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Welcome and Awards Ceremony celebrates academic achievements, the start of a new year, and the Tepper School community

Standing in front of an auditorium buzzing with Tepper School of Business graduate students, faculty and staff, William Lambert opened a folder to reveal a packet of papers dating back nearly 30 years – papers that transformed his life.

When preparing his speech for the annual Tepper School Welcome and Awards Ceremony on Aug. 28, the MSA Safety (NYSE: MSA) Chairman, President and CEO was asked by Dean Robert Dammon to explain why he chose Carnegie Mellon, and it was around the same time that he happened upon his original application to the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (now the Tepper School).

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 William Lambert and Dean Robert Dammon
“Remarkable, right? This was back in the days when you actually had to fill it out with a pen,” quipped Lambert, MSIA ’90, prompting a laugh from the crowd.

One of the questions on that application was the exact query that the dean had posed to him. Inside the Carnegie Music Hall, Lambert read his answer aloud to the group, which praised the school’s educational offerings, professional development opportunities, and its emphasis on “quantitative problem solving through teamwork.”

And while the school did indeed offer Lambert all of these benefits, his experience was much more than classes and professional growth. He also found within the Tepper School a cohesive community that would stick with him throughout his successful 35-year career at MSA.

“Tepper is a transformational journey… it’s that kind of place. But it only happens if we all stay connected,” Lambert told the crowd. “Make your mark here, and as you go out into the world and become successful – and I know you will – give back and stay connected to what we do.”

It was, in part, this strong sense of community and connectedness to which the evening’s awardees credited their success.

Lilian Ngobi was awarded the Arjun V. Gokhale Spirit Award, which is presented to a returning student who demonstrates academic excellence, a zest for life, dedication to teamwork, and the ability to bring together people from diverse backgrounds. For Ngobi, the inclusive community at the Tepper School – in addition to the way that the faculty teach the importance of a diverse perspective in the business world – has been an inspiration.

“I’m continuously inspired by all of my classmates, and how we always prove that the Tepper School of Business is the premier institution for inclusion and a close-knit environment,” she said during the ceremony.

“I have seen how all of the Tepper students, faculty and staff come together in good times and in bad, how Tepper students take the time to learn about new things that they haven’t learned about, to take on opportunities that they have not taken on before, and to support other people.”

David Dierker, who was named a McGowan Fellow, echoed the sentiment: “From our faculty, to our staff, to our administration, to our alumni, to our current students, and to students that have not yet enrolled, we are a family that is eternally dedicated to supporting and enabling one another.”

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Brenden Van Buren, David Dierker, Lilian Ngobi and Adam Caruso

The McGowan Fellowship Award was established in 2010 by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund to create a select community of highly talented, emerging business leaders who are dedicated to ethical leadership, community building and show an interest in public service.

In addition, three students were awarded with Henry Ford II Scholarship Awards, which are given to the student with the highest grade point average in each of the Tepper School MBA delivery modes. Brenden Van Buren earned the scholarship for the Full-Time program, Florin Manolache won the award in the Part-Time On-Campus program, and Adam Caruso achieved this distinction for his work in the Part-Time Online Hybrid Program.

The Welcome and Awards Ceremony is an annual event designed to welcome incoming graduate students to the Tepper School, and provides an opportunity to recognize returning students for their academic achievements and contributions to the school.

“The Tepper MBA is widely recognized as a rigorous and challenging program, and our students work hard in their classes throughout the school year, as well as undertake job searches and develop leadership skills … all of this adds up to an enormous commitment and deserves recognition,” said Kate Barraclough, head of the MBA program.

In addition to Barraclough, both Dean Dammon and Graduate Business Association President Zac Talmadge addressed the audience at the event.

“Now is the time to step out of our comfort zones and take risks … so say ‘yes’ to experiences while you’re here,” Talmadge said. “And if something doesn’t go as planned or we fail, we pick each other up. We enrich our lives by enriching the lives of those around us.”

In closing his remarks, Lambert offered one important piece of advice to the Tepper School students, who began classes the following day:

“When you’re leading a team, when you’re leading a company, you will have opportunities before you to cross a line, to cheat, to take a shortcut… Don’t do it. You have to hold onto those attributes of authenticity, ethical behavior, honesty and integrity with all your might.”

See more photos from the Welcome and Awards Ceremony and Reception