Graduates urged to embrace spirit of entrepreneurship

May 20, 2017

Quinnipiac University undergraduate commencement exercises for the School of Business Saturday, May 20, 2017, at the TD Bank Sports Center on Quinnipiac's York Hill Campus. ,Quinnipiac University undergraduate commencement exercises for the School of Business Saturday, May 20, 2017, at the TD Bank Sports Center on Quinnipiac's York Hill Campus

Kenneth H. "Hap" Klopp, the former president and CEO of The North Face, described the state of the world as a mess — with issues that include income inequality, misogyny and racism during his keynote address during the School of Business Undergraduate Commencement address on May 20 at the TD Bank Sports Center.

By 2030, he said, 50 percent of the jobs that exist today will be eliminated by automation — further exacerbating problems.

“The solution is inside all of us — me and you,” said Klopp. “It won’t surprise you that as an entrepreneur, I believe many of the solutions lie in entrepreneurship.”

Klopp said the Quinnipiac Class of 2017 has a distinct advantage over graduates of other institutions.

“You Bobcats should recognize you have a great platform here — a highly respected school around the world,” he said.

Among his evidence, he cited the first graduating class of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, and success of the men’s and women’s ice hockey and women’s basketball teams.

“I’ve worked with many people throughout my career,” he said. “I’ve found there are three types of people: There are people who make things happen, people who watch things happen and people who ask what happened. I suggest you be one of the first type.”

He urged the graduates to recognize the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

“Knowledge,” as he defined it, “is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”

Klopp offered the graduates tips that he attributes to his success:

  • To be good is not good enough if you dream about being great.
  • You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to lead.
  • Use common sense.
  • Be optimistic.
  • Avoid perfection paralysis. There’s no time for perfect information.
  • Never underestimate your own individual capacity to make a difference (the power of one).
  • Live with a sense of urgency.
  • Be audacious. We’re not in this to test the waters, we’re in it to make waves.
  • Take risks. Many leaders today will fail, because they’re shooting for the moon.
  • Failure happens sometimes. And if it does, don’t complain.
“I’d implore you to do something wonderful with your life,” he said. “There’s no better time than now and no better person than you.”

Frank Casanova II ’80, senior director of iPhone partner marketing at Apple Inc., was an honorary degree recipient. He urged his fellow alumni to find people at work who are having more fun than them — and then find out how to get where they are.

“Speak up and have an opinion,” he urged graduates. “Be nice. If anyone tells you that you need to be nasty to get ahead, it’s not true. If you’re nice to people, their gratitude shows up at the most interesting and beneficial times.”

Casanova urged the graduates to focus value and recognize the power of relationships.

“Bridges are for crossing, not burning,” he said “When you go, go with grace. There’s a chance you’ll bump into someone who will impact your future.”

Quinnipiac is a dynamic, three-campus university where professors who want to know students by name come to teach, and where students who want a personal, challenging education come to learn.

Located in Southern New England, Quinnipiac’s top-rated academics, low faculty-to-student ratio and Division I athletics are just some of the reasons why it is consistently ranked among the best universities by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. It is one of 100 universities to have both a law school and a medical school with the opening of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine in 2013, and its Polling Institute is respected by media organizations around the globe.

Faculty members are experts in their fields and generous with their time. The university prepares undergraduate and graduate students for success in business, communications, engineering, health, education, law, medicine, nursing and the liberal arts and sciences. More than 100 programs are offered to 6,784 undergraduate and 2,884 graduate students.

Throughout its rich history, Quinnipiac has remained true to its three core values: high-quality academic programs, a student-oriented environment and a strong sense of community.

The university is hosting 10 Commencement ceremonies, including our inaugural ceremony for the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine and the first ceremony for the newly formed School of Engineering.

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