her work from the spring 2002 semester. After suffering major muscle and tissue damage, she lost the use of her legs and used a wheelchair to get around campus. After further therapy, she switched to a cane and continued her recovery. She pushed ahead with her finance classes and was able to graduate on time with a 3.65 grade point average.

"What happened was a tragic thing, but I wanted to take control of my life. So, I wanted to come back to school and finish what I had started," Ball said, also thanking her parents and friends for supporting her throughout her recovery.

Ball was happy to be among 550 graduates at the Tippie College's Undergraduate commencement exercises held at Hancher Auditorium. Phillip Jones, UI vice president for student services and dean of students conferred the degrees.

Twenty candidates in the undergraduate program graduated with honors, 10 with highest distinction, 13 with high distinction and 25 with distinction.

The Tippie School of Management held commencement exercises May 16 at Hancher Auditorium, with UI Provost Jon Whitmore conferring 200 degrees.

Michael D. Maves, M.D., CEO of the American Medical Association, and 1988 Executive MBA graduate, gave the keynote address at the School of Management commencement speaking about lessons on life and leadership. He advised the graduates to get involved in politics and make time for their families, but also to recognize their abilities and to give back to the community. "My sense is that here at University of Iowa, the emphasis is not just how much you can make--it's what you can make out of yourselves with hard work and dedication--and what give you back to society to do good by doing well," Maves said.

Cornelius "Perk" Thornton, recently retired vice president of Goldman, Sachs & Co. gave the keynote address at the undergraduate ceremonies. Thornton received his BBA in Marketing from the UI in 1971 and had a successful 30-year career on Wall Street as an investment banker. He gave some advice to the graduates, based on his experiences.

"I believe that a successful career is the result of someone doing something they really like; something that you have a passion for. Working for a paycheck is cool; but if you really want to be rich, find something that you like and do it very well. I can almost guarantee you that you will achieve wealth beyond your greatest expectations," Thornton said.

Graduating senior Christopher Hartmann also spoke at the undergraduate ceremony from a student's perspective, talking about students facing uncertainty in the world.

"The strength that the last four years has given us--that strength in the face of uncertainty --- has never been a more critical attribute than it is in today's world. I sometimes wonder if we may be the first class of University of Iowa graduates to have studied through such dynamic and even frightening times. Perhaps not, but we certainly have studied through times of international war and conflict, through times of international terror. I know that few of us will forget where we were on the day the World Trade Center was destroyed," he said. "But in a strange way, that day full of uncertainty brought many of us together, and I know that long discussions forged many relationships – and provided strength and wisdom."


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