MANHATTAN -- During his speech, Ryan Ackerman, the May 2013 student speaker at commencement for Kansas State University's College of Business Administration, urged his fellow students to take responsibility for their success and to work hard.
"It is my hope that each of us will continue to take responsibility for our success and live our lives in such a way that the people around us will continue to invest in us," he said, a sentiment that was inspired by advice from John Graham, his finance professor, on the last day of class.
"Ryan is a young man who makes us all proud," said Graham, who is also an executive in residence in the college. "We thank him for his service to our country, and know his intelligence, initiative, work ethic, passion and sense of personal responsibility will lead to career success. We wish him all the best in the future and look forward to following his progress."
A native of Dodge City, Ackerman was nominated by Scott Hendrix, finance instructor, to be the student speaker for commencement. He was then selected by a vote of faculty, staff and students.
Ackerman, a magna cum laude graduate who earned a bachelor's finance and a certificate in integrated investment management, was an active student in the college and at the university. He served as president of the Student Finance Association and was a member of the Dean's Student Advisory Council. He also worked as an investment assistant at the KSU Foundation and building supervisor at the university's recreational complex.
"In addition to working two jobs to fund his education, Ryan was a great and active leader in the College of Business Administration and a top student academically,” said Hendrix, who is the college's Gates Capital Management faculty fellow and faculty adviser to the Student Finance Association. "I thought he did a fantastic job in his commencement remarks of describing the collective experiences of the graduates and recognizing those who assisted in students' success."
During his speech Ackerman thanked several of his professors for their impact on his life, as well as for challenging him in his course work.
"It is an understatement to say that the faculty in the college played a crucial role in helping us to get here today. Their dedication in pushing us, not only to become better students but in helping us grow as individuals, is unmatched," Ackerman said.
Prior to attending college, Ackerman served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2000 to 2007 and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a graduate of Dodge City High School.
The ceremony's commencement speaker was Stan Weber, a 1986 Kansas State University accounting alumnus. The vice president and chief financial officer of Tower Properties in Kansas City, Weber also is the color analyst for Wildcat football and commentator for men's basketball.
Page 2 of 2 - Ackerman had advice for the more than 355 College of Business Administration students earning their bachelor's degrees. He recalled the end of his military basic training, saying that just as it was then, graduation is not the end, but the beginning of their future.
Ackerman is now working as a financial analyst for ConocoPhillips in Oklahoma. He is the son of David and Brenda Ackerman.