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Hats off to more than 1,400 Broad Spartans in the Class of 2024

By Chelsea Stein
Monday, May 6, 2024

Commencement is one of the most exhilarating times of year at Michigan State, when students celebrate their accomplishments and officially become Spartan graduates. From April 26–28, the university’s spring commencement ceremonies honored more than 10,000 graduates in the Class of 2024.

This year, more than 1,000 undergraduates and 390 advanced degree graduates from the Broad College of Business crossed the stage, ready to inspire the future of business.

“Look around at these surroundings and truly take this moment in. Because this moment and this ceremony is a remarkable event, and it represents a rite of passage into the future,” Alison Gleeson (B.A. Marketing ’87), retired Cisco senior vice president and the college’s current Advisory Board president, said in her address to undergraduates at the Broad College’s ceremony on April 27. “You will remember this day for the rest of your life.”

Gleeson is a highly regarded international speaker about the drivers of technology disruption across industries, most recently the use of AI, the role of technology in enabling digital transformation and empowering women in technology. From the Breslin Center podium, Gleeson encouraged the Class of 2024 to embrace the butterflies and use the skills they’ve gained as Spartans on the road ahead.

“This graduating class truly epitomizes our hashtag of what it means to be #SpartanStrong,” Gleeson said, acknowledging how the Class of 2024 began their time at MSU fully online, amid the pandemic. “You have been given a gift. It isn’t a gift you have chosen but one you have earned: the gift of perseverance. I encourage each of you to explore, dream, discover. Remember your foundation and use that to fuel your life’s journey.”

President and CEO of Michigan State University Federal Credit Union — and first-generation college graduate — April Clobes (B.A. Marketing ’94) addressed master’s and educational specialist graduates on April 26. She urged the Class of 2024 to live every day like a job interview, collaborating with those around them and being authentic.

“When I graduated from MSU 30 years ago, I didn’t have a goal or plan to become a CEO,” she explained. “We often think our future hinges on a one-hour interview, but it’s about how you conduct yourself day in and day out. Each interaction is a chance to demonstrate your character, value and work ethic. Treat people with respect and kindness, and know that any success you achieve is very rarely on your own.”

In addition, Nigerian businessman Bolaji Balogun, CEO of Chapel Hill Denham Group, addressed doctoral candidates on April 26. The week leading into commencement, the Broad College hosted Balogun in partnership with the International Business Center and MSU’s International Studies and Programs to engage with Spartans. At the commencement ceremonies, Balogun and Clobes each received honorary doctorates in business for their individual career achievements and lasting impact on business.

Defining characteristics

As this year’s student speaker, hospitality business senior Diana Talamantes-Valles highlighted how resilience was a defining characteristic of the Class of 2024 and their time along the banks of the Red Cedar.

“As the first-ever class to begin our university careers online, we didn’t let uncertainty define us,” she said. “The Class of 2024 showed me and so many others that common dedication of building Spartan community was life changing.”

Throughout her time at MSU, Talamantes-Valles seized every opportunity to step outside her comfort zone. From leading student organizations and taking on internships to presenting research at national conferences and venturing on education abroad trips, she has made an impact on the Broad community — to which she’s eager to continue giving back as an alumna.

As parting words, she reminded her peers to continue finding their own way forward and to lean into opportunities for growth.

“Our paths are as unique as our aspirations, and there lies the true beauty,” she said. “Your journey is not predetermined. … It’s yours to mold and shape. Embrace the freedom to create, innovate and inspire.”

As we enjoy this time with the Class of 2024, take in the celebration by watching our video recap of the spring 2024 commencement ceremonies.

Congratulations to the Class of 2024

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Hospitality business senior Diana Talamantes-Valles will inspire her peers in the Class of 2024 on April 27.