Today was a very long day for the entire O’Neill clan + GF, even considering that we skipped out on a few of the graduation day activities.

Kellogg Honors Ceremony
The day began at 8am with the Kellogg Honors Ceremony at the OLC in Jacobs.

Kellogg Honors Ceremony sign
Honors Ceremony Sign in the OLC entrance

At the ceremony, the school honored all of the students who received a Dean’s Distinguished Service Award (DDSA), received a Top Student Award (TSA), or were inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS). It was a pretty quick event with a few remarks by the faculty followed by the standard presentation of awards: students go on stage as their names are called to get the award.

From what I understand, the DDSA is given to students who have made a significant contribution to the Kellogg community through their involvement. There were quite a few of these given out. I don’t really know what the process is for getting one, but I think that you have to be nominated by your classmates for consideration.

The Top Student Award is a way for each academic department to recognize an outstanding student who sets the bar for excellence in that area. While I don’t really know how this one works either, it sounds like the students are chosen by the faculty in each department based on their contributions and their GPA. As far as awards go, it seems like this group got the best piece of bling: a plaque.

Finally, induction into Beta Gamma Sigma (honorary academic society) is offered to the top 10% of the class at the end of winter quarter of the second year.

I was there for BGS myself. Although getting invited to join the society is based on where you stand at the end of the 5th quarter, it takes a while to actually find out if you got in or not. I think I got the email around the end of the 8th week during the 6th quarter.

Nap Time
After the Honors Ceremony, we returned to the apartment and proceeded to all take naps. Originally, the plan was to make it out to the final Nota Bene event and the lakeside reception, but we were all feeling pretty tired after we got back. Rather than be zombies at all of the remaining events, including commencement, which was by far the most important for my parents, we decided to cut our losses and rest up. I think it was an excellent decision.

Kellogg Class of 2011 Commencement
Dean Blount speaking to the graduating class

Commencement took place outside at Ryan Field for the first time this year, and as far as I can tell, it went off without any problems. The ceremony lasted from 4pm, which is when the students had to arrive to start preparing and getting lined up, to about 7:30. Although it sounds like a long time, it actually wasn’t too bad because a lot of it was spent chatting with classmates and listening to short speeches.

Dean Blount gave the first speech, and I was a bit surprised that she chose to focus on the importance of practicing gratitude in our daily lives. It’s a message that I totally dig, but I wasn’t expecting to hear it in grad school.

Doug Conant, a Kellogg alum and the CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, delivered the next speech. His key message was to focus on how you can help others throughout your career, because by doing so, you will ultimately have a much more fulfilling and successful career (keep in mind, I’m paraphrasing and taking out a lot of the details).

Afterward, Professor Zettelmeyer delivered the remarks on behalf of the faculty. His speech focused on communication, and more specifically, the elements of a good story: a situation, conflict, and solution. I may be reading to much into it, but I also took away that as graduates, we now get to go forward and write our own stories, which we will hopefully one day be able to share with future Kellogg students.

The next couple of hours were spent announcing 800+ names and handing out diploma I-owe-you’s (the certificates were pretty nice).

Finally, our class’ FT KSA president provided the remarks on behalf of the students. He chose to focus on the differences in all of our experiences, and the promise that we have going forward (if I recall correctly…I was starting to grow a bit restless at this point thanks to the uncomfortable chairs).