Published: May 15, 2024 By

Students in regalia place their hands over their hearts during the national anthem.

Emerging from a sea of bedazzled caps and indigo stoles, nearly 1,500 business graduates crossed the stage at Leeds’ graduation recognition ceremonies last Saturday, May 10, 2024—a day where they celebrated their achievements and began the next chapters of their lives. But it wasn’t goodbye.

“Commencement does not mean, as many wrongly think, the breaking of ties and the beginning of life apart. Rather, it marks your initiation in the fullest sense into the fellowship of the university,” read Birdie Reznicek, Leeds’ associate dean for culture and community. The Norlin Charge is read at every CU commencement ceremony to remind students of their everlasting connection to CU.

Along a similar vein, Vijay Khatri, Leeds’ Tandean Rustandy Endowed Dean, stressed the value of community in his remarks: “In its essence, Leeds and CU Boulder embody a collective community encompassing all of us, who together, support each other in our endeavor to enrich the world we call home.”

The graduates were reminded that they were joining a community of more than 44,000 Leeds alumni around the world—many of whom are considered globally conscious leaders. 

Karen Gerwitz delivers her keynoteKeynote speaker Karen Gerwitz (Bus’90, MPubAd’06), president and CEO of the World Trade Center Denver, deputized graduates as “global citizens” and asked how they would make their mark on the international stage.

She shared that she was first inspired to pursue international business when she befriended international business students through a student exchange program at Leeds.

“Leeds gave me the tools and inspiration to become truly a global citizen—someone who deeply appreciates the interconnectedness of our global community, advocates for global issues and embraces cultural diversity.” Today, her mission is to put Denver on the map by transforming it into a global commerce hub.

A student wearing a collection of leis and her regalia smiles while in conversation with another graduate.

After receiving their diplomas, students filtered out of the CU Events Center onto the business school lawn, where large white tents awaited them packed with festivities and refreshments. Throughout the crowd, brightly colored lei adorned graduates’ necks, given to them by family and friends.

Originating on the Hawaiian islands, the long-standing tradition of giving flower garlands to graduates has symbolized pride, accomplishment and congratulations. The custom has spread past the islands and become ubiquitous throughout the world.

Now, graduates face the question of how they will make their impact on the world. Gerwitz assured them they were ready. “Leeds gave you all the tools you need to succeed.”

See which faculty won distinguished awards.

See which students and faculty were recognized for excellence. 

Meet some of the graduates from the Class of 2024.