Innovator Article

Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. Keynotes Largest Commencement in School’s History

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News Ticker • by Marianne Skoczek

One hundred and eighty men and women assembled for the last time as UC Davis MBA students on June 11 and marched with pomp and circumstance onto the stage at the Mondavi Center for the Graduate School of Management’s 29th commencement ceremony. It was the largest graduating class in the School’s history.

 

“Trajectory is a key theme for our celebration today,” Dean Steven Currall said, noting the School’s rapid rise as it “ascends the ranks of global business schools faster than any other business school in the top 50.”

And the graduates, the dean continued, “are now on a new, more promising life and career trajectory as a result of earning their MBA. Their investments will pay off in the form of a deeper understanding of business dynamics and new career vistas and opportunities.”

Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. (above), president and CEO of Las Vegas–based Allegiant Airlines, gave the keynote address. Gallagher and his wife, Marcia, gave a $10 million gift to name Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr. Hall, the School’s campus home.

A 1971 UC Davis alumnus, Gallagher is a former member of the School’s Dean’s Advisory Council, and he and his wife established the Maurice J. and Marcia G. Gallagher Chair in Finance, held by Professor Brad Barber. He is an honorary co-chair for the Campaign for UC Davis, the university-wide initiative to raise $1 billion in philanthropic support.

Gallagher told the graduates that whether they would become successful entrepreneurs like himself or pursue excellence in the corporate world, “the great part of the experience will be the journey. And for a successful journey, you need to pursue a business plan of your own.”

Drawing on his experiences and challenges in establishing and running start-up airlines and other businesses, Gallagher urged the graduates to master discipline in both their professional and their personal lives.

“Study the possibilities, understand your environment, do your homework,” he urged. “When an opportunity is presented, be prepared to make a decision. Be the master of your own business plan.”

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