Home NBA executive challenges VCU graduates to ‘find your passion’

NBA executive challenges VCU graduates to ‘find your passion’

vcuDuring May commencement ceremonies today, Pamela El, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the NBA, challenged Virginia Commonwealth University’s newest graduates to find their passion.

“Celebrate today and never, ever forget this feeling that you have right now,” El said. “Then, after you celebrate today, find something great that only you can do … and do it. Find your passion and showcase it to the world.”

With more than 30 years of experience, El is recognized as an industry leader for her expertise in brand management, marketing strategy, creative development and media and sponsorships. El is an alumna of VCU, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 1983.

Students received professional, graduate and undergraduate degrees at the ceremony at the Richmond Coliseum. In all, VCU awarded more than 5,000 degrees.

VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., told graduates to use their talents and their resolve to change the human experience.

“You will pioneer breakthroughs in your fields. You will advance the human experience in remarkable ways. You will achieve what has been thought to be out of reach — until you came along. Humanity may not have figured it out yet … butyou will,” Rao said.

El was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, VCU’s highest form of recognition, which acknowledges outstanding contributions to society through scholarship, humanitarianism, science, art and public service.

The Edward A. Wayne Medal, established in 1971 to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions or provided exemplary services to VCU, was awarded to True Farr Luck and Charles S. “Charlie” Luck in recognition of their extraordinary philanthropy and volunteer service at VCU. The couple and their family own Luck Companies, which began as a family business in 1923. They, along with their children, have made a leadership commitment to the VCU Massey Cancer Center to fully endow a chair in cancer research. The Lucks also recently made a significant leadership commitment to the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art and have provided longtime support for the VCU Rice Rivers Center.

The VCU Board of Visitors Award, which recognizes an undergraduate student for outstanding academic achievement, leadership and service, went to Marvin Hy-Minh Chau, a biology major on the pre-medicine track who currently possesses a 3.9 grade point average. Chau, a first-generation American and the first in his family to attend college, has been named to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the dean’s list and has received the VCU Academic Excellence Award. He serves in a number of leadership roles for various campus organizations and volunteers for a number of community programs.



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