Valedictory Speakers

Baughman, Derek

Aloha & good evening President Wright, members of the Board of Trustees, distinguished faculty, honored guests, fellow graduates, families and friends and to all those watching online. Thank you for being here tonight to share this significant event and achievement with us.

It is an honor and privilege to stand before you tonight as a member of the very first graduating class of the Executive MBA program now offered here at HPU.

This program helped us to develop the business and leadership skills we will need as the future leaders of our own companies or through increasing the value we bring to our existing employers. Either way, we are now better prepared no matter what path we choose or what challenge lies ahead.

But what does this effort, and the diploma we will receive tonight, represent? Is it merely something that we will hang on a wall as a memory of a past achievement or does it represent an opportunity, an opportunity to put to use the tools and training that we have now been given? Tools that should enable us to make a positive impact and overcome whatever challenges lie ahead. It is obvious from headlines of the day, our world is currently faced with many difficult challenges.

It is hard to imagine just a short two years ago when I started the Executive MBA program that there was no such thing as a government bailouts with funny acronyms such as TARP & TALF; one of the strongest companies in the S&P 500 was an insurance company called AIG; and there was a 150 year old high-performing; investment company named Lehman Brothers that is now more famous for being the largest bankruptcy in American history.

How can we respond to challenges like these? Can we produce a more positive result?

I think the answers to these questions starts in part with the leadership skills and training we have acquired through our education here at HPU. It is this type of leadership that each of us as college graduates should be able to bring to whatever opportunity or challenge we may face.

It is now our chance to operate with a different set of standards than those we have seen dominate the headlines recently. It is now our opportunity to bring integrity and solid leadership into whatever lies before us.

Famous American author and educator, Booker T. Washington, once said,


“The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts.”

It will be exciting to see the positive impact that this graduating class can make if we choose this leadership role.

Before I end tonight, I would like to acknowledge those who most significantly contributed to me being here tonight. I would first like to thank my family – my wife, my children, my mother & father-in-law, as well as my parents (who are watching online tonight from Washington State); thank you for all you have done to help me achieve this life-long goal.

I would also like to thank Al Landon, CEO at Bank of Hawaii who provided the opportunity for me to return to school – Thank you for believing in me.

I would also like to thank key members of my staff at Bank of Hawaii who covered for me and supported me through this process. Your support is incredibly valuable to me.

Graduates, it is our turn to make a difference. Thank you very much.