Read the complete the tribute given to the Class of 2021 on June 7, 2021 by Margaret Long Hayes, assistant dean of the Stanford MBA and MSx Programs.
Even though we are celebrating today, we want to acknowledge the impact of COVID-19 on the past year. We all suffered loss, heartache, and feelings of uncertainty about the future. There are many of you who have lost family and friends to this pandemic, and to other causes, and we all share that pain. Beyond the loss of life, you likely also feel you have lost opportunities and experiences that you expected to share with your MBA classmates — from everyday interactions like in-person meals and club meetings to having more classes in person. Further, you have lost the opportunity to build relationships with your classmates who have elected to go on leave in order to prioritize the issues that COVID-19 brought into their lives.
Through the past 15 months, we have also learned about the power of perseverance in every aspect of our lives. We know you expected a different experience in the MBA Program. We did too. But you rose above it all and focused on what was important to you. You’ve come together as a class to transform in-person events into successful virtual and hybrid opportunities: you’ve kept alive traditions like TALK; the Climate, Business & Innovation Summit; the Health Care and BBSA Conference; the Military Service event; the Sports Innovation Speaker Series; and the GSB Show. And here you are today, celebrating the completion of your degree. Congratulations to the Class of 2021 — you did it — all of it!