Saturday is graduation. About 600 young squires will turn into knights. This group is a little special because it includes the first group of freshmen who started at UCF when I did. It also includes 10 College of Business Ambassadors, the largest group I think we have had graduate at the same time.
Collectively, our Ambassadors are a group of over-achieving, over-joining, hyper-competitive students who plan to rule the world and at times can be kind of a pain in the butt. Like all people with passion, they have both edges to their sword. You don’t get one edge without the other…. Frankly, it’s what I like most about them.
But, it is equally true that each of them brought something a little different to the table. So, to send them off right, I asked my team to weigh in on the qualities that best exemplify each of our graduating Ambassadors. My job was to synthesize….
Breanna, Brittany and Natacha have been with us the longest. Brittany and Natacha are marketers who are more than willing to drag students out of their comfort zone if necessary to get them engaged. Brittany is a data-driven, creative, problem solver. She reminds me a lot of Lonny, right down to her love of heavy metal. Natacha is contagious. She invites you in, smiles and gets you to drink her kool-aide. Never underestimate her. Tina says she’s a “smart cookie.” Breanna is, in many ways, the opposite of Brittany and Natacha: a strong silent type who is moved to act on social causes. She wears her heart on her sleeve and never turns down a request for help. Together these three show the strength in the diversity that is the Ambassador program.
Jeragh was with us the shortest period of time. He joined us late but made an impression with his communication and team-building skills. He’s a natural collaborator. Everyone’s going to want him on their team.
Noor, on the other hand, would rather write the rules than follow them. She sneaks up on you and before you know it, she’s leading the group! She did just that this past semester. One of my team described her as “the whole package”–patient, level-headed, strategic, collaborative….. this is seriously going to go to her head. She also drives a mean go-cart.
Nhu is my best risk-taker. Risk-taking is at the heart of her family’s story. She is determined, strong willed and all in. I’m betting she will have our best failure story someday. I promise you failure won’t slow her down a bit.
Youssef is curious. He always has his finger on the pulse of what is going on. It makes him a great problem-solver. He would be an excellent academic. His willingness to listen makes him a natural leader.
Patrick is always willing to provide a dose of calm to any impending storm. He’s level-headed, quick to analyze and willing to stand back and let others take the credit for the team’s success. I’m guessing he is going to make a great CFO. Although I’ve heard a nasty rumor that he could become a model.
Somebody described Katilyn as a future Merrell Bailey. I’m guessing that was a reference to her aspiration to become a lawyer. Katilyn’s way more quiet than our red-headed alum, but like our Merrell, she’s smart, friendly and empathetic. Boston University is lucky to have her.
Last, but not least, is Natalia. Natalia is a rock star. In some ways, she reminds me of Leif: A non-traditional student who earned the respect and admiration of “the kids” by demonstrating the power that can come from exhibiting gratitude for her UCF experience. That also describes Tiffany Hughes, and like Tiffany, Natalia is a “Whoo Hoo Girl.” Trust me, that designation carries a lot of weight around here.
We will miss them all and revel in their future successes. Charge On, Knights. Charge On.