Commencement is an exhilarating time of year — the time when students celebrate their accomplishments and officially become Spartan graduates. Distinguished alumni are also part of the festivities, returning to their alma mater to speak to these graduating students and impart wisdom for the journey ahead.
This year, Jerome Behar (B.A. Accounting ’79) will be featured as the Broad College commencement speaker, addressing business undergraduates at the Breslin Center on May 7. Behar is the founder and managing director of Nissim Capital and the co-founder and chair of Grand River Solutions.
Behar said he hopes to encourage graduating Broad Spartans to summon their inner courage, lean in, be bold, follow their dreams and stand by their ethical values — in their personal lives and in their careers.
After getting his start in traditional accounting roles, Behar took on a series of financial positions, including serving as chief financial officer for public and private companies. Throughout his career, he has also embraced an entrepreneurial mindset to launch multiple companies.
In 2002, he founded Financial Intelligence to manage high-value, restatement and crisis accounting issues for corporations. Six years later, Behar’s company was named No. 33 on the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest growing companies.
In 2008, he was the founding CEO of WebFilings, which later changed its name to Workiva; the company developed and offered a web-based solution to automate and streamline the SEC reporting process for public companies. Workiva created Wdesk, a cloud-based platform for enterprises to collect, manage, report and analyze business data in real time. Wdesk includes a sophisticated productivity suite for business data collaboration and reporting that is used by more than 4,000 corporations, including more than 75% of the Fortune 500.
Behar is on the board of directors of Visby Medical and Grand River Solutions, and he previously served on the board and audit committee of Portal Software.
He has maintained a strong bond with MSU and the Broad College’s Department of Accounting and Information Systems, serving as one of its advisory board members from 2013 to 2017. He was also named the department’s 2018 Alumnus of the Year.
Through his commencement address, Behar is hoping to inspire the newly minted Spartan graduates to treat failure as a valuable experience, embrace their passions and focus on what they identify as most important in their lives.
Michigan State University’s spring 2022 commencement will return to the pre-COVID pandemic format and will not require masks or have capacity restrictions. For more information on the commencement ceremonies, visit commencement.msu.edu.