With heads held high, the 2018 Nebraska Business Honors Academy cohort celebrated their graduation together at the Wick Alumni Center at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln earlier this May. This cohort was the second to graduate from the academy. The event brought the students and their families to celebrate their achievements over their college careers, and ended with a presentation of regalia.
From Chicago to Atlanta to Hastings, Nebraska, the new alumni earned competitive placements. Before graduation, 97 percent of the class had accepted offers for jobs or to further their educations. Their starting salaries continued to be more than $10,000 more than other business graduates.
Their hard work began on day one. From honors coursework, leadership development workshops to case competitions, the students strove to Start Something in and out of the classroom. In addition to their scholastic achievements in the college, they engaged in philanthropy within the Lincoln community. Their efforts contributed towards academy students partnering with more than 100 local agencies and volunteering more than 2,000 hours within the last academic year.
On campus, members of the cohort held top executive roles in student government, fraternities and sororities, The Big Event and more. Many sat on advisory boards for the College of Business, the Honors Program and Campus Recreation. One-third of the cohort were selected into senior honor societies, while another two-thirds studied abroad in 17 countries on six continents. They interned in 11 states and three countries.
Speaking at their graduation celebration, Erin Burnette, the academy’s director, said, “As a group, you have raised the bar. You have found ways to pursue your personal passions alongside your professional goals, which has led you to hold the highest leadership positions across campus. Each of you have so many reasons to be proud of what you have become over the past four years and I trust that you’ll continue to find the opportunity to make as many positive waves in your new communities as you have done here at Nebraska. We can’t wait to step back from the sidelines and watch from the stands as you find your next success.”
The academy’s community provided support and acted as a catalyst to each students’ next accolade, experience or discovery. Dr. Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean, advised the students to invest in those relationships built.
She said, “I hope you will all take the time to reflect on the relationships you’ve developed along your journey over the last four years. Both inside and outside the academy. Relationships are critical in business but much more broadly in life. It is through relationships that we grow both individually and professionally.”
Greg Dittman, ’18, who works at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in Omaha, Nebraska, after earning his degree in accounting, noted how the cohort-based program helped set him up for success throughout his college career. He said, “You’re constantly surrounded by people who want to learn and be successful. Warren Buffett (’51) has a famous quote that applies well to me, ‘It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.’ By being in the Honors Academy, I hope to be more successful because of my cohort that surrounded me.”
The cohort’s community was filled with dynamically large personalities and a wide scale of interests. Burnette believes their combination of involvement, pursuit of passions and academics provide a strong foundation for their futures.
“Looking beyond the résumés is where I have seen them truly shine and grow. I know they will continue to find the opportunity to make as many positive waves in their new communities as they have done here at Nebraska,” she said.
To learn more about the Nebraska Business Honors Academy, visit: https://business.unl.edu/honorsacademy