Molly Monroe
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
By Molly Monroe

Good afternoon, University of Iowa faculty and staff, parents, family members, friends, and fellow graduates. It is an honor to be here today and an honor to be a member of the second Tippie College of Business graduating class of 2017.

To my fellow graduates, I want to begin with a congratulations. Our drive, integrity, and determination reserved our spots on the graduating stage and will continue to push and motivate us in our future endeavors.

While it is impossible to sum up all of the events, people, and memories that defined my college experience, I still remember how I felt during my first few weeks on campus.

As a freshman, the anonymity of sitting in a huge lecture hall was strange and nerve-wracking. Yet, these feelings were matched with excitement as I appreciated the fresh surroundings and new faces. I had the opportunity to define my character, values, and aspirations at Tippie — that is the opportunity we all had. We had time to grow as students and as individuals. We encouraged one another to make the most of these years.

We had the support to explore our interests in an environment that was open-minded and challenging. Tippie fully welcomed me and even my ever-changing goals. I am so thankful for my advisor with her patience as I changed my major from management to maybe anthropology to possibly health and human physiology to accounting to marketing to finally economics.

Although, time and time again, my ideas changed of what I could become and what I wanted to be, I never felt discouraged or impractical. I never felt that I did not belong where I was. The support and encouragement is fostered in the spirit of Tippie students and is grounded in its faculty.

During my sophomore year, I signed up for an 8am Introduction to Marketing lecture. Although not a morning person, I was determined to not miss a single class until one morning I was too sick to make it to lecture. The following day, while walking in the business building, I heard a gruff, loud “Where were you yesterday?” I looked up to see my marketing professor, Dave Collins, the professor whose 8am lecture I had missed for the first time. I was in a state of shock and panic as I explained the reason behind my absence. With a laugh, he said he was glad I was feeling better and he would look for me in class tomorrow.

I had never spoken to Professor Collins before that day. In a classroom that holds almost 400 students, I figured I was another face in the crowd. However, professors and faculty held expectations for students — high expectations.

I never missed Professor Collins’ class again — maybe it was a stroke of luck for my immune system or maybe it was the understanding that we depended on one another in Tippie. These positive relationships created an environment of accountability and consideration. This was not your typical big university setting. Instead, it was a small, close knit community filled with promise.

A community where we depended on one another to hold up our end of the bargain whether it was making it to class or completing your part of the group project. A community where we held one another to high standards because we had the confidence that we would continue to meet them.

In our Tippie community, we all had our fair share of group projects. It seemed to be a game of luck like randomly drawing cards from a deck as we did in Introduction to Management. These inherently Tippie group experiences develop our values and work ethic.

In my Business Communication and Protocol class, I was fortunate to be in a group with three extremely motivated individuals. We shared one common goal: to deliver the best report deck a BCaP instructor has ever seen. Each member committed to putting in the work. We held meetings for five to six hours as we built on one another’s energy and attitudes. Ultimately, our team succeeded because of our solidarity — we felt we owed it to each other to put forth our best work.

We all can relate back to a moment when we felt that we owed our best work to someone or something. This sense of commitment lends itself to the drive and the achievements that have brought us here and will continue to motivate us.

Regardless of the next step in our lives, whether it be a new job, entering a graduate program, or an unknown, yet promising next chapter, let’s work to make our environment just as welcoming, encouraging, and supportive as where we spent these past few years. We owe it to ourselves to continue to deliver on the Tippie promise.

While I am certain I do not know each face in the audience today, I am sure we have each passed one another in the hall, shared a lecture, or at least been in Kinnick on the same day. I am also sure that we share a common motivation for leading by example grounded in what we have experienced at Tippie. Thank you for making these years inspiring, transformational, and, most importantly, enjoyable. Thank you for the sharing moments of laughter and stress. Thank you for being authentically and effortlessly welcoming and kind.

I also encourage you to take a moment to thank those who have supported you throughout your college years. Friends, parents, family members, and loved ones — we could not have done it without you.

And finally, take a moment to congratulate yourself. Your spot here today is possible through your own drive and commitment. You have done the hard work. Let’s take this success at Tippie and pursue new challenges with confidence in our abilities and character.

Congratulations Class of 2017 and I look forward to seeing what all we will accomplish.

For more photos of our December 2017 commencement ceremony, please visit our Flickr account