Hundreds of friends and family members joined the Bainbridge Graduate Institute at Seattle’s Town Hall on Sunday to welcome the next cohort of sustainable business leaders from BGI MBA and Certificate programs. Among the 75 graduates was Eric Schalla, an unsuspecting graduate fatefully chosen by his spot in the alphabet to become the 500th graduate of BGI.
BGI Co-founder Jill Bamburg paused the presentation of diplomas to make a few remarks on the significance of this moment in BGI’s history:
“In the annals of business, there are many numbers, but none quite so famous as the number ‘500’. We have the Fortune 500, the Inc 500, the S&P 500, and now, with the graduation of this young man and his classmates today, we are pleased to introduce the BGI 500.”
Although 500 graduates might seem small for many schools, this moment represents a pivotal moment at a time when traditional MBA programs around the country are transforming their curiculum to meet the needs of today’s business world.
Bamburg continued her comments by honoring fellow founders, Gifford and Libba Pinchot:
“10 years ago, [Gifford and Libba] had the audacity to imagine an independent start-up business school with a focus on sustainability. With this graduating class, we now have a critical mass of alums who can open doors for one another in businesses large and small, government at all levels, and non-profit organizations around the world.”
And it’s true. BGI’s 500 graduates are Leading the New Economy by transforming the traditional business approach to countless industries: sustainable food, finance, water, construction, design, and green energy–just to name a few.
Congratulations to the graduating class of 2012 and the friends and family that supported them along the way. To all our friends in sustainable business around the world: you have helped make a dream into a reality–500 graduates strong and growing.
To our graduates, remember the words from Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that Jill Bamburg used to challenge your next steps: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” Fortunately, we’re confident your dreams will scare you, and that they will fundamentally change the world for good.