A Glimpse of Graduation

Dean Rosnett

Master of Business Administration

President Daniel, Provost Wildenthal, Dean Cunningham, Dean Pirkul, families, friends, staff, thousands if not millions watching via the live webcast and fellow graduate students of the Naveen Jindal School of Management, welcome to this graduate commencement ceremony. Graduates, congratulations on your accomplishment of furthering your education and earning your master’s degree. I’m also a graduate student, and today, like you, will earn my “masters” title.

Profile Photo of Dean Rosnett

First, and most importantly, I thank Jesus Christ for giving me grace and guiding me to this point in my life.

Second, thank you to the Naveen Jindal School of Management faculty and staff for your time and effort in educating us during the day, night and online. You’ve served us well, mentored us in our times of need, and sometimes even turned our experiences into “examples” for other classes to learn from. You’ve taught us to pay attention and turn our ears to your wisdom while applying to our hearts all you have taught us. You will be pleased when we use your teachings to mentor and guide others.

Third, those of us who are fully employed, let’s thank our employers who supported us during this journey. They have allowed us to work odd shifts, make up on missed meetings and travel, and assisted us with the financial burden. They have helped us on this journey, for their benefit as well as ours, and for that we thank them.

Finally, thank you to our friends and families. You’ve put up with us during mid-terms and finals, been understanding when we missed events, and allowed us to make the most of our education. This education we have earned is only possible with your support. Even though you have seen some of the worst from us, your love and encouragement have meant the world to us. All we can say is, “ Thank you.”

As graduate students, we’ve not only studied our course work, but we’ve studied the events in the U.S. and around the world. We’ve seen bad business decisions ranging from CEOs’ greed to poor employee work ethic hurt our economy.  We see these actions with the recent event of JP Morgan Chase’s loss of $2 billion.  These decisions have been made by individuals who’ve stopped serving those that matter the most: The customer.

With challenging issues related to employment, average salaries, and career paths, we’ve seen customer service become a thing of the past.  The company I work for has a mission to “Save the World From Bad Customer Service.”  A mission statement like that decades ago would’ve been an insult. But today, we don’t have enough servants and we have stopped putting our customers first.  Our customer’s range from revenue generating sources to co-workers to our families. This is the world as I see it today, and maybe you see it this way as well.  But looking at the world through this “lens” is wrong. 

“With our new master’s degrees, we should remember how we got here, who got us here, and how we can repay them. Today is only a stepping stone, and we should honor this moment as we move into our new lives. Even though we’ve graduated, we’ll always be students. Not only students, but servants.”

These bad decisions end with us, for I don’t see these challenges as a negative. We have the chance to become something truly exceptional, to rise about the mediocrity and our greatness will make a change in this world.  This change begins now.

Graduates, look around this room, and see the “lens” we should look through. The people in this room, and the ones watching via the webcast, are the people we should emulate and honor. These people are not here because they want to go to a graduation. This graduation is irrelevant to them, but they’re here. Why? Because of us. They’ve shown us love, they’ve shown us sacrifice. They want us to receive this honor, because when we get our new titles, they know they have had a part. And for them, that’s satisfaction. That’s their reward.

Graduates, today is our time, the day we become “masters.” I use the word “master” as a person who is eminently skilled in something, such as an occupation, an art or science.

We’ve invested time into a specific discipline, sacrificed time with our families, worked long hours, lost sleep, neglected friends, and even postponed vacations for this honor. Today is the day we get to say, “I did it!” I’ve honored the time and respect given to me to cross this stage.

Now what? What should be our goal?

Our goal is to serve. Our goal is to make a difference. Our goal is to leave this world better than what it is now.

Dr. Seuss said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, it’s not going to get better. It’s not.”

We’ve been served during our time here by our professors, the JSOM staff, our employers, and most importantly, our friends and family. These people have cared a whole awful lot about us, and now that our journey is over, we can focus our new skills on serving those who served us to get here.

With our new master’s degrees, we should remember how we got here, who got us here, and how we can repay them. Today is only a stepping stone, and we should honor this moment as we move into our new lives. We will always be students even though we’ve graduated. Not only students, but servants. We should serve our family, friends, employers, employees, co-workers or any other person we come in contact with in a way to honor this new title – to honor this institution. It is time for us to show the world we care a whole awful lot.

We have come from all over the world, speak different languages, have different cultures, and we’ve all come together to learn. Not just to learn class material, but also to serve others. Through our service, we will make a better world.

Today’s our day, and we need to make the most of it, for tomorrow, we step into the world as the servant-leaders we have been trained to be, not just students. Let’s take our “master's” title and find a person to mentor so they can achieve this title. This isn’t for us alone, and we should strive for the chance to help others along. And maybe, just maybe, they will learn from us, and our efforts will be a cog in a machine that is greater than us—innovating, creating and building. We are the leaders of today, and we should look to mentoring and molding the minds of the leaders of tomorrow, for if we don’t, the sacrifice of those who supported us will be in vain.

I challenge each of you to take your new title and honor it with acts of service. Let’s make our companies, families and world a better place with the information, knowledge and experience we’ve learned during our time here. Let’s help others grow, and realize the title of “master” is only a title. We learned, on this journey, how to learn again, and hopefully how to serve. The “master’s” title is not an end or a beginning, but it is a continuation of who we are.

As we go and serve, let’s remember that our service laterally to our co-workers, down to our employees or direct reports and upward to our superiors, will be the legacy we leave. If we do our jobs well, we will positively influence those around us to serve. The more we put others first and show them the same service we have been shown, the more we will change the world.

In this theme of service, remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’ ” It's not about us; it's about those we serve.

We have new tools, experiences and knowledge. Let’s change the world by making the world a better place through our service. Let’s take this new message of service to our jobs, our countries and our families. Let’s actively look for ways to serve those around us, and if we get lost, remember how we got here, and use that service as a compass. Tonight we celebrate the end of this journey. Tomorrow we continue on our journey of being servant leaders.

Congratulations, master’s graduates, this honor is ours.

Thank you.

Dean Rosnett graduated from UT Dallas with his master’s degree in business administration. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, in 1999. As an undergraduate, Rosnett built and raced a mini-Baja car in the 1997 SAE Collegiate Design series, was listed in the Outstanding Young College Students of America and was active in the Christ on Campus ministry. After moving to Dallas in 1999, Rosnett worked at Air Systems Components and Lennox International, where he received certification as a LEED Accredited Professional from the U.S. Green Building Council. He enrolled in the MBA program at UT Dallas in 2008. An active volunteer in several community organizations, Rosnett currently is a professional consultant for Genesys Telecommunications Labs.