We are finally feeling the warmth of spring on the AU campus after what felt like a very long winter. This is an especially busy and exciting time of year, as we prepare to say goodbye to our graduates while simultaneously welcoming admitted and prospective students who are visiting campus.
I must take a moment to brag about our undergraduate education. It has been clear to me for some time that AU is an exceptional place for undergraduate students. At Kogod specifically, our program has seen increasing recognition over the last few years. BusinessWeek recently ranked Kogod the No. 56 “Best Undergraduate B-School” in the country, the third straight year we saw an increase. And today, it was announced that Kogod is No. 1 in sustainability.
Of course, rankings don’t always tell the full story. To me, one of Kogod’s biggest strengths is reflected when we partner with our colleagues across the quad.
Take our Business, Language & Culture Studies (BLC) degree, which incorporates a foreign language requirement through the College of Arts & Sciences and a required study abroad experience. One of our BLC students, was in the audience at our spring CEO Speaker Series event, which featured CEO Rudolf Araneda of the Chilean energy company GasAtacama. I was proud to listen to the informed and impressive questions she asked Rudolf, and to hear her engage with other Chilean officials who were present at the reception that followed, in their native language. It is easy to spot the value of the BLC degree in exchanges like that one.
I am also proud to announce Kogod’s new BS in Business and Entertainment (BAE) degree program. This is another program made possible by a cross-campus partnership. It is a sweeping update to our BS in Business and Music program, and it provides more opportunities for students who want to enter other sectors of the entertainment industry, such as talent management, film, or audio technology. BAE students will take courses in the College of Arts & Sciences and in the School of Communication, in addition to Kogod.
I am thrilled that John Simson, who has taught with us for several years now, has agreed to serve as Program Director. John has a wealth of experience as an entertainment lawyer. He has managed talent. He was on the front lines of the copyright battles, protecting artists’ interests in the digital age. And he founded and directed SoundExchange, the nonprofit that collects royalties from streaming recordings. I know that our BAE students will benefit greatly from his experience; John’s deep network of industry contacts allows for exceptional classroom speakers.
We’ll have another such speaker to look forward to on May 12, as we welcome Gary Veloric as our Commencement speaker. A mergers and acquisitions expert, Gary brought music to campus as a student in the ‘80s and is now reliving his love of spreading music at his record label, Red Stripe Plane Group.
As I travel across the country meeting with admitted students in cities like Raleigh and Atlanta, I am pleased to share news of degrees like these, along with our other valuable programs. I am also glad to share our strategic vision, that profit and purpose are not at odds, with these folks. It is satisfying to see and hear their very positive reactions when I tell them what sets us apart, conveying the unique community that is Kogod.