Graduates Encouraged to “find something you love”
For the first time in three years, the Graham School celebrated graduates with an in-person ceremony.
On Saturday, June 4, 2022, the Graham community came together to recognize graduates and present diplomas. The joyous event at the Gordon Parks Arts Hall on the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus conferred degrees to 81 students from the class of 2022. The School also invited graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 to celebrate their earned degrees during the in-person ceremony, since they had previously been unable to celebrate in person due to the pandemic.
Graduates were feted by a number of speakers, including Jarquetta Egeston, Dean of Students; Anne Gehring, Master of Liberal Arts alumna; Seth Green, Dean of the School; Maura Joyce, Master of Science in Threat and Response Management graduate; Carmela Martinez, Master of Arts in Teaching graduate, and Samuel Volchenboum, Associate Professor of Pediatrics.
Gehring, MLA ’13, talked about how her education in the liberal arts helped her succeed in business and found a different kind of management consulting firm, Stanton Blackwell.
Prior to starting her own business, Anne was a prominent executive in the financial services industry for more than 30 years, where she led large teams of analysts tasked with predicting the performance of trillions of dollars of volatile mortgage assets. She did that with a liberal arts degree and by insisting on being at the table in the finance world, often as the only woman in rooms of male colleagues.
Known for her candor and practical leadership style, Anne shared her story with Graham graduates—a story of smarts and perseverance. With clear passion and a sense of humor, Anne said that, “I was too naïve and stubborn to know that I wasn’t supposed to have the ambition to be a business leader with a liberal arts degree. So today, I hope you are as stubborn as I was then.”
Often excluded or told “no,” Anne forged her own path as a visionary business leader, in spite of the nay-sayers. She credits her liberal arts education for her ability to lead with integrity, to question the status quo, to persuade others (and yes, win some arguments along the way), to solve problems, and to overcome obstacles.
She asked our room full of graduates not to be lulled into returning to a time when excluding others was the norm, but rather to push forward to include many voices at the literal and figurative tables in one’s life.
Anne said that, “When I started my own business, the liberal arts provided me with the intellectual confidence to question a well-established corporate labor model that ultimately excludes a lot of people, particularly women.”
“Take your time, find something you love to think about. And use what you have learned here at the Graham School to lead. Lead us to inclusive prosperity.”
Thank you to all of our Graham School Diploma Ceremony speakers, graduates, families, faculty and instructors, and staff for creating a memorable occasion for all.