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STHM Bids Farewell to the Graduating Class of 2018

By: Courtney Kubitza
First Published: May 15, 2018
Topics: Sport, STHM School, Tourism & Hospitality

Like most universities, graduation at Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) is an exciting time. But this year is very different. 2018 marks the 20th Anniversary of the school’s founding and for the first time, STHM hosted a stand-alone ceremony to honor this year’s graduates.

In the past, STHM graduates would walk with those of the Fox School of Business at Temple University – a closely affiliated partner. But with each year comes more and more students of STHM and this year seemed like the perfect time for the school to host their own celebration.
This year’s graduation was held at the Temple Performing Arts Center on Friday, May 11, 2018 at 9:30 am.

The ceremony began with an emotional honoring of retiring faculty member, Dr. Michael Jackson, who had been with Temple University for 36 years. Dean M. Moshe Porat then resumed his remarks to graduates and their families with a Russell H. Conwell quote from his famous Acres of Diamonds speech: “We must first know what the world needs and then invest in ourselves to supply that need, and success is almost certain.” Dean Porat commended the 2018 graduates for their commitment to excellence while balancing the challenges life brings including full-time jobs, families, internships and extracurricular activities. Dean Porat concluded his speech by inviting all to help mentor future STHM students and to visit campus regularly and then introduced STHM’s 2018 keynote speaker, Steven H. Korman, Founder and CEO of AKA Properties.

Korman began his speech in a similar “unusual” fashion as he did 19 years ago during a Fox and STHM graduation speech. He asked all the graduates to raise their hand in the air and give themselves a big pat on the back for a job well done. “The lesson I want you to remember today is we all remember the things we don’t do well and we probably forget to pat ourselves on the back 100 times in a lifetime.” Korman went on to describe how quickly the industry changes in a “disruptive” manner. Citing examples like AirBnB and Uber and their effect on hospitality, he explained that the key to success in the industry was hard work, luck and being disruptive. “I hope that within this group, there are some disruptive people.” He also reminded graduates the importance of being human and understanding by sharing a life-changing story from his early work in debt collections. Upon visiting a debtor in order to collect, Korman discovered a person on the verge of destitution attempting to support two infant children. “I left that day with the biggest smile I ever had. I gave that man the $300 he needed and that’s how I learned who I was. Success comes from being happy and helping others is what made me happy.” Korman concluded his light-hearted speech by reminding all to be proud of what they have accomplished and to remember to give back to those who need it.

The student speaker and Canada native, Raúl García, later took the stage to reflect on his time at STHM and what it took to get there – including convincing his parents, both doctors, this was the right decision for him. “They proceeded to grill me with questions, mostly about if I would be able to sustain myself following this career path, for what seemed like three hours. After surviving their interrogation, they came to realize my passion and interest. Their encouragement and faith has given me the confidence and determination to push forward and excel.” Garcia also explained the importance of the connections with his diverse classmates. “I am proud to know that many of us come from different areas of the United States, as well as different areas from around the world. This diversity only added to our experiences inside the classroom. STHM has allowed me to create some of the most meaningful friendships and connections in my life.”

Andy Carl, President of the STHM Alumni Association, was bestowed the honor of leading the graduates in moving their tassels from right to left — formally marking their induction into the STHM Alumni Association.

Following the ceremony, graduates and their families and friends joined STHM faculty and staff for a celebratory reception in Alter Hall. The reception included a photo booth, gift bags for graduates, a surprise visit from Hooter, and food and refreshments.

This has truly been a banner year for STHM with only bigger and brighter things ahead for today’s and future graduates as well as the school itself. Congratulations and best of luck to all your future endeavors, class of 2018!

The May 2018 Graduation Ceremony was live streamed and archived onto the STHM Facebook page.