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Bentley University Graduates Urged to Optimize Their Competitive Advantage and Adapt to Life’s Curveballs at Commencement Ceremonies
Bentley University graduates gained a competitive advantage to their game plans for life -- thanks to Joseph Moglia, head football coach and chair of athletics at Coastal Carolina University. Moglia, who also serves as chairman of the board of TD Ameritrade, addressed more than 1,000 Bentley University undergraduate students at the 95th Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17, 2014. Speaking to an estimated audience of 8,000, Moglia shared principles that have guided him through two very different careers on Wall Street and on the football field.
As he encouraged graduates to take charge of their lives, he referenced his childhood growing up in a struggling New York City neighborhood and working three jobs to pay his way through college and support his wife and young daughter. “This is about standing on your own two feet and accepting responsibility for yourself. Period.”
Spiritual soundness, he continued, will help you get to know who you really are — strengths, weaknesses, passions and skill set — without the influence of others. “The better you know yourself, the better your peace of mind, the better decisions you will make under stress ... the more productive you will be, the better you will feel about yourself and the happier you will be.”
Success, he warned, doesn’t come easy. “There’s no such thing as achieving greatness without work. The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary,” he said, adding that hard work alone is not enough. “If you do something you’re passionate about, you care about and you love, that becomes a career path, it becomes exciting and challenging. The reason people fail is because they don’t work hard enough or they don’t love what they’re doing.”
Moglia concluded with the powerful principle of love, the commitment to the well-being of others. Here, he challenged graduates to consider the sacrifice of their parents — even in the face of conflict. “It is their job to help you and guide you and there is nobody in the world who loves you more than they do. And it’s the power of love … Don’t ever let too much time go by without telling somebody you care about how you feel.”
Moglia received an honorary doctor of commercial science degree at the ceremony.
At the 39th annual commencement ceremony, Linda Zecher, president, chief executive officer and director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, delivered the keynote address to graduate students at the Bentley University Graduate School of Business ceremony.
She began by challenging graduates’ plans for the future: “ … I can tell you with absolute certainty … number one, it’s not going to happen; and number two, what does unfold is going to be a lot messier, a lot weirder, more interesting and far more rewarding than the vision that you have right now … life will happen and luck will happen, and it will take you in directions that you can never imagine.”
Sharing her career path from geophysicist to publisher, she noted that a career “won’t be a linear path,” and if there is an absence of failures, “you’re really not trying hard enough. And there will be setbacks, but they’ll be the building blocks for the successes to come.”
Although there has been a major shift in regard to women in the workplace since she joined a male-dominated earth sciences field early in her career, she noted, “ … all of you, women and men, will find rules or the old ways of doing things — small or large — that get in the way of what you really want to do. Break the rules. Change the way of doing things.”
Zecher’s second piece of advice focused on the need to embrace change. “Leap at the opportunities for new innovation, even the ones you don’t know yet and can’t even imagine at this point in time in your life.”
She emphasized the need to shift priorities along with life changes, noting her own experiences with work-life balance. “There will be times in your career that your job is your top priority, and times in your career when your job is not your top priority.”
Zecher also cautioned graduates to slow down: “… I never would have gone on to do the things that I’ve done in the rest of my career – or done them as well — without the opportunity to recharge and regain my priorities. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint.”
She concluded using Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s famous trademark book character, Curious George. “I’m not sure if Curious George had a career plan when he started out … but he had skills and core values that were transferable and lasting. Most of all, he had insatiable curiosity about new opportunities, new innovations and new people … so indeed be curious. I can’t tell you what that will lead to, and I’m sure it won’t be planned, but whatever it is I’m sure it will be better …”
Linda Zecher received an honorary doctor of commercial science degree at the ceremony.
ABOUT THE GRADUATES
At the undergraduate ceremony, 1,055 bachelor of science degrees and 13 bachelor of arts degrees were awarded to 1,068 students. (Figures include degrees and certificates conferred October 18, 2013, February 28, 2014 and May 17, 2014.)
At the Graduate School of Business ceremony, two doctoral degrees, 484 master of science degrees, 228 master of business administration degrees, 14 dual MS/MBA degrees, and 127 certificates were granted to 730 graduate students. (Students may earn multiple degrees and certificates so may be counted more than once. Figures include degrees and certificates conferred on October 18, 2013; February 28, 2014, and May 17, 2014.)
FACULTY AND STUDENT AWARDS
The Gregory H. Adamian Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to O. David Gulley, professor of economics. The Bentley University Award for Excellence in Scholarship was presented to Dhaval Dave, associate professor of economics. The Joseph M. Cronin Award for Excellence in Academic Advising and Mentoring was given to Don McNemar, senior lecturer in global studies.
Student honoree included Sarah Marie Holt, winner of the Professor Robert J. Weafer Award for Undergraduate Academic Excellence. The Professor E. William Dandes Award for Graduate Academic Excellence went to Bryan Becher and David Comerford.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Joe Moglia is the chairman of the board at TD Ameritrade and head football coach and chair of athletics at Coastal Carolina University.
This season marks Moglia’s 22nd as a football coach, but it has not been a traditional 22 years. He first coached for 16 years, moved to the business world for more than 20, and returned to coaching where he led several championship seasons, beginning in 2009.
In 1984 Moglia entered the MBA Training Program at Merrill Lynch, the only football coach to join 25 MBA graduates. By 1988, he was Merrill Lynch’s No. 1 producer in the world. He ultimately had responsibility for Global Fixed Income Institutional Sales, the Municipal Division, Investment Products, the Insurance Company, the 401(k) Business, and Middle Market Business. He also served on the Executive Committee for both the Institutional and Private Client businesses.
Moglia became the CEO of TD Ameritrade in 2001. Over the next seven years, shareholders enjoyed a 500 percent return on investment, as the firm grew its market cap from $700 million to $10 billion, and client assets reached $280 billion. In 2008, after the firm’s sixth consecutive year of record earnings, Moglia stepped down as CEO and became chairman of the board. He also decided to pursue his love of coaching once again.
Over the last eight seasons, Moglia has been part of six championship teams. In his first two seasons at Coastal, he led his team to two conference championships and two national playoff berths. He earned Conference Coach of the Year honors, and was twice named a finalist for National Coach of the Year.
Moglia holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fordham University and a master’s degree in education from the University of Delaware.
Linda K. Zecher joined Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in September 2011 as president, chief executive officer and director, bringing with her a strong track record of business transformation and results. Her extensive sales, marketing and technology experience contribute to her ability to successfully lead HMH’s transformation into a global leader in educational content and media.
Previously, Zecher served as corporate vice president of Microsoft’s $8 billion Worldwide Public Sector organization. She led a team of nearly 2000 sales and marketing professionals serving government, education and healthcare in more than 100 countries. Under her leadership, this sector delivered eight years of consistent growth and received the Microsoft Industry of the Year Award for three consecutive years.
Prior to joining Microsoft in 2003, Zecher held leadership positions with Texas Instruments, Bank of America, PeopleSoft, Oracle and Evolve Corp. In each role, she led major change. At PeopleSoft she helped develop sales and marketing capabilities which contributed to revenue growth from $500,000 to over $35 million in three years, resulting in a successful IPO. As CEO of Evolve she managed changes leading to the company’s acquisition.
Zecher has served on numerous boards including the Intelligence National Security Association (INSA), U.S. State Department’s Board for Overseas Schools and the James Madison University’s Board of Visitors. She currently serves on the board of nonprofit Cradles to Crayons.
Zecher holds a bachelor of science degree in earth science education from Ohio State University.
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.